Historical context and cubanía in the drama of Abelardo Estorino
Goldstein, Joseph William
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Through this study, I present the first thorough and comprehensive analysis of contemporary Cuban playwright Abelardo Estorino’s published works. Although the author is now widely recognized as one of the most important Cuban dramatists of the twentieth century, I assert that it is only within the last few years that his plays have begun to receive the amount of critical attention they merit. In my analysis, I consider a wide range of topics in Estorino’s drama, which is almost entirely concerned with specifically national issues. However, I pay special attention to totalitarian government, machismo, and race, which are three predominant themes in his plays. I demonstrate that these matters are either addressed in an immediate contemporary context, or set within a remote or partially imaginary temporal frame. I also show how the playwright has sought to develop an ideological dialogue with his audience, according to which the author’s personal vision of Cubanness, or cubanía, is emphasized. Owing to the many and rapid changes that have taken place on the island since the advent of the revolution, I fully consider the historical context in which Estorino’s plays were first presented—or were meant to be presented—to the public, and in this way I demonstrate the common audience concerns to which such works were meant to allude. Likewise, I take into account the historical settings of the plays themselves, and in this way I discover the ideological intent which underlies the implicit comparison in Estorino’s drama between past national realities and present-day ones.