Staging Difference: Cultural Pluralism in American Theatre and Drama

By Marc Maufort | Go to book overview
productions of the play inspired its director, Roberto Rodríguez Suárez to found El Nuevo Circulo Dramático, the first Puerto Rican theatre company with a permanent home in New York (on the Avenue of the Americas between 45th and 45th Streets). In 1966, the first English-language production of the play was received so enthusiastically for a long run at New York's Greenwich Mews Theatre that the following year Miriam Colon (who played the role of Juanita in both productions) and others formed the Puerto Rican Traveling Theatre to bring this play to the people of New York free of charge. Funded largely by Major John Lindsay Summer Taskforce, Miss Colon's troupe toured the parks and playgrounds of all five boroughs with more than thirty productions of The Oxcart that year. The PRTT has since grown into one of the most remarkable theatre ventures in the history of the City. Today, with a touring unit, playwrights workshop, and a permanent theatre on West 47th Street, the PRTT has developed more than 150 new American plays; it has given free instruction in playwrighting, acting, singing, dancing, and directing to thousands of young people from all ethnic backgrounds; and it has mounted thousands of performances for all New Yorkers. The dual objective of the PRTT is being realized: to establish, in Miriam Colon's words, "a bilingual theatrical organization which would emphasize the dramatic literature of Puerto Rico and Latin America, highlighting the contributions of Hispanic dramatists in the United States, and to make these theatrical presentations accessible to the people."

The PRTT has also influenced the founding of other Puerto Rican theatrical organizations such as The Latin Insomniacs, The Nuyorican Poets' Cafe, El Teatro Ambulante. Teatro Cuatro, Teatro Otra Cosa, ROSA (Ricans' Organizations for Self-Advancement). Teatro Moderno Puertorrriqueño, The African-Caribbean Poetry Theatre, Pregones, and The Shaman Theatre Repertory Company. In addition Puerto Ricans have been active in a dozen or so other Latino theatre companies throughout the City.


Works Cited
Babín María Teresa. "'La Carreta' en el tiempo" Sin Nombre 10 ( October- December 1979): 45-54.
Barradas Efrain. "El machismo existencialista de René Marqués: Relecturas y nuevas lecturas." Sin Nombre 8 ( October-December 1977): 69-81.
Bakhtin Mikail. The Dialogic Imagination. Transl. Caryl Emerson and Michael Holquist . Ed. Michael Holquist. Austin: Texas UP, 1981.
Belaval Emilio S. "Lo que podría ser un teatro puertorriqueño." Actas del Ateneo Puertorriqueño. 8 December 1938.
Eagleton Terry. Literary Theory: An Introduction. Minneapolis: Minnesota UP, 1983.
_____. "Nationalism: Irony and Commitment." Nationalism, Colonialism, and Literature. Minneapolis: Minnesota UP, 1990. 23-39.
Flores Juan. Divided Borders: Essays on Puerto Rican Identity. Houston: Arte

-243-

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