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The Lazarus Effect: El SIDA/AIDS and Belated Mourning in Puerto Rican Theatre

  • Alberto Sandoval-Sánchez
Chapter

Abstract

AIDS plays have made a comeback on Broadway with the recent opening of revivals like The Normal Heart and Falsettos. This testimonio questions the politics of nostalgia on Broadway now that the AIDS crisis is assumed to have ended. The author introduces the term ‘NostalgiAIDS’ to apply to the recycling of plays showcasing gay White men’s experiences of AIDS. In order to contrast the hegemony of the Anglo American narrative and drama of AIDS, the focus shifts to Puerto Rican theatre. He presents a close reading of Luis Negrón’s musical El Jardín, which was the first Puerto Rican theatrical production, although three decades late, staging the gay master narrative of AIDS. Such a time lag brings with it the predicament of belated mourning. To approach and understand the physical corporealisation and visual embodiment of AIDS within the Puerto Rican cultural imaginary further, the author introduces ‘The Lazarus Effect’ concept. The figure of the Saint in the musical plays a major cultural trope framing people with AIDS as Saint Lazarus coming back from the dead and/or surviving precariously as the undead.

Notes

Acknowledgements

I am not alone. I am thankful to friends, contacts and colleagues who helped with my research: Moisés Agosto, Luis Aponte-Parés, Max Chárriez, Eileen Collins, Jane Crosthwaite, Carole De Santi, Luis Felipe Díaz/Lizza Fernanda, Joaquín Octavio Gónzalez Ríos, Bibi Hayakawa, Arnaldo López, Rosa Luisa Márquez, Lydia Pérez, Roberto Alexander Pérez, Rafael Rojas, and Waleska Santiago. My cousins for their support, Laurita, Keco, and Matías. To Mami who always worries about my health. To Hallie Twiss for her careful reading. To Luis Negrón for providing me all the materials and for finding time for my phone calls. And to Alyson Campbell and Dirk Gindt for inviting me to participate in this project and for their paciencia.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alberto Sandoval-Sánchez
    • 1
  1. 1.Mount Holyoke CollegeSouth HadleyUSA

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