Stages of Conflict:
A Critical Anthology of Latin American Theater and Performance

This web page, currently in development, will serve as a companion to Stages of Conflict: A Critical Anthology of Latin American Theater and Performance, edited by Diana Taylor & Sarah J. Townsend and published by University of Michigan Press. Content complementing the printed book will be added as the page develops, including original language scripts, photos & videos of performances, translators' commentaries, and teaching resources.

Stages of Conflict is the first collection to trace the intersection of theater and social and political life in the Americas over the past five centuries. Selections range from a sixteenth-century native dance-drama and a nineteenth-century comedy about slavery to an avant-garde drama from the thirties that reflects the rise of fascism. More recent plays by writers such as Griselda Gambaro, Enrique Buenaventura, and Denise Stoklos address situations involving dictatorship, torture, and struggles for social justice. The volume is a must-read for anyone interested in the performance traditions of the Americas as a whole. Each performance text has been carefully translated into English and is accompanied by extensive critical commentary as well as bibliographies to aid further research.

  • Hardcover: 344 pages
  • Publisher: University of Michigan Press (September 19, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0472070274
  • ISBN-13: 978-0472070275
  • Product Dimensions: 10.1 x 7.2 x 1.2 inches


  • Chapters


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    Rabinal Achi

    This Mayan dance-drama provides an invaluable glimpse at the highly ritualized nature of Amerindian performance. Two opponents, the Man of Rabinal and the Queché Warrior, are locked in... MORE

    Final Judgment

    This awe-inspiring piece of evangelical theater, which draws on the conventions of medieval morality plays, was meant to serve as an ‘example’ of the terrifying fate that awaited indigenous people who failed... MORE

    The End of Atau Wallpa, A Tragedy

    This conquest drama reenacts the fateful confrontation between the Inca Atahualpa and the Spanish conqueror Francisco Pizarro. Indigenous and mestizo communities... MORE

    The Loa for the Auto Sacramental of The Divine Narcissus

    Written by a nun who became the most brilliant literary legend of the colonial era, this short loa preceded a longer one-act play that was performed... MORE

    Los Comanches

    Los Comanches is a conquest drama that reenacts the Spanish army’s historic defeat of a famous Comanche chieftain in what is now New Mexico. In this secular reinvention of the moros y cristianos... MORE

    The Jealous Officer, or The Fearsome Slave Catcher

    This witty parody of a melodramatic French adaptation of Shakespeare’s Othello is an example of the comédia de costumbres, a popular genre that depicted local customs... MORE

    Juan Moreira

    When the tragic tale of the real-life gaucho Juan Moreira was first performed in a circus ring on the outskirts of Buenos Aires, its unprecedented success ushered in the golden age of the traveling... MORE

    After Death

    Written in Ybor City, Florida by a Puerto Rican feminist, anarchist, and labor organizer, this ‘Real-Life Comedy in Verse and Prose’ is an unorthodox example of teatro obrero (workers’ theatre). Two mourners meet over... MORE

    The Candle King

    This raucous play by Brazil’s most notorious avant-garde writer helped spark the Tropicália counterculture movement when it made its belated debut in 1967. The title character, Abelard I, is a moneylender... MORE

    Electra Garrigó

    When this brazen but baffling play debuted, an esteemed director who was in the audience walked out and denounced it as a ‘spitball thrown at Olympus.’ Piñera transplants the classic Greek tragedy... MORE

    Night of the Assassins

    Set in a dingy, claustrophobic attic or basement, Night of the Assassins focuses on three adult children who obsessively enact the murder of their parents. Triana’s drama has been widely acclaimed by foreign... MORE

    The Camp

    When Martin shows up to his new job at an unidentified corporation, he immediately develops a sense of unease: the director is a man named Franco who wears an S.S. uniform—ostensibly just for fun—and his... MORE

    Documents from Hell

    The ‘documents’ that make up this play cycle by one of the leaders of Latin America’s collective theater movement are shards, bits and pieces of a mosaic that register the ruptures and violent discontinuities of... MORE

    Personal Belongings

    Casalia Belprop, otherwise known as the Diva, searches through a pile of unclaimed luggage in an unknown location. Her personal belongings are nowhere in sight: instead she finds tricycles, raincoats... MORE

    Isabel Banished in Isabel

    An impoverished woman recalls scenes from her past and longs for her missing partner, who was dragged away by the cops for the crime of killing birds. Isabel’s sense of isolation, though partly existential... MORE

    Denise Stoklos in Mary Stuart

    This imaginary encounter between Queen Elizabeth and her imprisoned rival, Mary Queen of Scots, is one of the signature pieces of Brazil’s most brilliant solo performer. Stoklos’s ‘essential theater’ combines... MORE

    Adiós Ayacucho

    The internationally acclaimed theater collective known as Yuyachkani first staged this piece at the height of Peru’s guerra interna, a Dirty War that left over 75,000 people dead. Adiós Ayacucho tells the story of a peasant... MORE


    This comedy was first performed during the ‘special period’ after the fall of the Soviet Union, when Cuba suffered dramatic food shortages and faced an uncertain future as one of the world’s last remaining... MORE

    The Demon’s Nun

    The Demon’s Nun is a recent piece by two Mayan playwrights who founded and run a women’s collective called FOMMA in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas. The protagonist is a woman named Domitila... MORE