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Voices of the ephemeral. University Theater Productions

Voices of the ephemeral. University Theater Productions

University theater is key to understanding twentieth-century Mexican culture, but how can we appreciate it if we are unaware of its origins?

In the past, finding artistic references for university theater productions required the compilation of documents that could be presented in an organized and articulated fashion. Given the ephemeral nature of theater, many creators left the task of documenting what was happening on our stages to chance, with the result that key moments of this history were lost forever. Over the years, the archives and records changed hands and were relegated to a behind-the-scenes seat. In the end, the task became a mammoth, practically impossible undertaking.

One of the raisons détre of this book is to underline the importance of documenting the evolution of theater in México as a mirror in which we can comprehend the present and recognize ourselves in the future. In this particular case, our efforts would not have come to fruition without the vision and sensitivity of Rector Juan Ramón de la Fuente and the collaboration and vocation of dozens of others who either wrote these chapters or provided us with access to their personal archives.

The original idea for this book was proposed by none other than the UNAM although it should come as no surprise that, as an institution devoted to academic research, the university is eager to record some important chapters of its own history. At the initiative of the Theater Department, a wealth of authors, artists, researchers and photographers were invited to participate in this huge collective effort.

Why are there so few publications on university theater?

The answer is simple: it is difficult to find consensus on a play. Every spectator has his or her own interpretation and what is commendable to some, is disastrous in the eyes of others. In our attempt to provide an overview of the history and development of theater at the UNAM we found ourselves like paleontologists trying to envisage the Tyrannosaurus Rex. Nonetheless, documenting the theater produced by the university has brought us a keener appreciation of the audacity and creative drive of its advocates.

This book is an attempt to organize and present a genealogical past, a family album, a vehicle that helps us understand the roots of university theater. On making this journey, we have corroborated the ephemeral nature of theater as a phenomenon that reflects its unique time, space and circumstances. Not even the best footage could convey the impact of a production on its audience, because todays spectators are viewing it from a different perspective.

The work of the men and women whose creative energies helped establish Mexican theater is analyzed in these pages. The first section of the book briefly covers the history of theater at the UNAM; the second pays tribute to eight winners of the National Arts and Sciences Award who began their careers in university theater; and the final section contains photographs of 70 productions that have left their mark on our stages over the last 50 years.

The theater produced by the UNAM is a unique phenomenon deserving of ongoing study: this is theater with vocation; theater that merits due appreciation and that should be fostered and sponsored.

Like any theater production, this book is a collective work, as can be gleaned from the numerous photographs that pay homage to some of most active proponents of university theater in México. As such, it invites us to reflect on an infinite variety of related research topics. In short, it is an invaluable record of the cultural heritage of university theater, which also makes up the cultural heritage of our country and the world at large. A version of what could be called a general history, yet one that we hope will be meaningful to spectators of any era. I am confident our readers will be held firmly in its grasp from start to finish.

  Precio Cantidad
Voices of the ephemeral. University Theater Productions
  • Libro Impreso Impreso
  • ISBN/ISSN: 8626000000216
  • Editor: Dirección General de Publicaciones y Fomento Editorial
  • Edición o Número de Reimpresión: Año de edición -2007-
  • Tema: Teatro
  • Peso en Kg: 2.5700
  • Tamaño: 28.8x29x3.1

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Voices of the ephemeral. University Theater Productions