Latina theater and solo performance emerged in the 1990s as vibrant, energetic new genres found on stages from New York to Los Angeles. Many women now work in all aspects of Latina theater—often as playwrights or solo performers—with practitioners ranging from teenagers to grandmothers.
Alberto Sandoval-Sánchez and Nancy Saporta Sternbach have previously published a groundbreaking anthology of Latina theater, Puro Teatro. They now offer a critical analysis of theatrical works, presenting a theoretical perspective from which to examine, understand, and contextualize Latina theater as a genre in its own right.
This is the first in-depth study of the entire corpus of Latina theater, based on close readings of works both published and in manuscript. It considers a large body of productions and performances, including works by such internationally known authors as Dolores Prida, Cherríe Moraga, and Janis Astor del Valle. Applying feminist and postcolonial theory as well as theories of transculturation, Sandoval-Sánchez and Sternbach show how, despite cultural differences among Latinas, their works share a common poetics by building upon the politics of representation, identity, and location. In addition to covering theater, this study also shows that solo performance has its own history, properties, structure, and poetics. It examines performances of Carmelita Tropicana, Monica Palacios, and Marga Gomez—artists whose hybrid identities as Latina lesbians constitute living examples of transculturation in the making—to show how solo performance has roots in and digresses from more traditional modes of theater.
With their Latina heritage as a unifying link, these women reflect common traits, patterns, dramatic structures, and properties that overcome regional differences. Stages of Life reads these eclectic cultural productions as a unified body of work that contributes to the formation of Latina identity in America today.