Friday, April 6, 2012

Alfonso Sastre

Alfonso Sastre (born February 20, 1926 in Madrid) is a Spanish playwright, essayist, and critic associated with the Generation of '36 movement. He was an outspoken critic of censorship during the reign of General Francisco Franco. His most noteworthy plays include Death Squad (1953), The Gag (1954), Death Thrust (1960), and Tragicomedy of the Gypsy Celestina (1984).
Alfonso Sastre was born into a typical middle-class family. He had three siblings (Aurora, Ana and Jose), and received a Catholic upbringing. He survived hunger and bombing during the Spanish Civil War and later received a degree from the Institute Cardinal Cisneros of Madrid. In 1943 he began a career as an aeronautical engineer, which he abandoned after fifteen days. By the end of the 1940s, he began producing existentialist works, either alone or with others in the "New Art" movement.
Nora Cortinas, Eva Forest, Alfonso Sastre, Abel Prieto, Stella Calloni 2006
In 1950 he signed, along with Jose M. de Quinto, the Theater of Social Agitation Manifesto (TAS), and vehemently defended, through books and newspapers, the use of theater as a means of social agitation. In 1953 he completed his studies and had his first success in the theater, Escuadra Hacia la Muerte, roughly translated as Death Squad. It premiered on March 18, 1953, and was performed by the University Popular Theater (TPU). The play took place during the Third World War and dealt with a squad of five soldiers and their corporal, sent on a suicide mission as punishment for past transgressions. The play was censored by Franco's regime after its third performance. 
On September 17, 1954, the play La Mordaza (The Gag) premiered, dealing with themes of dictatorship and repression. That same year he wrote the revolutionary drama Tierra Roja (Red Earth), which was never allowed to be presented as it dealt with the subject of exploitation. Sastre continued to write plays such as La Sangre de Dios, Ana Kleiber (The Blood of God, Ana Kleiber) and Guillermo Tell tiene los ojos tristes (William Tell Has Sad Eyes) in 1955. In 1959 he wrote En la red (In the Net) and La Cornada (The Thrust). In 1990 he wrote ¿Dónde estás, Ulalume, dónde estás 

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