Not long after founding editor of LATR, George Woodyard, passed away, current editor Stuart Day invited me to put together a special issue of the journal for this fall. As the deadline for delivery draws nearer, I find myself marveling over the fact that George spent forty years reading and editing essays for LATR. Moreover, he performed this task while teaching, taking groups of students abroad, mentoring his doctoral students, writing prolifically, traveling to conferences and festivals, hosting five LATT conferences, serving in various administrative capacities, and being a husband, father, and finally grandfather. How did he do all that?!
George was incredibly modest. So modest, in fact, that most of us were clueless as to the extent of his scholarly productivity. George would have never allowed this, but now that he isn’t here to protest, I decided to include in this issue a complete listing of his publications and editorial achievements. My hope is that current and future scholars of Latin American theatre will find the list useful as they set off on paths blazed long ago by George. The listing of editorial work calls attention to how much of George’s career was devoted to selfless service to others and to the profession: editions of critical works and anthologies, prologues, the completion of a book manuscript left by a deceased colleague, to name just a few.
While George produced a number of seminal articles on canonical plays and playwrights, he was also drawn to whatever was new at the time. He loved to go to the theatre and was famous for seeing as many plays in Buenos Aires as the night permitted, returning to the hotel only after the last curtain had fallen. I believe he would have highly approved of the present selection of essays, all of which are devoted to plays and paradigms of the current millennium. Not surprisingly, those who responded to the call for essays include former students, prominent critics and acquaintances from Mexico and Argentina, and others who acknowledge the profound influence that George had on their career.
This issue revolves around the question “What’s new in Latin American theatre and performance?” Accordingly, the essays deal with such things as emerging [End Page 5] playwrights and theatre groups, nagging questions related to performance and performativity, the development of new theoretical and aesthetic paradigms, and the impact of technology and other forms of visual media on performance and the archive. Catherine Larson offers a bold response to the question of “what’s new?” by taking on the copious theoretical writing that has guided our critical thinking on theatre, performance, and performance-related questions during the past two decades. In an overview of theorists ranging from Judith Butler to Diana Taylor, Larson lays out many of the principal concepts and debates related to performance—performativity, performance studies, performance art, etc.—to illustrate how the lens through which we view theatre has evolved and how we scholars of Latin American theatre fit into the larger picture of examining the embodiment of meaning. In addition to a succinct history of contemporary theory, Larson provides a lengthy bibliography that will guide us as we continue to grapple with performance-related issues.
Like a set of Russian dolls, Jorge Dubatti’s essay provides a detailed, multilayered analysis of Argentine theatre. Starting from within the broad context of the Postdictatorship, Dubatti leads us into the current phase of post-neoliberalism—a period of national rediscovery and redefinition, internationalization, globalization, heterogeneity, hybridity, and debate. He uses el teatro comunitario as an example of the shift from resistance to social construction, while Ricardo Bartís’s work abroad and Daniel Veronese’s work both abroad and in commercial theatre serve to demonstrate the effects of globalization and the creation of an international audience for Argentine theatre. Dubatti’s journey from macropoética to micropoética ends with the analysis of three recent works—Romina Paula’s El tiempo todo entero, Manuel Santos Iñurrieta’s Crónicas de un comediante, and Julio Molina’s Curupayty. El mapa no es un territorio—analyses richly complimented by his personal interviews with dramatists and directors.
Ileana Diéguez looks...