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  • Un viaje sin fin: Teatro mexicano hoy
  • Gastón A. Alzate
Un viaje sin fin. Teatro mexicano hoy. Edited by Heindrun Adler and Jaime Chabaud. Madrid: Iberoamericana/Verveurt, 2004. Pp. 238. Bibliography. $24.00 paper.

This book is comprised of collected articles by influential Mexican theater critics, including George Woodyard, Fernando de Ita, José Ramón Alcántara Mejía, Jacqueline Bixler, Rodolfo Obregón and Kirsten Negro, among others. The volume also includes personal essays by two theater directors and playwrights (Jaime Chabaud and David Olguín). Un viaje sin fin provides a general overview of the complex past four decades, focusing on the most important theatrical events of contemporary Mexican theater.

Heidrun Adler, editor and translator, has been one of the most important promoters of Latin American literature and theater in Germany for the past fifteen years. Thisis volume number 14 of the series Teatro en latinoamerica edited by the Sociedad de Teatro y Medios de Latinoamerica, which has published several books on drama in Spanish. Un viaje sin fin includes several articles from the anthology Theaterstücke aus Mexiko published ten years ago, and which were not originally included in the Teatro en latinoamerica series. The first two essays provide an overview of Mexican Theater from the 1960s to the present: an introductory synopsis by Fernando de Ita, who comments on the background of different schools and periods from a more canonical point of view, and a second essay by Rodolfo Obregón, who offers a less canonical comment on the more original directors and their experimental mise en scene. The extensively annotated book covers three main topics: women (authors, characters and myths); Mexico City; and theater outside the metropolis (regional theater, frontera theater, and theater from the northern and western parts of the country). There is one article that escapes these three categories and deals with visions of the pre-Columbian and colonial world in contemporary Mexican theater. [End Page 672]

In spite of the obvious importance of the theater critics, playwrights and topics covered which make a valuable contribution to scholarship in the field, a more cohesive Introduction to the collection is lacking. For example, there is no mention by the editor of the reason why two playwrights (Chabaud and Olguín) are included among sixteen critics. The reader may guess that the editor included the playwright's creative perspective, which is refreshing in a collection of critical essays. While these two testimonies are very stimulating and are individually significant, and although it is mentioned in the Prologue that David Olguín's work provides the title of the volume, it is not clear to the reader why the editor chose these two particular directors and playwrights and not others. In the same vein, it is problematic to have on the cover two pictures of what could be understood as performance art, when there is no mention in the volume of such a genre. Also it is not clear why in the introductory note Jaime Chabaud mentions that Heldrun Adler compiled the essays, while Chabaud is listed on the cover as one of the editors. A brief explanation of what he did to contribute to the volume, as editor would have clarified this uncertainty. In short, Un viaje sin fin is a relevant contribution to the appreciation of contemporary Mexican theater, even if a more comprehensive Introduction would have been desirable.

Gastón A. Alzate
Gustavus Adolphus College
Saint Peter, Minnesota


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