Mexican Theater and Drama From the Conquest Through the Seventeenth Century

Author: Daniel Breining
The purpose of this annotated bibliography is to bring together under one title a diverse collection of works along with critical commentary that deal with the first centuries of colonial Mexican theater and drama. Shortly after the fall of the Aztec capital Tenochtitlán in 1521, the Spanish conquerors deemed it necessary to instruct the large indigenous populations and to quickly convert them to Catholicism. This task fell principally on the newly arrived religious orders, the first being the Franciscans who set foot in New Spain in 1523. Because of the linguistic barriers encountered by the clerics, there was a need to exemplify the Christian faith that did not rely so heavily on simple verbal instruction. Theater and dramatic performances proved to be the ideal format. The majority of the plays in this collection were written starting with the third decade of the sixteenth century and then concluding with pieces coming towards the end of the 1600s. Studies that center on these plays are mostly modern works stemming from the late 1800s and continue up to the publication of this bibliography. In addition to these dramatic works, the reader will find the more important and prevalent pre-Hispanic plays along with studies focusing on this native genre and the far reaching importance of theatrical performance to the Indian population of central Mexico prior to the arrival of the European. Along with native dramatic works propagating indigenous religious beliefs and the Christian plays of conversion, there are many ancillary studies that deal with performance practices and theatrical sites. One part of this category is the inclusion of works concerning the architectural properties of performance locales, and especially the open air chapel, which the early religious orders depended upon heavily and used extensively in central New Spain for conversional and didactic dramas. This annotated bibliography concludes with an extensive index allowing quick access to its contents further assisting the investigator in additional research.


“The material that this work offers as a bibliography comments on vice regal theater and makes available to those interested an orientation towards edited documental sources and up-to-date studies on theater of New Spain from this period . . . The publication of this type of specialized bibliography is not only a practical tool for the daily studies of humanistic investigation, but also provides a welcoming invitation to new generations of university researchers, allowing them to initiate and delve into those studies concerning this thrilling world of colonial Mexican drama.” – Professor Óscar Armando García, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México

Table of Contents

Foreword by Óscar Armando García
Works Concerning Sixteenth- and Seventeenth-Century Theater and Drama of New Spain