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Teatro Chicana

A Collective Memoir and Selected Plays

Edited by Laura E. Garcia, Sandra M. Gutierrez, and Felicitas Nuñez

Publication Year: 2008

A firsthand history of a Chicana women's political theatre group that operated in the 1970s and 1980s in San Diego.

Published by: University of Texas Press

Series: Chicana Matters

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. ix-xx

Dear Reader:
You hold in your hands a recently unearthed treasure from the Chicana women’s civil rights movement of the 1960s and 70s and 80s. In fact this volume is the single most powerful Chicana women’s collective document from the era commonly known as El Movimiento. It reunites the voices of seventeen


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p. xxi-xxi

Time Line

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pp. xxiii-xxvi

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pp. xxvii-xxx

The teatro (theater) experience transformed the many women who were part of it, and the progressive street teatro movement of the 1960s and 1970s was, in turn, transformed by those women who contributed their talents and their hearts to it...


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p. 1-1

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1. Delia Ravelo

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pp. 3-15

Up until i reached the age of six, “Paradise” was my domain in the small Midwestern town of Kenosha, Wisconsin, just north of the windy city of Chicago. My father worked in a foundry that supplied American Motors, and Mamacita worked at home. Yes, I was the eldest of three children and raised around the...

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2. Peggy Garcia

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pp. 17-26

It seems that it’s been many years since I have thought about my experiences in the Chicano Movement and especially the las Chicanas teatro group. I now reflect on this pivotal time in my life, when I questioned my place in the world and was searching for my independence. Why did I gravitate toward las...

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3. Laura E. Garcia

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pp. 27-41

Son unas putas y lesbianas, lo que necesitan es una buena cogida” (You’re a bunch of whores and lesbians. What you need is a good screw). Th is is what some of our critics would say about the Teatro de las Chicanas. And even my closest friends would ask, “What’s a nice girl like you doing with them?”...

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4. Gloria Bartlett Heredia

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pp. 43-45

I’m from calexico, a border town in the hot and harsh desert of California’s Imperial Valley. I started college in the late 1960s, at a time when there were very few Chicanas at San Diego State College (SDSC). (A few years aft er I enrolled, the name was changed to San Diego State University.) I was one of the...

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5. Teresa Oyos

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pp. 47-52

We were morenas . . . como la tierra1 We were güeras . . . like the color of wheat which nourishes us . . . A few of us were tall and slender, like the loft y eucalyptus trees . . .

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6. Kathy Requejo

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pp. 53-60

como una gallina Sin Cabeza,1 I rushed around frantically. It would be a three-hour drive to San Diego, California, from the Los Angeles area. I had promised to meet my comadres in Old Town San Diego for lunch. This would be the first reunion of the Teatro de las Chicanas. Th e last time I had seen mis

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7. Clara Cuevas

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pp. 61-64

I got a surprise call from Felicitas after twenty-five years, inviting me to a teatro women’s reunion. Her call was most welcome, and it set me thinking about the social and political issues swirling around me as a student in the late 60s and early 70s. Why did I join el Teatro de las Chicanas? At first I wasn’t...

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8. Virginia Rodriguez Balanoff

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pp. 65-72

it was a blast being in the Teatro de las Chicanas! I would not trade my eighteen months with those charismatic women for anything in the world. I grew by leaps and bounds during that time. The teatro women helped me transition from a sequestered Mexicanita living in the sticks of a desert town, Coachella,..

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9. Sandra M. Gutierrez

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pp. 73-79

Querida lizelle,
Next year you will be filling out college applications and visiting university campuses. Th en you will wait anxiously for that thick packet to come in the mail from your favorite university. As you complete high school and prepare for college, I want to share some of my experiences as a young woman with...

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10. Margarita Carrillo

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pp. 81-87

Teatro de las Chicanas. Just recalling the name brings a smile to my lips, and why shouldn’t it? Th e name speaks for itself—a theater group of Chicana women. Above all, the teatro educated me at that time in ways I would never have imagined. I learned things my mother certainly hadn’t taught me in my...

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11. Hilda Rodriguez

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pp. 89-96

I first saw women’s theater perform was one evening at a MEChA meeting in 1973. They called themselves the Teatro de las Chicanas at the time. I was appalled by their presentation, titled Bronca. They looked more like male rebels, dressed all in tight black pants, black fitted shirts, boots, and long hair...

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12. Delia Rodriguez

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pp. 97-105

“What the hell am I doing here, facing a confused audience and possibly an overcritical drama professor to top it off ?” Th is was the thought that raced pounding through my mind as I was about to perform at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) in a play titled No School Tomorrow. I could...

13. Guadalupe Beltran

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pp. 107-115

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14. Maria Juarez

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pp. 117-119

I was born in Cuba so I became known as la Cubanita. My mother, who remains in Cuba, was overwhelmed by the care of her children who were my younger stepbrothers and sisters. She had remarried but was so poor that my grandparents had to adopt both my brother and myself. My grandparents...

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15. Gloria Escalera

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pp. 121-128

Teatro played a major role in my life. Before having to play different roles onstage, I could not separate myself from the roles in my life. Before this selfawareness my life was like that of many Latinas or other young women who feel isolated and stuck in a certain location and way of life. I was born in the...

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16. Evelyn Cruz

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pp. 129-135

Undeniably, the years I spent with Teatro Raíces continue to influence my work today as a playwright. Many of the themes addressed in our theater were driven by an examination of class inequality, racism, and sexism from a primarily Marxist perspective. Th is sobering perspective was counterbalanced...

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17. Felicitas Nuñez

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pp. 137-167

Delia ravelo and I first met in the summer of 1970 at San Diego State University (SDSU). Our field of awareness was spectacular, animated by Chicana students ripening into their potential worth and power. We came upon teatro as a way to discover ourselves and connect with our surroundings. Our street...

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pp. 169-171

This book represents the labor of seventeen women who formed a collective in order to put together their recollections of the work of a beloved theater company, which was fi rst called Teatro de las Chicanas and was later known variously as Teatro Laboral and Teatro Raíces, but was always teatro...


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p. 173-173

Chicana Goes to College

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pp. 175-189


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pp. 191-192

So Ruff, So Tuff

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pp. 193-203

Salt of the Earth

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pp. 205-227

E. T.—The Alien

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pp. 229-240

Anti-Nuke Commercial

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pp. 241-243

Archie Bunker Goes to El Salvador

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pp. 245-258

Addendum: Reunion of Teatro de las Chicanas

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pp. 259-261

Addendum: Bylaws of Teatro Raíces

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pp. 263-266

Key Spanish Terms

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pp. 267-268


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pp. 269-272

E-ISBN-13: 9780292794559
E-ISBN-10: 029279455X
Print-ISBN-13: 9780292717435
Print-ISBN-10: 0292717431

Page Count: 328
Illustrations: 34 b&w illus., 1 map
Publication Year: 2008

Series Title: Chicana Matters