Exchange in Performance: A study of Intercultural collaborations between Mexico City and Quebec

Martha Herrara-Lasso Gonzalez
Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies
UC Berkeley

How is North America imagined, embodied and enacted? How do intercultural exchanges push against homogenizing regional imaginings? This dissertation extends a hemispheric conceit by focusing on how artistic collaborations have operated between Mexico and Canada. The project studies Mexico City-Quebec theater collaborations since the 1980s, that today amount to a series of partnerships through festivals, translations, development workshops and a significant presence of Quebecois texts on Mexico City stages. The project explores what makes this relationship a productive space for collaboration by studying how a linguistic and cultural closeness situates itself within the broader, regional material conditions of international relations. The specific histories and contrasting positionalities of these two provinces – Mexico City as the axis of a centralized country and Quebec’s separatist history within Canada – determine their forms of collaboration, and expose how relationships between core and periphery fluctuate in these transnational exchanges. The project employs a translation-oriented approach to reveal the implications of paraphrasing and referencing meaning in another context, and new configurations of knowledge and aesthetic languages produced through intercultural exchange. The project explores how regional imaginaries are enacted and considers what theatre and its translations may reveal about the politics of international and intercultural exchange.