Description: Throughout the history of the Dominican Republic, theater has played an instrumental role in the cultural life its people, one which transcends purely artistic and cultural dimensions extending its influence into the political and social fabric of the nation. In spite of Spanish colonization and later Haitian occupation, a nascent national identity began forming early on. The staging of certain plays exposed latent conflicts and revealed sectorial, class interests. Theater provided a means of expression for popular sentiments, thus revealing an urge by the people to manifest their concerns, usually under the heavy weight of censorship. This thesis focuses on key moments of the first 140 years of Dominican Republic theater. It is organized into three chapters: "Historical Antecedents", "Theater of the Dictatorship" and "Theater of the Post-Dictatorship." The first chapter deals with the struggle for independence through 1844; the next focuses on the theatrical plays and political climate of bloody Rafael Leonidas Trujillo dictatorship which spanned from 1930 to his assassination in 1961, and the third presents the theater that appeared in the subsequent years of the equally repressive Joaquin Balaguer presidency (1966-1978). The analysis of these key historical moments, in conjunction with the dramaturgy of playwrights such as Franklin Domínguez, Marcio Veloz Maggiolo and Héctor Incháustegui Cabral, maps the function of theater as a tool of raising awareness, transmitting ideologies, and unifying a nation, in spite of despotism and oppression often disguised as democracy. As such, it documents the role that theatre played during a nation-building process that stages the history of political repression, lack of freedom of expression as well as social and political injustice.
Date: May 2016
Creator: Curiel, Sandra Y