I know this is a bit late, but I think our presentation went well. I think we could have had a bit more creativity but the information I think went well even though we had a lot of it. I think the other groups such as the Roman spectacle group had a good time with trying to split information and creativity equally. I also believe that the Russian theatre group did well and they worked well with the big hole in their information. Overall, the project was interesting and sometimes fun to work on because the Aztecs and the post-colonial culture is very rich and I think it's fun to look at something that you;re not very familiar with.
My section of the presentation was Luis Valdez and El Teatro Campesino. It was intriguing to read information on it because it is a prominent theatre group and culture and I had never even heard of it. I hope that I did it justice because it is important to the Chicano people.
I've just picked up a book from the library entitled "Actos" written by Luis Valdez. It was written in 1972 and it's a very good primary source. He explains what actos are and what they mean to the campesinos. The majority of the book is examples of his work for los teatros campesinos. It's very interesting to read. They're easy to understand and they're very short, usually about 5-7 pages. In English, the best translation for acto is skit. They're full of satire about the conditions of the striking farm workers. There is one called "Las Dos Caras del Patroncito" which means "the two faces of the boss". It's about ta boss that comes to visit one of his workers how easy he has it. He obviously twists the truth as he describes the struggles he has to go through such as: "taxes, insurance, and supporting those bums on welfare". He ends up switching roles with the farmworker as a joke but the farmworker gets so into it that he steals the bosses life and wife.
I think this type of situation relates to the identity crisis of "what does it mean to be chicano?" What exactly mean to be Chicano in the sixties? For the striking farm workers, it means just realizing that they're life can be so much better than it was at that time. They deserved more than two dollars per hour. Chicanos were over thrown in Aztec times and it was about time that they deserved good lives and decent wages for jobs.
Edit: It also is directly used in the campesinos actos themselves. They acted out their reality as they saw it. They wanted to spark social reform in the audience.
I've been reading more about the rituals that the Aztecs had. I knew about the heart sacrifices, but they actually had so many and they were very detailed and there were a lot of them. I think they are interesting to read about. The Aztecs had 18 months to their year and each one of them was devoted to a particular god. For example, four months out of the year were devoted to the Rain God. This isn't exactly to do with the theatre of the ritual but I think it's pretty amazing the kind of commitment they had.
So far into my research I've been finding a lot about El Teatro Campesino. There's a lot of information in the Aztlan book and it's very interesting. Even though it's offering up an abundance of material, I also want to look more into the dramatic parts of Aztec rituals. I think they are very interesting and even if they don't necessarily show up in our presentation due to time concerns and order of importance, I still think they could be beneficial to our argument. I think it's worth taking a look at and over the next short period of time I will be looking into them and their meanings and certain ways they were performed.
I think if we dug deep enough, we could have found enough information on pre-colonial Aztec theatre and how it was performed. I also think that would be way too much information for one 20 minute presentation. I just find it intriguing to learn about since before this project and still now, I pretty much know nothing on the dramatic aspects of Aztec rituals.