Latinx Shakespeares

Staging U.S. Intracultural Theater

Subjects: Theater and Performance, Latinx Studies, Literary Studies, British and Irish Literatures
Paperback : 9780472055777, 280 pages, 12 illustrations, 6 x 9, January 2023
Hardcover : 9780472075775, 280 pages, 12 illustrations, 6 x 9, January 2023
Open Access : 9780472903740, 280 pages, 12 illustrations, 6 x 9, January 2023
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Investigates more than 140 Latinx-themed productions or adaptations of Shakespeare in the United States

Table of contents

Introduction: Latinx Shakespeares                                                                
1 Division: The West Side Story Effect                                                                                
2 Aurality: Hearing Ethnicity                                                                                                
3 Identity: Remapping Latinidades                                                                           
4 Decoloniality: Theatrical Bilanguaging                                                                 
5 El Público: Healing and Spectatorship                                                                   
6 Futures: Shakespearean Critical History                                                    


Latinx peoples and culture have permeated Shakespearean performance in the United States for over 75 years—a phenomenon that, until now, has been largely overlooked as Shakespeare studies has taken a global turn in recent years. Author Carla Della Gatta argues that theater-makers and historians must acknowledge this presence and influence in order to truly engage the complexity of American Shakespeares. Latinx Shakespeares investigates the history, dramaturgy, and language of the more than 140 Latinx-themed Shakespearean productions in the United States since the 1960s—the era of West Side Story. This first-ever book of Latinx representation in the most-performed playwright’s canon offers a new methodology for reading ethnic theater looks beyond the visual to prioritize aural signifiers such as music, accents, and the Spanish language.

The book’s focus is on textual adaptations or performances in which Shakespearean plays, stories, or characters are made Latinx through stage techniques, aesthetics, processes for art-making (including casting), and modes of storytelling. The case studies range from performances at large repertory theaters to small community theaters and from established directors to emerging playwrights. To analyze these productions, the book draws on interviews with practitioners, script analysis, first-hand practitioner insight, and interdisciplinary theoretical lenses, largely by scholars of color. Latinx Shakespeares moves toward healing by reclaiming Shakespeare as a borrower, adapter, and creator of language whose oeuvre has too often been mobilized in the service of a culturally specific English-language whiteness that cannot extricate itself from its origins within the establishment of European/British colonialism/imperialism.

Carla Della Gatta is Assistant Professor of English at Florida State University.

Latinx Shakespeares offers a state-of-the-art account of Latinx themed, directed, and acted (re)performances of Shakespeare transacted in the last 25 years, greatly enhanced by Della Gatta’s respect for the many performers and directors with whom she enters into conversation. The book should be of particular interest to readers concerned about ‘the staging of difference of any kind in Shakespeare,’ which Della Gatta identifies with ‘the West Side Story effect’ in an opening chapter that alone is worth the price of admission.”

—Thomas Cartelli, Muhlenberg College

- Thomas Cartelli

“Carla Della Gatta’s Latinx Shakespeares offers a most welcome critical survey of how signal features of Latinx theatremaking—the theatrical use of language, sound, spectacle, social consciousness, cultural specificity—have guided, informed, and shaped myriad stagings of ‘Shakespeare’ over the last several decades. Della Gatta’s engagingly expert account details how ‘Latinx Shakespeares’ have evolved to become a constellation of reciprocally inflective practices that together activate a reimagining of how both Latinidad and Shakespeare play on the contemporary cultural stage. An invaluably illuminating book.”

—Brian Herrera, Princeton University

- Brian Herrera

“This impressive work intervenes at the intersection of two very important conversations—Latinx Studies and Shakespeare Studies—and makes a significant contribution to the field.”

 —Jon D. Rossini, University of California Davis

- Jon D. Rossini

"Latinx Shakespeares supplies an authoritative and indispensable resource on theatrical uses of Shakespeare as a conduit for onstage explorations of Latinidad, and of Latinidad's aesthetic, creative, and critical futures as examined through dramaturgical engagements with Shakespeare."
--Shakespeare Bulletin

- Shakespeare Bulletin

"Works such as Latinx Shakespeares are, or should be, for everybody. That the study is performance-centered, concerned with its audience's use of Shakespeare "as a tool of activism" and an essential part of intracultural American theater, should be heartening for anyone worried about the plays' contemporary societal relevance."
--Shakespeare Quarterly

- M.L. Stapleton

"Those of us who have ventured into the theatrical act of Latinizing Shakespeare have found a fellow traveler in Carla Della Gatta. In her most recent book, Latinx Shakespeares: Staging U.S. Intracultural Theater, she has identified our practices and brought them into focus for artists, scholars, and general readers alike."
Theatre Survey

- Guillermo Reyes

"The pairing of Shakespearean texts with Latinx adaptations is particularly revelatory, and Della Gatta balances her descriptions of each play and performance so that scholars from each of the overlapping areas of Latinidad, Shakespeare, and performance studies are grounded and engaged. Latinx Shakespeares is an indispensable record of, and argument for, the richness and productivity of Shakespearean performance of, by, and for Latinidad."
-Ethnic and Third World Literatures

- Michael Vaclav