History of Western Theatre: 17th Century to Now/Latin American Pre-WWII

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Federico Gamboa[edit]

Mexican theatre starts the 20th century with a strong rural drama in "La venganza de la gleba" (The vengeance of the rabble, 1905) by Federico Gamboa (1864-1939).

"The vengeance of the rabble"[edit]

Time: 1900s. Place: Mexico.

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Florencio Sánchez[edit]

Florencio Sánchez described the financial ravages brought about by gambling habits on a family

Also of note in early 20th century Latin-American drama is "En familia" (In the family, 1905) by Florencio Sánchez (1875-1910), born in Uruguay, whose plays were first presented in Argentina. A provident son lies in despair when his improvident family attempts to eke out a miserable life.

"In the family"[edit]

Time: 1900s. Place: Buenos Aires, Argentina.

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The Ocuna family prepare to receive for dinner Damian, the eldest son, along with his wife, Delfina, but his mother, Mercedes, worries that they have no money to pay for it. Eduardo, her younger son, is no help, specifying he does not like work and is determined to live unashamedly as their parasite. She hopes her husband, Jorge, will arrive with money: vain hope! "I don't have a radish," he admits, having gambled it all away. She is forced to ask Damian to pay for his own dinner and, on the same occasion, exposes the true state of their finances. Damian admonishes his father for being so improvident. "One takes a pick to work the earth," he urges, but the father prefers to gamble than to work. In this desperate situation, Damian proposes to take charge of the entire family. He asks everyone to contribute except his father, but is not encouraged by what he sees. After asking his sister, Laura, to type a brochure for him and waiting for a reasonable amount of time, she admits she has not done it yet. He scolds her. "Here's the couch-grass in the salad!" she replies and wanders negligently off. One day, Delfina notices that her ring is missing. Eduardo reveals that his younger brother, Tomas, pawned it, but it is retrieved by the mother. After spending the night out, Jorge returns back home. When Mercedes asks him where he was, he answers he does not know, but needs money. Without her knowing about it, Damian asks his father to take out money from his bank account for the sake of a friend of his. Meanwhile, Laura orders an expensive dress for herself. When Damian learns of this, he says he cannot pay for it, but then changes his mind. On learning of the money transaction, Mercedes already weeps in fear that her husband has stolen it for gambling. All too true. Unable to pay, Damian tells his father he will call the police, at which Jorge leaves without a word. "O, Delfina, I want to cry, to yell with pain," says Damian. "Yes, cry, my poor Don Quixote!" his wife replies consolingly.