- El teatro en la Hispanoamérica colonial
The 23 chapters in this volume reflect the papers presented at a conference held in Lima, Peru in 2006. The articles cover a range of subjects that can be encountered in the study of early modern theater. Some of the topics discussed include an examination of particular colonial plays, the reception of Spanish Golden Age drama in the Americas, the role of theater in religious education, indigenous translations and interpretations of Spanish theater, and how the conquest, of Peru in particular, was reexamined by colonial era dramas.
Pedro Guibovich Pérez's essay on Jesuit theater in Peru is one among several in the collection that discusses the use of theater by the various religious orders. Guibovich Pérez's contribution starts the process of filling the gap surrounding the history of Jesuit education in the Spanish viceroyalties. While Jesuits were clearly not the only religious order to use theater to educate Native Americans, Guibovich Pérez discusses how the Jesuits used the courtyards in their friaries to display performances and how they incorporated singing and dancing into events. While these efforts served to instruct Native Americans, they served an even greater purpose in the minds of the Jesuits: to glorify God and man. [End Page 109]
The pieces by Claudia Parodi and Beatriz Aracil Varón add to a growing historiography on indigenous theater in the viceroyalties of Peru and New Spain. Parodi's piece examines Bartolomé de Alva Ixtlixóchitl's translation of Spanish Golden Age drama, in particular that of Pedro Calderón de la Barca. She finds that Alva Ixtlixóchitl did more than simply translate the pieces; he also adapted them to fit into the evangelization theater to which the Nahuas of central Mexico were accustomed. Aracil provides important insight into an area that has been largely neglected: Andean evangelization theater. While her aim is to understand how the play "Usca Paucar" developed from the tradition of the Medieval exemplum, the article is also important for further understanding indigenous life and evangelization in the Andes. The role of women in theater is also examined. The piece by Pilar Latasa, "La promesa de una 'farsanta,'" is a good example. Using a seventeenth century judicial case between María Torres and Diego Muñoz del Castillo regarding marital transgressions, Latasa examines the reputation of actresses in colonial society. She found that what the actresses did on stage was used against them in legal cases.
This book covers a wide range of topics. Although scholars of Spanish Golden Age drama and colonial Latin American theater are the obvious audience for this volume, other readers will find that specific chapters may appeal to their interests. While some of the chapters in the compilation are very approachable, many use technical language appropriate to the field of literature that makes it difficult for non-specialists to follow. However, scholars interested in theater and colonial life alike will find themselves returning to this book from time to time for the gems it offers up.
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