The theatrical play was written by an anonymous author in the 16th century, making it one of the oldest indigenous theatrical/dance works of the Western Hemisphere. It was passed down orally for many centuries until it was finally written down and published into a book in 1942.
"El Güegüense" represents folklore of Nicaragua, therefore, UNESCO proclaimed it a "Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity" in 2005 making Nicaragua the only country in Central America and one of six in Latin America to have 2 proclaimed masterpieces by UNESCO.
Alternating the spoken parts, various dances are performed during the play. Originally only the beasts would perform these dances, according to certain studies, but nowadays the Spanish characters participate as well. In some untraditional presentations performed by professionals, the dances are carried out with creative choreographic innovations.
The play includes 14 characters.
The three mestizos:
Güegüense (and his sons): Don Forcico and Don Ambrosio