Investigates more than 140 Latinx-themed productions or adaptations of Shakespeare in the United States
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