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Carnival Theater

Uruguay’s Popular Performers and National Culture

2003
Author:

Gustavo Remedi
Translated by Amy Ferlazzo

Carnival Theater

Offers a new model for interpreting popular national culture through Uruguay’s carnival theater troupes

Focusing on the cultural practices of the lower classes and specifically on the productions of the murgas, Carnival Theater is a consideration of Uruguayan society’s identity crisis and subsequent redefinition in the wake of the regimes of the 1970s. A revealing work of cultural criticism, the book proposes a new set of criteria for the critique of national culture.

Remedi has assembled impressive data and has produced a first-rate examination of post-military dictatorship in Uruguay as well as provided an insightful look into a popular form barely studied before.

Latin American Research Review

The murgas are troupes of performers, musicians, writers, and creators who, during Montevideo’s Carnival, perform on the tablados, temporary stages built in the neighborhoods of Uruguay’s capital city each year. Throughout the period of Uruguay’s subjection to a brutal dictatorship and in the following era of “democratization,” the murgas, envisioned originally as popular theater, were transformed into a symbol of social resistance, celebrated by many and perceived by others as menacing and subversive.

Focusing on the cultural practices of the lower classes and more specifically on the processes and productions of the murgas, Gustavo Remedi’s Carnival Theater is a deeply thoughtful consideration of Uruguayan society’s identity crisis and subsequent redefinition in the wake of the authoritarian-bureaucratic-technocratic regimes of the 1970s. A revealing work of cultural criticism, the book proposes a new set of criteria for the interpretation and critique of national culture.


Carnival Theater

Gustavo Remedi is associate professor in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures, Trinity College.

Amy Ferlazzo teaches at Meredith College in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Carnival Theater

Remedi has assembled impressive data and has produced a first-rate examination of post-military dictatorship in Uruguay as well as provided an insightful look into a popular form barely studied before.

Latin American Research Review

Carnival Theater is a rich reading of an important and neglected form of cultural expression.

Catherine Boyle, Reader in Latin American Literary and Theatre Studies, King's College London

Carnival Theater

Contents

Prologue: Metaphors for Approaching National Culture
Acknowledgments

1. The Interpretation of National Culture from the Site of Popular Cultural Practice
2. To Open Up the Night: Carnival and the Struggle for a National, Democratic, and Popular Order
3. Theology of Carnival: The Religious Masks of Carnivalesque Theater
4. Bodies, Costumes, and Characters
5. Carnival Celebrates the National Popular Epic

Conclusion: From the Garden of the Comparsas

Appendix: Librettos of Principal Murgas from the Montevideo Carnival, 1988

Araca la Cana
Falta y resto
La reina de la Teja
Los diablos verdes
Los saltimbanquis
Don Timoteo
Anti-murga BCG

Notes