Performing Institutions: Trials as Part of the Canon of Theatrical Traditions

  • Rocío Zamora-Sauma (University of Costa Rica)


In this article, I confront distinctions between fiction and reality in the Ixil Trial in Guatemala (2013), considering the relationship between theater, justice, and law. To this end, I argue that there is a parasitic relationship between theater and the law. Although theater has influenced the mechanisms of the judicial or accusatorial system in the twentieth century, trials, in themselves, constitute theatrical forms. Transitional justice, which limits my approach to a broad spectrum of judicial rituals, has shaped its very own canon. I argue that it is through an analysis of the theatrical elements of these trials that it is possible to unpack the distinctions between law and justice.

Keywords: theater, law, justice, actor, Ixil Trial

How to Cite:

Zamora-Sauma, R., (2023) “Performing Institutions: Trials as Part of the Canon of Theatrical Traditions”, Documenta 41(2): 9, 229-253. doi:

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Published on
20 Dec 2023
Peer Reviewed