Contemporary Theatre in Mayan Mexico: Death-defying Acts

Contemporary Theatre in Mayan Mexico: Death-defying Acts


By (author) Tamara L. Underiner

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  • Publisher: University of Texas Press
  • Format: Paperback | 203 pages
  • Dimensions: 152mm x 226mm x 14mm | 281g
  • Publication date: 1 June 2004
  • Publication City/Country: Austin, TX
  • ISBN 10: 0292702507
  • ISBN 13: 9780292702509
  • Illustrations note: 21 b&w illustrations, 1 map

Product description

From the dramatization of local legends to the staging of plays by Shakespeare and other canonical playwrights to the exploration of contemporary socio political problems and their effects on women and children, Mayan theater is a flourishing cultural institution in southern Mexico. Part of a larger movement to define Mayan self-identity and reclaim a Mayan cultural heritage, theater 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 theater groups in Chiapas, Tabasco, and Yucatan to observe the Maya peoples in the process of defining themselves through theatrical performance. She looks at the activities of four theater 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 theater, their works are also in constant dialog, confrontation, and collaboration with the wider, non-Mayan world. Her observations thus reveal not only how theater is an agent of cultural self-definition and community-building but also how theater negotiates complex relations among indigenous communities in Mayan Mexico, state governments, and non-Mayan artists and researchers.

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Review quote

"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

Table of contents

Prologue: Incidents of Theatre in Chiapas, Tabasco, and Yucatan; Introduction; 1. Indigenous Bodies, Contested Texts; 2. "Mas que una noticia ... ": Mayan Theatre in Chiapas; 3. Transculturation in the Work of Laboratorio de Teatro Campesino e Indigena; 4. Theatre and Community on the Yucatan Peninsula; Epilogue: Routes and Returns