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  • A Shared Truth: The Theater of Lagartijas Tiradas al Sol by Julie Ann Ward
  • Analola Santana
Ward, Julie Ann. A Shared Truth: The Theater of Lagartijas Tiradas al Sol. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2019. 162 pp.

In her book, Julie Ann Ward traces how twenty-first century Latin American theatre artists explore new ways in which to stage national histories through the use of archival documentation and personal histories. To do so, she uses the work of one particular company: Mexico's Lagartijas Tiradas al Sol (LTS). This collective has become one of the most recognized groups working with what artists and academics have named the Theatre of the Real, meaning a theatre that explores real issues stemming from real events through personal narratives that transform our understanding of public and private stories and question the liminal space between fact and fiction. A Shared Truth: The Theater of Lagartijas Tiradas al Sol focuses on the important work of this Mexican collective precisely because the work of these artists "has emerged as an alternative source for reality in the face of unreliability and a lack of transparency from other sources traditionally associated with objective facts" (28).

In her critical introduction, Ward considers the role of documentary theatre in Mexican stage production and explains the evolution of this genre into theatre of the real. She also analyzes the particular aesthetics of LTS in regards to their use of the family story as a form of documenting the national. The rest of the book consists of four chapters that organize the work of this company in chronological order so as to delineate their evolution into theatre of the real. Though the book is very specific and detailed in its analysis, its aim is to broaden the understanding of the genre and the type of archival material analysis found in the plays. Chapter one focuses primarily on the play Asalto al agua as an example of a collective creation piece of documentary theatre that already begins to blend individual stories into national histories. Chapter two considers the addition of familial biographies as the lens through which to understand history. It analyzes the trilogy La invención de nuestros padres, which consists of the plays El rumor del incendio, Montserrat, and Se rompen las olas. In the third chapter, Ward focuses on two of the group's creations—the play Derretiré con un cerillo la nieve de un volcán and the cycle La democracia en México—to explain a shift in the company's aesthetics towards theatre as a tool for the investigation of Mexico's complicated political processes. This aesthetic turn nonetheless maintains a focus on family and individual histories. The final chapter looks at the more recent work of [End Page 153] the company and the ways in which its members have explored individual paths and innovative forms for producing performances.

Ward advances the concept of theatre of the real to explain how companies such as LTS weave the national with the personal and the familial to recompose the archive and question the concept of authenticity in history. An important contribution to the study of Latin American theatre, Ward introduces to a new audience the work of Lagartijas Tiradas al Sol, one of the most important contemporary theatre companies producing work at the present. [End Page 154]

Analola Santana
Dartmouth College


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pp. 153-154
Launched on MUSE
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