Stages of Life
Transcultural Performance and Identity in U.S. Latina Theater
This is the first in-depth study of the entire corpus of Latina theater, based on close readings of works both published and in manuscript. It considers a large body of productions and performances, including works by such internationally known authors as Dolores Prida, Cherríe Moraga, and Janis Astor del Valle.
Applying feminist and postcolonial theory as well as theories of transculturation, Sandoval-Sánchez and Sternbach show how, despite cultural differences among Latinas, their works share a common poetics by building upon the politics of representation, identity, and location. In addition to covering theater, this study also shows that solo performance has its own history, properties, structure, and poetics. It examines performances of Carmelita Tropicana, Monica Palacios, and Marga Gomez—artists whose hybrid identities as Latina lesbians constitute living examples of transculturation in the making—to show how solo performance has roots in and digresses from more traditional modes of theater. With their Latina heritage as a unifying link, these women reflect common traits, patterns, dramatic structures, and properties that overcome regional differences. Stages of Life reads these eclectic cultural productions as a unified body of work that contributes to the formation of Latina identity in America today.