Theatre of the Sphere : The Vibrant Being book cover
1st Edition

Theatre of the Sphere
The Vibrant Being

ISBN 9780367619473
Published July 28, 2021 by Routledge
198 Pages 15 Color & 48 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Theatre of the Sphere is Luis Valdez’s exploration of the principles that underlie his innovations as a playwright, teacher, and theatrical innovator. He discusses the unique aesthetic, more than five decades in the making, that defines the work of his group El Teatro Campesino—from shows staged on the backs of flatbed trucks by the participants in the Delano Grape Strike of the 1960s to international megahits like Zoot Suit.

Opening with a history of El Teatro Campesino, rich with Valdez’s insights and remembrances, the book’s first part provides context for the development of the Theatre of the Sphere acting method. The second part delivers the conceptual framework for Valdez’s acting theory and practice, situating it in Mayan mathematics and metaphysics. The third part of the book applies this methodology to describe the "viente pasos," the 20-element exercise sequence that comprises the core practice of El Teatro Campesino—strengthening the body, balance, precision, and flexibility but also leadership, collaboration, observation, vulnerability, trust, and expression of passion; of consciousness of time, place, self, community, language, and belief; of honour, faith, morality, and commitment. The book concludes with the full text of Valdez’s poem, "El Buen Actor/El Mal Actor," and a comprehensive bibliography for further study.

This is a vital and indispensable text for today’s actor, as well as scholars and students of contemporary theatre, American and Chicano performance, and the process of theatre-making, actor training, and community performance.

Table of Contents

Introduction - Jorge A. Huerta; Part One: El Teatro Campesino; Part Two: Theatre of the Sphere; Part Three: The Vibrant Being Workshop; Part Four: El Buen Actor / El Mal Actor

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Luis Valdez is best known for his landmark 1979 play Zoot Suit - the first Latino-authored play to appear on Broadway - and is the founder of the internationally renowned and Obie-award winning company El Teatro Campesino, the longest-running community theatre extant in the United States. Valdez’s work on stage, television, and film has been honoured nationally and internationally.

Michael M. Chemers is Professor of Dramatic Literature at the University of California Santa Cruz.