"Hazme un guagüis" : the politics of relajo, humor, gender and sexuality in teatro de revista, teatro de carpa, and cabaret político in Mexico City

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2016-05

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Sotelo-Miller, Sandra Edith

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Abstract

This dissertation focuses on how teatro de revista, teatro de carpa, and later cabaret político provide an outlet where humor and the politics of class, gender, and sexuality intersect, creating powerful, cultural sites of resistance in past and present day Mexico. More specifically, this study argues that teatro de revista and teatro de carpa, two theater genres developed in the first three decades of the twentieth century in Mexico City, created the foundation and tools for political and social criticism which were later appropriated and redefined by political cabaret theater artists in the 1980s and 1990s. Through close-readings and analysis of various performances and the work of Tito Vasconcelos and Jesusa Rodriguez, this study explores a festive dissidence that emerged in Mexico City where the stage became a space in which collective spheres of irreverence and criticism were and continue to be created. By exploring the performance styles and tools developed in these theatrical genres a window is opened into the critical nature of frivolous theater that has also opened avenues for resistance and defiance through irreverence. In a country where political criticism has often been violently punished, especially during periods of political and social crisis, critical sites like those created in teatro de revista, teatro de carpa, and political cabaret theater play a key role in building collective spaces of dissidence.

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