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Díaz, Jorge (1930–2007)

Díaz, Jorge (1930–2007)

Jorge Díaz (b. 1930, d. 13 March 2007) was born to Spanish parents in Rosario, Argentina, but raised in Chile. He graduated in architecture and first entered the theater as a scenographer. The Latin American playwright most closely associated with theater of the absurd, he achieved early success with El cepillo de dientes (1961), a two-character play that in language and structure epitomizes the clichés of contemporary life. Although his linguistic dexterity creates an illusion of vacuous and sterile relationships and the difficulties of authentic communication, his plays are underscored by a strong social and political reality. His early pieces played with language, time, music, humor, and the stultifying effects of bourgeois society.

In 1965 Díaz immigrated to Spain to escape the administrative responsibilities of ICTUS, a vanguard theater in Santiago. In Spain his plays became more aggressive, using mixed-media techniques to denounce greed and insensitivity, such as a massacre in a Brazilian favela and the ITT intervention in Chilean politics. After Franco's death in 1975 brought a new sense of freedom to the Spanish theater, Díaz began to experiment with two distinctly different styles, one focusing on the sociopolitical, the other more personal and intimate. He wrote about the archetypal qualities of sex and death, which he claimed was to write about life. Some plays were intended for a Madrid audience, others for Santiago. On two occasions Díaz has dramatized his compatriot, the Nobel laureate Pablo Neruda, most recently in Pablo Neruda viene volando (1991). In 2003 he published a collection of eight previously unpublished works, Antologia de la perplejidad. Among the many awards he won were the Premio Nacional de las Artes y la Comunicación y Audiovisuales (1993) and the Premio Antonio Buero Vallejo de Guadalajara (1992).

Díaz returned to Chile in 1994, where he continued to write and paint for the remainder of his life. Díaz's trenchant style and playful language earned him the epithet of "absurdist" writer, but he sought only to express his view of contemporary human existence. Díaz was also a prolific writer of theater for children.

See alsoFavela; Neruda, Pablo; Theater.


Teodosio Fernández, "Jorge Díaz," in El teatro chileno contemporáneo (1941–1973) (1982), pp. 153-67.

Tamara Holzapfel, "Jorge Díaz y la dinámica del absurdo teatral," in Estreno 9, no. 2 (1983): 32-35.

George Woodyard, "Jorge Díaz and the Liturgy of Violence," in Dramatists in Revolt: The New Latin American Theater, edited by Leon F. Lyday and George W. Woodyard (1976), pp. 59-76.

Additional Bibliography

Bauer, Oksana M. "Jorge Diaz: Evolución de un teatro ecléctico." Ph.D. diss., City University of New York, 1999.

Díaz, Jorge, and Eduardo Guerrero del Río. Jorge Díaz: Un pez entre dos aguas. Santiago: Universidad Finis Terrae, RiL Editores, 2000.

                                      George Woodyard

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