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Playwright Alfonso Sastre, author of radical political commitment, dies

2021-09-17T13:02:50.018Z

Essayist and film scriptwriter, National Theater Award winner, has died at the age of 95 at his home in Hondarribia



The Madrid playwright Alfonso Sastre has died this Friday at the age of 95 in the Guipuzcoan town of Hondarribia, the political party Abotsanitz, from Hondarribia, has confirmed to this newspaper, which through a spokesperson has added that the death occurred at his home from this Gipuzkoan town, "of natural death and surrounded by his relatives." Sastre was awarded the National Theater Award for

La taberna

fantástica

(1985) and Dramatic Literature for

Jenofa Juncal

. In 2003 he was awarded the Max Honor Award for his contribution to theatrical creation. Essayist, film scriptwriter and with a remarkable poetic and narrative production, he also wrote tales of terror, which he compiled in the book

Las nights lúgubres.

On a more personal level, his political commitment stands out, especially in criticizing Francoism, and from the aftermath of the dictatorship until his death, the support for the Basque radical left.

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Sastre was born in 1926 into a modest family, in which his father was a stage actor. Child of war, who suffered bombings and famine in Madrid, began his work in the theater at a very young age, in the 1940s. In 1945 he founded the ephemeral group Arte Nuevo, the embryo of a group of Spanish royalist playwrights very critical of the country's situation, who suffered the rigors of Franco's censorship and whose work was scarce and poorly represented until the arrival of democracy. After his first montages, some banned by the Franco regime, he accentuated his Marxist positions. After finishing his studies in Philosophy and Letters, he released his first work with some success,

Squad towards death

. His revolutionary packaging theater continued with titles such as

The Gag

, a disguised criticism of the dictatorship;

Red Earth

and

The Blood of God

.

Militant of the Communist Party of Spain (PCE), which he left in the early seventies, during the Franco regime he also starred in a sounded intellectual debate with the also playwright Antonio Buero Vallejo. At the end of the Civil War, the Spanish theater had lost its most important authors because they had either died or were in exile. While an innovative theater was represented on the European stages (Brecht, Ionesco, Beckett), the Spanish scene was invaded by a bourgeois theater or by the so-called humor theater (Jardiel Poncela, Miguel Mihura). In addition, censorship prevented the performance of works that represented a minimum attack against established moral values. Both Buero and Sastre rebelled against this trend and tried to reflect and denounce in their works the violence and social injustice of the postwar period.although each one in his own way: while Buero advocated a “possibilist” theater, that is to say, that without neglecting his political commitment it could be assimilated by society and tolerated by censorship, avoiding a direct attack on power, Sastre advocated a completely disruptive art and critical of the regime. This meant that Buero's works could reach theatrical stages to a greater extent, unlike Sastre's texts, which led to a deep confrontation.This meant that Buero's works could reach theatrical stages to a greater extent, unlike Sastre's texts, which led to a deep confrontation.This meant that Buero's works could reach theatrical stages to a greater extent, unlike Sastre's texts, which led to a deep confrontation.

In the sixties, Sastre started what he called “Penultimate Theater”, a series of titles among which the most recognized stands out,

La taberna fantástica

(1966), which, however, was not performed until 1985. Little by little his works began to be seen outside of Spain: Cuba, Italy, the United States and Russia, among other countries.

The accusation of his wife, Eva Forest, of having collaborated with the terrorist group ETA in an attack with 12 deaths led Sastre to jail between October 1974 and June 1975 for a cause that was finally dismissed.

It was not the first time that the playwright stepped on a cell.

In 1956 he had been arrested for participating in university demonstrations.

In 1977 he moved with Forest to Hondarribia, where he began his political support for the Basque radical left, with which he has run as a candidate in successive formations and acronyms to different elections.

However, it

was repeatedly overruled his candidacy for his ties to the formation

abertzale

Herri Batasuna.

In parallel, Sastre continued his theatrical activity until a few years ago.

His last title was

In the Dark Room: Eight Stories for a Horror Film,

by

2012.

After knowing the news of his death, the General Society of Authors and Editors (SGAE) has reported that it had approved, on March 25, to award Sastre his Medal of Honor, which the president of the entity, Antonio Onetti, on the occasion of the Max Awards for the Performing Arts.

Onetti has declared that “the Medal will be presented to him posthumously”.

Selected plays

Uranium 235

(1946).


Squad towards death

(1953).


The Gag

(1954).


The Raven

(1956).


The fantastic tavern

(1966).


Fantastic tragedy of the gypsy Celestina

1978.


Jenofa Juncal

(1983).


The new fence of Numancia

2002.

Source: elparis

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