We Need the Whole Latina Package: Negotiating the Meanings of Latina in Teatro Luna’s Plays (2001-2008)
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Latina/o community-based theater emerged as a significant influence in U.S. theater beginning with the work of Teatro Campesino, Pregones Theater and Teatro Chicana, for example. Latina playwrights in the 1980s emerge out of the influence and mentorship of groups like Teatro Esperanza, Teatro Chicana, and Spiderwoman Theater, as well as from the guidance of artists such as María Irene Fornés. In the 2000s, an all-Latina ensemble in Chicago, IL emerged whose work articulates a discourse that explores, (re)defines, and alters the meanings of “Latina.” In this dissertation, through an interdisciplinary approach, I explore the meanings of “Latina” through focus on Teatro Luna, a fluid all-Latina ensemble that has developed a community-based aesthetic and practice. The first generation of lunáticas, those artists, who conceptualized, wrote, performed, and directed the plays from 2001-2008, hail from distinct Latina backgrounds and training. Through textual analysis informed by the work of Third Wave Feminism, Latina/o Studies, and Theatre Studies, this study analyses how the work of Teatro Luna (2000-2007) negotiates the meanings of “Latina” through their texts that bring to life daily routines that shape and perpetuate larger structures of power and inequality. As such, this provides a complex understanding of how individual and collective identities are negotiated and presented through community-based theater.
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