Contemporary Theatre in Mayan Mexico: Death-Defying Acts

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"This is an exciting, highly original contribution to both Mayan studies and Mexican theatre studies. Each of the bodies of work examined is fascinating, extremely timely, and almost unstudied by scholars."

—Cynthia Steele, Professor of Comparative Literature, University of Washington

From the dramatization of local legends to the staging of plays by Shakespeare and other canonical playwrights to the exploration of contemporary sociopolitical problems and their effects on women and children, Mayan theatre is a ...

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Overview

"This is an exciting, highly original contribution to both Mayan studies and Mexican theatre studies. Each of the bodies of work examined is fascinating, extremely timely, and almost unstudied by scholars."

—Cynthia Steele, Professor of Comparative Literature, University of Washington

From the dramatization of local legends to the staging of plays by Shakespeare and other canonical playwrights to the exploration of contemporary sociopolitical problems and their effects on women and children, Mayan theatre is a flourishing cultural institution in southern Mexico. Part of a larger movement to define Mayan self-identity and reclaim a Mayan cultural heritage, theatre in Mayan languages has both reflected on and contributed to a growing awareness of Mayans as contemporary cultural and political players in Mexico and on the world's stage.

In this book, Tamara Underiner draws on fieldwork with theatre groups in Chiapas, Tabasco, and Yucatán to observe the Maya peoples in the process of defining themselves through theatrical performance. She looks at the activities of four theatre groups or networks, focusing on their operating strategies and on close analyses of selected dramatic texts. She shows that while each group works under the rubric of Mayan or indigenous theatre, their works are also in constant dialogue, confrontation, and collaboration with the wider, non-Mayan world. Her observations thus reveal not only how theatre is an agent of cultural self-definition and community-building but also how theatre negotiates complex relations among indigenous communities in Mayan Mexico, stategovernments, and non-Mayan artists and researchers.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780292702349
  • Publisher: University of Texas Press
  • Publication date: 6/28/2004
  • Pages: 203
  • Product dimensions: 6.12 (w) x 9.34 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

TAMARA L. UNDERINER is Assistant Professor of Theatre History and Culture Studies at Arizona State University.
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Table of Contents

Prologue : incidents of theatre in Chiapas, Tabasco, and Yucatan
1 Indigenous bodies, contested texts 19
2 Mas que una noticia..." : Mayan theatre in Chiapas 45
3 Transculturation in the work of Laboratorio de Teatro Campesino e Indigena 78
4 Theatre and community on the Yucatan Peninsula 101
Epilogue : routes and returns 121
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