Carballido, Emilio (1925–)

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Carballido, Emilio (1925–)

Emilio Carballido (b. 22 May 1925), Mexican playwright. Carballido, a native of Córdoba, Veracruz, has been at the center of the Mexican theater since the 1950s. A prolific playwright with nearly 100 plays published and performed, he has set the standard of quality and originality in the contemporary theater while championing a younger generation of writers. Imbued with boundless energy, enthusiasm, and a superb sense of humor, Carballido is identified primarily with the theater, although he also has written several stories, novels, and movie scripts. His creative spirit has led him to experiment with virtually all forms of theater, including farce, children's theater, allegory, opera, and monologue, as he plays constantly with elements of tragedy, comedy, folklore, classical myth, satire, and politics.

Beginning with his earliest play in 1948, Carballido has mixed realism and fantasy in innovative ways, building a pattern of experimentation in his search for ways to express a Mexican reality deeply rooted in tradition. His provincial plays, such as Rosalba y los Llaveros (1950) and La danza que sueña la tortuga (1955), were surpassed by daring experiments with magic and symbolic figures such as those in La hebra de oro (1956). His farces, such as ¡Silencio, pollos pelones, ya les van a echar su maíz! (1963), are entertaining and provocative. In 1966 Yo también hablo de la rosa, a dramatization of the creative process built around the metaphor of the rose and the infinite ways of perceiving reality, became a classic of the Mexican theater. Carballido continued his experimentation with plays such as Tiempo de ladrones: La historia de Chucho el Roto (1984) which glorifies a Mexican-style Robin Hood in a complex play written for two settings (dos tandas). His Rosa de dos aromas (1987) has been particularly popular for its portrayal of two women "married" to the same man.

In addition to his numerous plays Carballido received the Ariel de Oro for his grand career in film, most notably Nazarín (2002) which was produced in collaboration with Luis Buñuel. In addition, Caraballido was awarded the Premio Nacional de Literatura (1996) in Mexico. Carballido has set the standards, then broken them, throughout his long and productive career.

See alsoTheater .


Margaret S. Peden, Emilio Carballido (1980).

Jacqueline Eyring Bixler, "A Theatre of Contradictions: The Recent Works of Emilio Carballido," Latin American Theatre Review 18, no. 2 (1985): 57-65.

Judith Ishmael Bissett, "Visualizing Carballido's Orinoco: The Play in Two Imagined Performances," Gestos 5, no. 9 (April 1990): 65-74.

Diana Taylor, "Theatre and Transculturation: Emilio Carballido," in Theatre of Crisis: Drama and Politics in Latin America (1991).

Additional Bibliography

Bixler, Jacqueline Eyring. Convention and Transgression in the Theater of Emilio Carballido. Lewisberg: Bucknell University Press, 1997.

Coria-Sánchez, Carlos. Visiones: Perspectivas literarias de la realidad social hispana. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2002.

Gordon, Samuel. Teatro mexicano reciente: Aproximaciones críticas. El Paso: University of Texas, 2005.

                                     George Woodyard