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Dramatic Technique in Usigli's El Gesticulador

  • D. L. Shaw

In writing El gesticulador, which marks the opening of the modern theatre in Mexico where it was first performed in 1947, Rodolfo Usigli (b. 1905) faced a number of problems, so that the play's technique represents a compromise between conflicting aims. The predominant aspect of the work is the expression of political protest and criticism; the plot hinges on the election of a new governor for a northern Mexican state. But Usigli described the drama in the year it was performed as the first serious attempt at tragedy in the modern Mexican theatre.

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1. Apart from its publication in Usigli's Teatro completo, Mexico, 1963, vol. 1, pp. 803–92, the handiest edition of El gesticulador is the one edited by Bollinger, R. E., Harrap, London, 1965. To my knowledge there is no English or French translation, but the play was translated into Italian in 1966. See Scott, W. P., ‘Towards an Usigli Bibliography (1931–71)’, Latin American Theatre Review, 6/1 (Fall), 1972, 5363.

2. See ‘Doce palabras’ in the 1947 edition of the play (Mexico, editorial Stylo), p. 241 and Savage, R. Vance, ‘Rudolfo Usigli's Idea of Mexican Theatre’, Latin American Theatre Review, 4/2 (Spring), 1971, 1320.

3. All quotations from El gesticulador axe my own translations.

4. See e.g. Dowling, J.. ‘The Mexico City Theatre, 1969’, Latin American Theatre Review, 3/2 (Spring), 1970, 5566, esp. pp. 61–2.

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Theatre Research International
  • ISSN: 0307-8833
  • EISSN: 1474-0672
  • URL: /core/journals/theatre-research-international
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