Elizabeth C. Ramírez, Ph.D.
Edgewood ISD Fine Arts Specialist & Professional Dramaturg
“Getting women’s voices heard” was the entire premise for my recently published collection of plays, and I would welcome the opportunity to speak to that topic, using my new book as an example. LA VOZ LATINA: CONTEMPORARY PLAYS AND PERFORMANCE PIECES, which I edited with Catherine Casiano, was recently published by University of Illinois Press (June 2011).
Surveying the Latina theatre movement in the United States since the 1980s, La Voz Latina brings together contemporary plays and performance pieces by innovative Latina playwrights. This rich collection of varying styles, forms, themes, and genres includes work by Yareli Arizmendi, Josefina Báez, The Colorado Sisters, Migdalia Cruz, Evelina Fernández, Cherríe Moraga, Carmen Peláez, Carmen Rivera, Celia H. Rodríguez, Diane Rodriguez, and Milcha Sanchez-Scott, as well as commentary by Kathy Perkins and Caridad Svich on the present state of Latinas in theatre roles.
La Voz Latina expands the field of Latina theatre while situating it in the larger spectrum of American stage and performance studies. In highlighting the ethnic and cultural roots of the performance artists, we provide historical context, as well as a short biography, production history, and artistic statement from each playwright.
Two reviewers of this collection have said the following:
“A fine representation of some of the most vital and important Latina playwrights writing and performing today. Publishing many plays for the first time, this significant collection will be of interest to students and scholars of theatre, Latina studies, and American studies.” —Jorge Huerta, author of Chicano Drama: Performance, Society, and Myth
“Apart from the performance pieces themselves, the artists’ comments about the circumstances under which the works were created makes the collection a very valuable tool for documenting Latina cultural production since the 1980s.” —Tamara L. Underiner, author of Contemporary Theatre in Mayan Mexico: Death-Defying Acts
The entire collection resulted from my experience as a professional dramaturg, finding regional stages, university and college stages, and other performance venues with a blind vision in terms of plays by women of color. This collection aims at introducing and in some cases bringing to light new and notable works by Latinas who have been writing for the stage during the past 3 decades.