Latinx Theatre: Contemporary Voices

This course is a survey of contemporary Latinx dramatists, mostly in the U.S. Many, but not all, of the dramatists we’ll read identify as Latino/a/x, Chicano/a/x, and/or Hispanic. Students will develop tools and skills for analyzing and discussing dramatic literature, and for critically evaluating differences across texts in light of cultural heritage/s and traditions, language, sense of place, and the socio-historical context of colonialism and capitalism. Latinx plays from across North American demonstrate a variety of literary and performance styles, themes and viewpoints. We will read these texts not merely as literature, but as civic documents that illuminate diverse lives, perspectives and concerns of Americans. We’ll also read and discuss critical and theoretical articles to illuminate how dramatists expose systems of oppression, including racism, sexism and economic inequity. And we’ll ask how are these plays part of the project of liberation and decolonization, and call into question the universalizing idea of the nation-state. We will look closely at how Latinx dramatists use theatrical form (such as magical realism, parody, song, ritual, multi-media, mash-ups) to critique and/or enlighten contemporary North American culture. In this course, plays are understood as both as literature and as blueprints for performance. We’ll place emphasis on theatre as a way of knowing, and performance as research. In other words, we understand a play by how it lives on stage. In that act of performance, a play becomes a conversation between performers, but also between performers and audience. It is in this way that theatre itself is a civic discourse.