The Power of a Mother's Love - Appearance of Life

Appearance of Life, directed by Jessica Lefkow,  tells the story of an Argentine woman named Margarita whose daughter, Rosa, becomes one of the many desaparecidos of the Dirty War. The story comes from years of research and a desire to form an archetypal story of these women’s losses, experiences, and ultimate triumphs. The words in this play come from my own imagination and my own interpretation of the research I encountered, the interviews I conducted, and the stories I read.

The piece begins in Buenos Aires, Argentina on March 24, 1976.  A military coup has overthrown the existing democratic government, pushing into place a supremacy of terror whose desire it is to crush any perceived “subversives”. One afternoon Margarita, an ordinary housewife in a country ruled by the culture of machismo, waits at home for her 20-year-old daughter, Rosa, to return. But Rosa never comes home. Margarita pursues every avenue she can think of, the police, the church, the politicians, all in the hopes of finding her daughter. The piece then follows Margarita as she finds a group of women who call themselves Las Madres, the Mothers. With no other hopes of locating her daughter, she joins them. Wearing a white kerchief on her head and carrying a photo of her missing daughter in her hands, she marches with Las Madres every Thursday in the Plaza de Mayo, asking again and again “¿Ha visto a mi hija? Have you seen my daughter?”. 

What is so remarkable about the story of Las Madres is that it was ultimately their actions that brought about the end of the “Dirty War”. But their story does not stop here. Empowered by the ending of the military coup and spurred on by the dreams of their children Las Madres expand themselves towards international recognition, helping women as far reaching as Afghanistan and the former Yugoslavia. Margarita’s story tells just this. It is a story of sadness and loss but it is also a story of survival, new life and triumph. As Margarita herself says, “We are the Mothers. And the Mothers will always keep marching.”


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