Gladhart on Migration and Theater
Prof. Amalia Gladhart has published “Teaching Latin American Migrations Through Theatre” in Latin American Theatre Review 50.1 (Winter 2016. The article examines how the concept of migration offers a useful organizing principle for an introduction to Latin American theatre, as it encompasses multiple theatre styles and practices. Issues of migration are often in the news (in Latin America and beyond), thereby offering a point of entry for students who may not have studied theatre in the past. Migration in its multiple forms (immigration, emigration, exile, return) has a long history in the theaters of the Americas, including not only contemporary plays set on the US-Mexico border but also Puerto Rican and Argentine theater from the first half of the twentieth century and recent theater from Ecuador, Chile, and Argentina. As a liminal space, the stage offers unique possibilities for the representation of migration. The theatre is a privileged space for the consideration of the migrant’s experience of displacement, an intrinsically provisional space, continually redefined. Theatrical techniques used to evoke the displacements of immigration, exile, and return include: narrative and temporal disruption; multiple characters played by a single actor; the mixing of languages, with and without translation; the evocation of the absent or the disappeared; and satirical or grotesque exaggeration.