The Theatre Exchange/El intercambio teatral
Stetson University Stover Theatre
November 1996
Bayamón, Río Piedras, and Mayagüez, Puerto Rico
December 1996

This performance series was part of the pilot project for the Hollis International Scholars Mentored Field Program, in which students investigated the Spanish-language theatre of Miami and Puerto Rico as both audience and performers. The project as a whole was co-conducted by Dr. Iliana Mankin and myself (see the Hollis International Scholars Theatre Project page for more information and photos). The program has become a regular feature of Stetson's Latin American Studies program.

This production consisted of four one-act plays: two in English, one in Spanish, and one bi-lingual play by student Mark Kenneally.

La historia del hombre que se convirtió en perro (The Story of the Man Who Turned into a Dog), by the Argentinian playwright Osvaldo Dragún, is an absurdist piece with shades of Kafka in which an unemployed man is forced to take a job as a guard dog. It was chosen to represent the area of Latin American drama, and was performed in the original Spanish.

15 Minute Hamlet by Tom Stoppard, is a condensation of Shakespeare's masterpiece into fifteen minutes; as expected, it is tumultuous with plenty of laughs. This piece was chosen to represent contemporary English-language theatre, and was performed in English.

Libaciones (Libations) is a tongue-in-cheek piece written by one of the actor-participants, Mark Kenneally, in which a bartender discovers a double meaning behind his customers' consistent loss of consciousness. As an original work, this piece was meant to represent a more personal perspective on the contemporary American theatre. It was a truly bi-lingual play, having been performed in a mix of English and Spanish.

 The final play, and the one most directly relevant to the project, is The Great American Justice Game by the Emmy-Award-winning documentary film-maker, historian, and playwright Miguel González-Pando. The play is a keen satire of ethnicity in white America, experienced through a grotesque parody of "Court-TV" in which a young Hispanic woman is put on trial for her use of the Spanish language. The author is a prominent member of Miami's Hispanic community, and a member of the Latino Studies faculty at Florida International University. These Hollis International Scholars have received special permission to give this play its first full production.

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Copyright © 2003 by Ken McCoy.