Censura y Teatro Novohispano (1539-1822): Ensayos y Antología de Documentos

Censure and novo-hispanic theater (1539-1822): essays and an anthology of documents

Maya Ramos Smith [et al.]

México, 1998
763 p.


In the frame of a wide project of investigation on Novo-Hispanic scenic art, this first volume covers the issue of censure seen as power control by the church or the state over the theatrical practices all throughout the Viceroyalty of New Spain. In the first part, there are some analytic essays that, from various viewpoints —anthropological, historical, and aesthetical— study the policies to “preserve the religious, political, and moral current values”, as well as the “administration, regulation and supervision of ideas, festivities, leisure activities and free time”. Maya Ramos Smith gives us a more than three century historical approach and a phenomenology of trends and evolution of Novo-hispanic drama compared with the agents, mechanisms and evolution of its opposite side: censure. Tito Vasconcelos describes and illustrates the censure on plays while Luis Armando Lamadrid, on the other hand, refers to the censure applied to the performance, especially the non-verbal elements such as costume, gesture, glimpse, movement, dance, song, etc. In introductory essays, Xavier Lizárraga explores, out of an anthropology of behavior, the socio-historic dialogic that is established —provoking each other— between the “official” censure and the rebellious opinion of actors and the theater that is the source of insubordination to the hegemonic order. In the second part, and as a result of a work of rescue of documentary sources in archives from America and Europe, there is an anthology made of 205 files —more than 60% unknown— ordered chronologically and by topic, which reveals the logistics and dynamics of the censure made by the state and the church. The documents (regulations, edicts, instructions, mandates, proscriptions, permits, decrees, as well as files of cases showing obedience or disobedience to the rules) are organized as follows: I. Theater and Religious Festivities; II. Professional Theater: Censure to the Text and the Performance (1559-1822): 16th Century (1559-1598), 17th Century (1601-1699), 18th Century (1700-1764), Borbonic Reforms and Neoclassicism (1765-1799), and The Period of Independence (1800-1822).