Ondina is important as the script for the final acting performance of María Teresa Hincapié (1954–2008); it can be seen as the culmination of her theater career in Colombia. The work was first performed at the VI Festival de Teatro of Manizales in 1983, where it was widely considered the best piece in the festival. For that reason, it was chosen to open the 1985 edition of that event.
This script evidences the influence of Acto Latino, an experimental theater group, on Hincapié’s work. Indeed, she collaborated with that group for an eight-year period. Through its director, Juan Monsalve, Hincapié came into contact with conceptions of the body and expressive formulations crucial to the work of Jerzy Grotowski (1933–1999), one of the theorists of poor theater, and with the work of Italian theater director and thinker Eugenio Barba (born 1936).
With Acto Latino, Hincapié toured a number of countries in Central America, Europe, and Asia. While in India and Japan, she came into contact with traditional and experimental forms of theater, including Noh Theater. These forms, along with her later contact with creators such as Doris Salcedo (born 1958), video artists José Alejandro Restrepo (born 1959) and Gilles Charalambos (born 1958), and performers Rolf Abderhalden (born 1956) and Álvaro Restrepo (born 1957), constituted the basis for the theory and practice that would lead to her unique work in performance. Her outstanding performances include Vitrina [Display Cabinet] (1989) and Una cosa es una cosa [A Thing Is a Thing], which was awarded first prize at the XXXIII Salón Nacional de Artistas (1990). With Hincapié’s particular stage presence and spiritual weight, those works address “the feminine” and “daily life.”