The Department of Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Angela Marino as Assistant Professor. Marino, who joined the department in Spring 2011 as a Chancellor’s Post Doctoral Fellow in Latin American Theater and Performance, comes by way of New York University and as an organizer and activist in the arts.
Over the past several years, Marino has worked to bridge Latin American and Latino cultural arts and politics to public education and performance venues in the United States. She organized a performance arts festival in New Mexico in 1998, which led to a Fulbright Fellowship (1998–99) to study theater in Venezuela. She returned to New Mexico and produced another festival in 2000 before working briefly for a Latino literary magazine in the bay area, titled in Spanish El Andar, which translates roughly as “the walk,” or “by walking it.” In a sense, Marino continued this ‘andar’ by eventually joining an emerging field of Latino and Latin American performance studies. She received her MA in Latin American Studies at the University of New Mexico, and then her Ph.D. that she completed in both NYU’s Performance Studies at Tisch School of the Arts and the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at New York University, where she wrote her dissertation on performance and political movements in Latin America.
All along, she aspired to teaching at UC Berkeley. “Public education is extremely important to me and I feel grateful for the opportunity to work with the folks here at TDPS,” says Marino. “I got to know the department when I applied for graduate school and yet I was faced with a dilemma in that there were few people teaching specifically in my research area. The question I asked myself was, how do I go out and get the best training in my field possible in order to come back and offer something to the University? For me, it was an incredible path, to venture out and return to where I hoped to be.”
Marino brings a wealth of knowledge in Latin American theater, especially at the intersection of performance and politics in the Americas. Her work is focused on plays, dramatic literature and theater on stages in a more conventional sense, as well as the study of performance as a lens or mode of analysis with which to understand action and events of all kinds. “We can look at elections as performance, rallies and mass events, carnivals as forms of performance,” says Marino. “I’m especially interested in how events such as popular fiesta and carnival that are long-practiced and considered traditional or ritual, are also extraordinarily vital and relevant in the real-time political organization and decision-making process of groups and individuals.”
Her research and work is also relevant to local organizing, another reason working at UC Berkeley was so appealing to her. “Here in the Southwest of the United States, extended to the Bay Area, San Francisco, we are very much connected to the Americas,” she says. “Not only through language and the street names, our work as arts producers becomes so much more significant by being connected geographically and culturally to the Americas in terms of the power to claim multiple histories, alliances and frames of reference.”
While a Post Doctoral Fellow at UC Berkeley, Marino continued her research on Festive Devils of the Americas, “a comparative study of the figure of the devil in popular fiestas, religious manifestations and carnivals in the Americas,” and in Fall 2011, taught a course in TDPS on “Theater and Theories of Latin/o America.” “I was very impressed with the ability of students to reach out to theory, and theorize themselves,” says Marino, “As well as to be able to de-mystify in a sense what theory is, and yet reapply it with creativity and imagination.”
Marino begins her new position as Assistant Professor with a course on Latin/o American Theater subtitled “Theater of Apocalypse,” drawing on the popular myth of the Mayan calendar’s changing of an era in of the year 2012. The course will examine theater, ritual, and performance art from primarily Central America and the Caribbean with crossovers to popular US plays and a reading of the Mayan text of the Popul Vuh. “My focus initially will be to get to know the department and start to build a teatro/taller of Theater of the Americas,” says Marino, ”bringing together people who are interested in building a teatro project at Berkeley, and connecting with other departments on campus, other universities, and local organizations.”
Other future plans include working with students, faculty, staff and visiting artists in areas of politics and performance and otherwise supporting these strengths in the department in both scholarship and theater production.
We are thrilled to welcome Professor Marino to the department, and look forward to engaging with her on many exciting future projects.