- In 1965, César Chávez began organizing Chicano farm workers in California (Mexicans and Mexican Americans). 1965 was also the beginning of Teatro Campesino (Chicano theatre), led by Luis Váldez. These two events were the beginning of Chicano political activism.
- Váldez organized workers and got them talking about their experiences. They began to act out scenes from the strikes, and Váldez crafted these scenes into more organized actos which dramatized events and inspired audiences to social action. The actos were based on personal experience and thus resonated with audiences.
- Váldez didn’t singlehandedly invent actos. They likely were inspired by carpas, a similar form of theatre that had previously existed in the US-Mexico border area. Acto participants would have been familiar with carpas’ forms and used them. Still, Váldez shaped the actos into something that was neither academic theatre nor carpa.
I think the format of this passage is fairly straightforward. However, it is also potentially boring if you have no interest in the Chicano movement, or in theatre. I also find that theatrical passages on the LSAT may be dull because you can’t see the theatre.
If you found this dull, then what I suggest is to focus on the structure. The structure is quite clear. I summarized it in the passage summaries above, but it can be made even shorter:
- Chávez helped launch the Chicano movement, but Váldez’s theatre was important too.
- Váldez organized actos, short plays based on strikers’ personal experience. These served to inspire social action.
- Actos were likely based on earlier carpa drama. So Váldez doesn’t deserve exclusive credit. But, Váldez’s artistic vision did make actos into something that were neither carpa nor academic theatre.
There’s not much there, fundamentally. If a question asks more about actos, you can read paragraph 2 in more detail. But the main thing is knowing what an acto is and where it was discussed.
The passage makes use of several distinctions:
- Chávez as the unique leader of Chicanos, vs. Chávez + Váldez as dual leaders
- Actos vs. carpas
- Váldez as artistic genius vs. Váldez as important artist who helped collectively make actos with other people.
You also should know a bit about Yolanda Broyles-Gonzáles. She thought that mainstream critics were wrong to focus on Váldez as the sole creator of actos. Three points to note:
- Mainstream critics focussed on Váldez (lines 40-43)
- Broyles-González believed that carpas influenced the workers who had seen them, and therefore carpas influenced actos.
- The author thinks Broyles-González was right (line 41, “rightly”)
- We don’t know what Broyles-González thinks about Váldez’s own influence. It’s only the author who says on lines 56-60 that Váldez was important. Maybe Broyles-González didn’t think so.
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