Dusty's Reviews > El gesticulador

El gesticulador by Rodolfo Usigli
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Oct 02, 10

bookshelves: graduate-school, read-in-2010
Recommended to Dusty by: Jason Borge
Read in October, 2010, read count: 1

What is truth? What is identity? In this captivating play about a down-and-out professor who poses as the great Mexican Revolutionary hero César Rubio, recently reemerged from hiding, Usigli problematizes both of those concepts. Truth is what impostors, advertisers and politicians convince us it is. Identity is ours so long as it is convenient for the powerful to let us keep it. As one character points out to César, a hero's body belongs not to the hero -- but to his country. Written in the late 1930s, El Gesticulador took a decade to make it to the stage. Even then it was met with hostility. Not from audiences (who loved it) but from politicians (who probably saw too much of themselves in it and hired writers to publish scathing reviews). But the play has outlived the scandal and is one of Latin America's best. Usigli's a master.
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