Marginality Beyond Return: US Cuban Performances in the 1980s and 1990s—A Book Launch and Conversation

October 13, 2022 | 5:00 - 7PM EST

Join us on Thursday, October 13 at 5pm EST to celebrate Marginality Beyond Return: US Cuban Performances in the 1980s and 1990s (Routledge, 2022), Professor Lillian Manzor’s new book on Cuban theater and performance. Professor Manzor will be in conversation with performance artist Carmelita Tropicana, playwright Jorge Ignacio Cortiñas, and Princeton professor Dr. Lilianne Lugo Herrera.

In-person attendance does not require registration for NYU students, staff, and faculty who are compliant with NYU's COVID-19 vacciantion policy. Others may attend in person by filling out this RSVP form no later than Tuesday, October 11.

In Marginality Beyond Return, Lillian Manzor critically regards the foundational work of Cuban artists and performers in the in the U.S. across two decades Manzor analyzes early plays by Magali Alabau, Jorge Ignacio Cortiñas, María Irene Fornés, Eduardo Machado, Manuel Martín Jr., and Carmelita Tropicana as well as these playwrights’ participation in three foundational Latine theater projects --INTAR’s Hispanic Playwrights-in-Residence Laboratory in New York (1980-1991), Hispanic Playwrights Project at South Coast Repertory Theater in Costa Mesa, CA (1986-2004), and The Latino Theater Initiative at Center Theater Group's Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles (1992-2005). She argues that this rich repertoire of US Cuban theater complicated exilic and Cuban-American paradigms.

Panelists will reflect on US Cuban theater and performance, and the pleasures and vicissitudes of imagining identity, community, exile, loss, desire, laughter, and memory across the splinters of politics and diaspora. The conversation will reflect on the Cuban Theater Digital Archive and the Hemispheric Institute Digital Video Library and the relation of these archives to Manzor’s work in this project and across her career.


Dr. Lillian Manzor

Dr. Lillian Manzor is Associate Professor of Modern Languages and Literatures and Hemispheric Caribbean Studies at the University of Miami and Founding Director of the Cuban Theater Digital Archive. She is co-editor of the book series Sualos, published jointly by Havana’s Editorial Alarcos and Miami’s CTDA Press. She is widely published in the field of Latin American and Latinx cultural studies, theater, and performance studies. In addition to scholarly articles in journals such as The Drama Review, Gestos, Ollantay Theater Magazine, Conjunto, and Tablas, she co-edited Latinas on Stage (2000), the first book on Latina performance artists. She also co-edited Teatro cubano actual: dramaturgia escrita en los Estados Unidos (2005), the first book in Spanish on Cuban American theater published in Havana, as well as an anthology on Venezuelan theater, Teatro venezolano contemporáneo (2007). Her latest book is Marginality Beyond Return: US-Cuban Performances in the 80s and 90s (Routledge 2022). Dr. Manzor has been an innovator in using technology in her teaching and research. In addition to the Cuban Theater Digital Archive, a digital publication that serves as a space for communication between politically-divided communities, she has published a bilingual online exhibit Cuban Theater in Miami: 1960-1980, and the multimodal book, El Ciervo Encantado: An Altar in the Mangrove (HemiPress). Her ongoing research project, Sites that Speak, uses GIS and the Scalar platform to create a digital cultural map of performing arts spaces in Spanish in Miami. She has also directed the video-editing of over 150 theatrical productions, in Cuba and the United States, both equity and non-equity, filmed for archival purposes.

Professor Manzor’s research and cultural projects have been funded by a number of prestigious foundations including the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, National Endowment for the Humanities, American Council of Learned Societies, Ford Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation (fellow at the Smithsonian Institution Theorizing Cultural Heritage Initiative), Cuban National Council for the Performing Arts, Cuban Artist Fund, and Puentes Cubanos. As a community engaged scholar, she works with many theater companies in the United States, Cuba, and Latin America, and she has been actively involved in developing US-Cuba cultural dialogues through theater and performance since 1993. Among others, she co-directed the First International Monologue/ Performance Festival (Miami, 2001), which brought 27 theater artists to the USA and was described as the “ten days that changed the cultural landscape of Miami.” She was a founding member of ENCASA, a coalition of Cuban American scholars and artists advocating change in US-Cuba policy. She is curator of Cuban Culture on the Edge and other activities aimed at creating a bridge between the artistic community in South Florida and Cuban artists living in Cuba.

Carmelita Tropicana

Carmelita Tropicana has been performing in New York’s downtown arts scene since the 1980s, straddling the worlds of performance art and theater in the U.S., Latin America and Europe with her irreverent humor, subversive fantasy and bilingual puns. She has received the LatinX Artists Fellowship (2022), a United States Artists Fellowship (2021), CLAGS, Center for Lesbian and Gays Studies José Muñoz Award (2021), Guggenheim Fellowship (2017), Creative Capital (2016) Anonymous Was A Woman (2005), and an Obie (1999). Carmelita is a longstanding collaborator of the Hemispheric Institute, where she has a collection in the Hemispheric Institute Digital Video Library (HIDVL). Notable and recent works include: Schwanze-Beast, a performance commissioned by Vermont Performance Lab; Post Plastica, an installation/video and performance presented at El Museo del Barrio; and the highly anthologized Milk of Amnesia, which she presented at the Hemispheric Institute’s Encuentro in Monterrey, Mexico (2001). Her writing has appeared in many anthologies, including Animal Acts, Performing Species Today (2015). She is the author of I, Carmelita Tropicana, Performing Between Cultures (2000) and co-editor, with Holly Hughes, of Memories of the Revolution: The First Ten Years of the WOW Café. Tropicana has taught at numerous universities and serves on the Board of Directors of the New York Foundation for the Arts and on the Board of Directors of Soho Rep.

Jorge Ignacio Cortiñas

Jorge Ignacio Cortiñas’s plays include Recent Alien Abductions (Humana Festival, Tripwire Harlot Press), Bird in the Hand (Fulcrum, NY Times Critics Pick) and Blind Mouth Singing (NAATCO, NY Times Critics Pick). His many awards include fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, United States Artists, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Dr. Lilianne Lugo Herrera

Dr. Lilianne Lugo Herrera is a Postdoctoral Research Associate and Lecturer at Princeton University’s Program in Latin American Studies. Her work focuses on the intersection of Theater and Media in contemporary works by women playwrights. Lugo Herrera’s articles have appeared in The Palgrave Handbook of Theatre and Race, Reading Cuba, and in the journals Hispanic Review, Valenciana, Gestos, Conjunto, and Tablas. Her first book project, Mediated Archipelagoes, Theater, Women, and Media puts in dialogue plays that have intermediality and multilingualism as distinguishing characteristics, looking at how the use of documents, technology, and different media, shape the ways in which race, gender, sexuality, and politics are represented and performed on stage. Her research has been supported by the Goizueta Foundation, the American Society for Theater Research (ASTR), the Modern Languages Association (MLA), and several institutes of the University of Miami, including UMIA, the Center for the Humanities, and the College of Arts and Sciences. Lugo Herrera will start an appointment as Assistant Professor of Spanish at Muhlenberg College in the fall of 2023.

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In-person attendance does not require registration for NYU students, staff, and faculty who are compliant with NYU’s COVID-19 vaccination policy. Others may attend in person by filling out this RSVP form no later than Tuesday, October 11.

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