This course examines the use of theatre and performance - by the State, by oppositional groups, and by theatre and performance practitioners - to solidify or challenge structures of power. The course looks at specific examples of how theatre and public spectacles have been used since the 1960s to control or contest the political stage. Starting with the climactic moment of the Cuban revolution, we examine how Latin American playwrights (Enrique Buenaventura, José Triana, Augusto Boal) and collective theatre groups (Yuyachkani, T.E.C.) struggled to transform theatre from an instrument of colonial oppression into an oppositional, at times revolutionary, "theatre of the oppressed." We then look at the military dictatorships of the 1970s-80s, during which Latin American playwrights, performers, and political actors responded to political violence (Griselda Gambaro, Eduardo Pavlovsky). In the 1980s and 90s the convergence of performance and politics takes many forms - from issues of gender, sexuality and race, to neo-colonialism and globalism - as visible in the practices of playwrights and solo performance artists (Maris Bustamante, Diana Raznovich, Jesusa Rodriguez, Denise Stoklos, Astrid Hadad, Petrona de la Cruz Cruz).

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