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Social commitment and dramatic discourse in three contemporary Costa Rican playwrights

by Champagne, Carole Anne

Abstract (Summary)
In the second half of the twentieth century Costa Rica has witnessed a resurgence of the performing arts. Motivated by political and social reforms, playwrights have searched for a national identity through the dramatic medium. Chapter I examines historical developments of the genre. Until the turning point of 1948, when a democratic administration established a ministry for the arts to expand and diversify audiences, theatre was primarily reserved for the bourgeoisie, dependent on European models and critiques. Chapter II examines dramaturgy by national playwrights of the generacion socialdemocrata: Samuel Rovinski, Alberto Canas, and Daniel Gallegos. They transformed a stagnating art form into a dynamic cultural phenomenon. Emerging playwrights such as Miguel Rojas, Ana Istaru, and Guillermo Arriaga connect audiences dramatically to social, economic, and political upheavals in Central America. The Teatro Joven in Chapter III is motivated by national and regional issues. Miguel Rojas focuses on historical drama linking the developing nation to the present. The independence movement, folklore, and the advent of industrialism are threads in the national fabric spun by his dramas. Ana Istaru is an accomplished poet as well as award-winning actress and playwright. She poignantly portrays the Costa Rican women's experience, characterizing memorable female figures who speak for the voiceless victims of injustice, social conventions, or neglect. Guillermo Arriaga addresses regional crises and social degeneration. He attacks political corruption, class and gender power struggles, and clashing value systems. These dramatists herald a new social consciousness. Chapter IV analyzes their plays through a semiotic approach. Correlating levels of meaning in the semantic, syntactic, and pragmatic dimensions of representative plays connect texts to their cultural context. Thematic and stylistic tendencies established by the generacion socialdemocrata are developed through structural and linguistic experimentation. Chapter V, the conclusion, relates textual messages to more critical and informed audiences who challenge playwrights to create original drama relevant to a new generation. In the continuum of socially conscious playwrights, the Teatro Joven develops the objectives of the "dramaturgos nacionales de la Social Democrata." Examining these objectives means observing the creators at work and their works in creation.
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Advisor:

School:University of Massachusetts Amherst

School Location:USA - Massachusetts

Source Type:Master's Thesis

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Date of Publication:01/01/1998

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