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An Advil for Your Sorrows: Humor, Care, and Critical Inquiry in the Teatro Alebrijes Pastorelas.

March 29 @ 12:00 pm - 1:15 pm

Fellow seminar with Javier Hurtado, CHAT Dissertation Fellow and PhD Candidate in Theatre, Dance and Performance Studies.

This talk is both in-person and on Zoom. If you would like to attend via Zoom, please register here: https://bit.ly/advilforsorrows.

About the Talk: 

In California, the COVID-19 pandemic and its subsequent lockdowns disproportionately impacted Latinx communities who performed much of the state’s “essential work” required to keep communities functional. Like most of the performing arts, theaters across the globe went dark. One of the companies affected during the pandemic and that ceased production was Teatro Alebrijes, a Latinx theater company based in San Jose, California. Founded in 2011, this company is known locally for its pastorelas, a Catholic pageant play that they radically transformed into a queer Latinx Christmas tradition. Part of a legacy of using performance in San Jose as social activism, Alebrijes’ approach to theater-making operates as a strategy for community advocacy and public health initiatives. Building from ethnographic field research conducted between 2017 and 2022, this talk highlights how Teatro Alebrijes actively contributes to the legacy of theater as a community good. Using interviews and theorizing from my own participation in their 2021 pastorela, I experienced how Teatro Alebrieje’s rehearsal and performance spaces transformed into sites of care and critical inquiry for performers and audiences through laughter. Relying on humor studies and phenomenology, I argue that Teatro Alebrijes reorients bodies, histories, and communities through laughter and joy. Challenging current theatre scholarship, Teatro Alebrijes reveals that amateur theatre and liturgical adaptation are generative sites of inquiry and knowledge production that, remarkably, remain understudied in Latinx Theatre Studies.

Javier Hurtado is a playwright, director, researcher, and educator. In addition to teaching at Tufts, Javier has held teaching appointments at Emerson College and MIT. Javier is a scholar of contemporary Latinx performance specializing in adaptations and ensemble-based performance. Before pursuing a Ph.D., Javier earned an MFA in Writing for Performance from the University of California, Riverside. Javier’s plays and other performance work have been developed and produced across the US. Javier also supports the creation of new plays by Latinx writers as the founder of the Primera Paginas Playwrighting Workshop. At Tufts, Javier is a Center for Humanities Dissertation Fellow working toward a Ph.D. in Theater and Performance Studies.


March 29
12:00 pm - 1:15 pm


Center for the Humanities


Fung House
48 Professors Row
Medford, MA 02155 United States
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