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In the fields of Delano, California, in 1965, Luis Valdez started the

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In the fields of Delano, California, in 1965, Luis Valdez started the  [#permalink]

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1993 10 SECTION B 21-27

In the fields of Delano, California, in 1965, Luis Valdez started the Teatro Campesino (Farmworker’s Theater), and with it initiated the renaissance of Mexican American theater. The Teatro Campesino had an avowedly political purpose: to rally campesinos (farmworkers) in support of the farm workers’ strike then being organized by Cesar Chavez. Valdez’ dramatic presentations, called actos, spoke to a campesino audience and addressed topics and themes directly related to the strike. Valdez’ early actos were composed of a series of scenes about the strike experience acted by campesino volunteers. His later actos were presented by a newly constituted professional company, still called the Teatro Campesino, and addressed such themes as the impact of the Vietnam War on Mexican Americans and the dangers of assimilation, themes relevant to urban Mexican Americans as well as to campesinos. All Valdez’ actos contained elements of song and dance, relied little on stage effects or props, and featured the use of masks. These dramatic elements, along with an intensely social or political purpose and the use of a mixture of Spanish, English, and Mexican American dialects in the dialogues, which realistically capture the flavor of Mexican American conversation, are still characteristic both of the acto and of most other forms of Mexican American theater today.

Innovative as it is, the acto owes much to the theater traditions of other periods and regions. Like early Spanish American religious dramas, secular folk dramas, and the Mexican carpas of a somewhat later period, actos are usually performed outdoors by traveling groups of players or by local theater groups. The improvised comic satire of the actos is often attributed to Valdez’ study of the Italian commedia dell’ arte of the sixteenth century, although some critics see it as a direct reflection of the comic and improvisational qualities of the more contemporary and local carpas of Mexican theater. The Italian influence is likely, whatever Valdez immediate source: the Mexican carpas themselves are said to have originated from the theater pieces of a sixteenth-century Spanish writer inspired by encounters with Italian commedia dell’ arte troupes on tour in Spain. The English-language theater has provided elements as well: Valdez himself has acknowledged his debt to the agitprop socialist theater that appeared in the United States during the 1920’s and 1930’s. In particular, his actos contain the same assortment of semiallegorical characters and the same blend of music, chorus, and dialogue found in some of the agitprop pieces, as well as the same fierce spirit of social and political critique. Finally, many of Valdez’ later theater pieces freely incorporate characters, plots and symbols drawn from the indigenous myths and rituals of the pre-Hispanic peoples of Latin America. In fact, no other art form illustrates more clearly the depth and complexity of the Mexican American heritage itself than does the acto of Luis Valdez and the Teatro Campesino.


1. ​​According to the passage, the original impetus behind the establishment of the Teatro Campesino was which of the following?

(A) To help urban Mexican Americans understand the problems confronting striking campesinos in California
(B) To promote an attitude of pride in the depth and richness of the Mexican American heritage among striking campesinos
(C) To provide striking campesinos an opportunity to use their creative talents to express their political opinions
(D) To allow its founder to express his personal support of the campesinos’ strike effort
(E) To mobilize campesinos to support the farm workers’ strike in California


2. The author cites all of the following as probable influences on Valdez’ development of the acto EXCEPT the

(A) theater of sixteenth-century Italy
(B) carpas of Mexico
(C) drama of classical Greece
(D) English-language theater of the United States
(E) myths and rituals of pre-Hispanic America


3. The passage suggests that which of the following was true of the later actos of the Teatro Campesino?

(A) They were more politically effective than were earlier actos.
(B) They were presented primarily outdoors, whereas earlier actos were presented inside theaters.
(C) They used a greater mixture of dialects than did the earlier actos.
(D) They addressed a broader audience than did the earlier actos.
(E) They differed from earlier actos in that they contained fewer improvisational elements.


4. ​​Which of the following best describes the author’s evaluation of the views of the critics cited in lines 36-39?

(A) Their views, if correct, do not preclude the existence of an Italian influence on the acto.
(B) Their views are unlikely to be correct, given the differences existing between Mexican and Mexican American theater.
(C) Their views concerning the Mexican carpas are essentially correct, but they lack familiarity with the acto.
(D) Their views are probably more correct than the views of those who have attributed the comic and improvisational elements of the acto to earlier sources.
(E) Their views betray a lack of familiarity with the commedia dell’ arte.


5. ​The passage suggests that which of the following explains the characteristic use of a mixture of Spanish, English, and Mexican American dialects in the works of Mexican American playwrights?

(A) Mexican American playwrights wish to include in their works elements drawn from the traditions and history of pre-Hispanic America.
(B) Mexican American playwrights try to guarantee that their works are fully understood by the broadest possible audience, including those who may speak only one language.
(C) Such a linguistic mix faithfully reflects the linguistic diversity of Mexican American culture, and is easily understood by most Mexican Americans.
(D) Many Mexican American playwrights are quite familiar with both the Spanish-language and the English-language theater traditions.
(E) Many different languages are still spoken within the confines of the United States, although English is still the most common first language of its citizens.


6. ​​According to the passage, which of the following elements characteristic of the acto are also found in some agitprop theater pieces?

(A) The use of masks
(B) Comic improvisation
(C) An outdoor setting
(D) Minimal use of complex stage effects or props
(E) An assortment of semiallegorical characters


7. Which of the following, if true, most strengthens the author’s argument concerning the debt of the acto to the theater traditions of other periods and regions?

(A) Many popular forms of theater rely heavily on improvisation.
(B) Plays resembling the acto in structure were written in the 1970’s by West African playwrights who are interested in dramatizing the richness of their own cultures.
(C) The use of masks has, at one time or another, been characteristic of the theater traditions of almost all cultures, even those most isolated from outside influences.
(D) During a strike, it is common for union members to present musical skits dramatizing the values of solidarity and resistance.
(E) Before 1965 Luis Valdez had attended many performances of traditional Mexican theater groups touring the western United States.


Originally posted by pathy on 17 Jan 2020, 20:00.
Last edited by pathy on 19 Jan 2020, 00:20, edited 3 times in total.
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In the fields of Delano, California, in 1965, Luis Valdez started the   [#permalink] 17 Jan 2020, 20:00
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In the fields of Delano, California, in 1965, Luis Valdez started the

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