El Teatro Campensino

Topics: Theatre, Teatro Campesino, Campesino Pages: 1 (537 words) Published: October 29, 2014

El Teatro Campesino and the Mexican Popular Performance Tradition El Teatro Campesino began as a grass roots theater company which in turn changed the course of Chicano history forever. It was successful in doing this because it was born and thrived off their Chicano community. Performance Theater was well known before El Teatro came along and was similarly compared to Brecht’s work. Both are considered “Popular Presentational,” however, the difference was that El Teatro incorporated social and economic issues. This was made clear “The confusion arises because the mass audiences at which presentational theatre aims differ as history changes economic relationships.” (Goldsmith 168) As well rounded as these actors were, they always stayed true to their notion of using humor to give attention to the community’s struggles. Cantinflas and Felipe Cantu style of entertainment singlehandedly contributed to the rise of the Actos. In reading this chapter, I was shocked to learn that the actors in the company refused to work from scripts. They believed in the power of memory and how that carried the message further than any piece of paper could. The naturalness and flow of movement resonated with the people. “Total body involvement was a performance “language” to which Chicana/o and Mexicana/o audiences were accustomed. To these audiences, understanding a performance meant a great deal more than a semantic decoding.” (Broyles-Gonzalez 18) This style of entertainment worked because there was a social contract between the actors and audience members. It was expected to receive an immediate response from the crowd. Whether it was positive or negative, feedback was given and very crucial in continuing the performance. As touched upon earlier, humor also boomed with the crowd. They insisted on using masks for the men, women were the only ones without a mask. This was an Italian influence but nonetheless the actors customized them to fit their individual needs. They would...
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