Teatro Chicana: A Collective Memoir and Selected Plays
Edited by Laura E. Garcia, Sandra M. Gutierrez, and Felicitas Nuñez
This collection has been awarded the Susan Koppelman Award for the Best Edited Volume in Women’s Studies in Popular and American Culture in 2008. This award is given by the Popular Culture/American Culture Association. The first print run paperback of “Teatro Chicana” has sold out. University of Texas Press is reprinting.
Co-Editor Sandra M. Gutiérrez writes in her entry: “As far as the Teatro de las Chicanas was concerned, what we lacked in theatrical training and sophistication, we more than made up for with ganas and deter-mination.” There is no better way to summarize this book than that. The editors put together a wide range of memoirs from Xicanas in the first part of the book and then have actos in the second half. Although Teatro Chicana covers an important and sometimes ignored aspect of the growing Chicano literary field, the strength of the book is in the memoirs – a gutsy group of recollections about the influence of theater on various contributing Xicana writers.
Each memoir details a unique account. Some respond directly to the integral role of theatre in their life, describing how the teatro changed their life – politically, socially, and personally. One play, in particular, illustrates the struggle of a Chicana trying to go to college, fleshing out her obstacles with simple dialogue and the basic problems of a girl who wants an education – lack of money, resources, familial support – and machista ideas about a woman’s fundamental role. Luckily, through determination and with help from the Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan (MECHA), the girl makes it through.
For anyone interested in the marginalized perspectives of the Chicano Movement, Teatro Chicana is an important addition to your education.
Laura E. Garcia is the editor of the Tribuno del Pueblo newspaper, a bilingual publication that gives voice to the poor and to those fighting unjust laws, such as those that make the undocumented immigrant an animal of prey. She lives in Chicago.
Sandra M. Gutierrez is a lifelong community activist who has advocated for immigrant rights, unionization, youth counseling, and cultural diversity. She lives in Pasadena, California.
Felicitas Nuñez was a co-founder of the Teatro de las Chicanas and continues to be a driving force behind the organization. She lives in Bermuda Dunes, California.