By Tamara L. Underiner
From the dramatization of neighborhood legends to the staging of performs through Shakespeare and different canonical playwrights to the exploration of latest sociopolitical difficulties and their results on girls and kids, Mayan theatre is a flourishing cultural establishment in southern Mexico. a part of a bigger flow to outline Mayan self-identity and reclaim a Mayan cultural historical past, theatre in Mayan languages has either mirrored on and contributed to a transforming into know-how of Mayans as modern cultural and political avid gamers in Mexico and at the world's degree. during this booklet, Tamara Underiner attracts on fieldwork with theatre teams in Chiapas, Tabasco, and Yucat?n to monitor the Maya peoples within the means of defining themselves via theatrical functionality. She seems on the actions of 4 theatre teams or networks, targeting their working concepts and on shut analyses of chosen dramatic texts. She indicates that whereas each one workforce works below the rubric of Mayan or indigenous theatre, their works also are in consistent discussion, disagreement, and collaboration with the broader, non-Mayan international. Her observations hence display not just how theatre is an agent of cultural self-definition and community-building but additionally how theatre negotiates complicated kinfolk between indigenous groups in Mayan Mexico, nation governments, and non-Mayan artists and researchers.
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Additional resources for Contemporary Theatre in Mayan Mexico: Death-Defying Acts
36 Although virtually all Mayan texts, sacred and profane, that Introduction could be destroyed were destroyed by the (literal) ﬂames of Spanish missionary zeal, the Popul Vuh survives as a kind of literary hybrid of preHispanic content and colonial form. ’’ 37 As Dennis Tedlock, who has translated the text into English, describes its organization, the events it describes are presented in two diﬀerent cycles, with the episodes divided between the cycles more on the basis of where they took place in space than when they took place in time.
Nevertheless, INI was successful in introducing many changes to the daily life of these communities if not in completely reforming them according to its goals. ’’ 45 Among those eﬀorts were ‘‘Cultural Missions,’’ designed to increase the interdependency of local communities with the larger Mexican national economy, through the production of marketable goods (including tourist souvenirs) and through the purchase and use of various tools of modern life. 46 Signiﬁcantly, theatre was deployed to serve this last goal, and throughout the 1940s and 1950s such (future) luminaries as the Mexican author and playwright Rosario Castellanos were employed to write plays and puppet sketches to educate the countryside in health, agriculture, literacy, and other modernization issues.
34 Grossberg’s reconﬁguration oﬀers two important gains. One is that a shift from the temporal to the spatial provides a way out of the time warp imposed on indigenous communities by both their supporters, who wish to privilege a premodern diﬀerence from the increasingly modernized world, and their detractors, who assert a Western telos of progress, and equate diﬀerence with all that is backward. That this time warp still operates is evident in a variety of images that are initially—and sometimes deliberately—discordant.
Contemporary Theatre in Mayan Mexico: Death-Defying Acts by Tamara L. Underiner