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Sánchez, Florencio (1875–1910)

Sánchez, Florencio (1875–1910)

Florencio Sánchez (b. 17 January 1875; d. 2 November 1910), Uruguayan playwright. Born in Montevideo and raised in the interior, Sánchez, one of eleven children, left high school to help support his family. He worked as a clerk, wrote theater reviews and articles for small-town newspapers, and acted in amateur plays. He fought with the caudillo Aparicio Saravia against President Juan Idiarte Borda, an experience that inspired his work El caudillaje criminal en Sudamérica (Criminal Caudillo Rule in South America [1914]). Disillusioned with traditional politics, Sánchez became interested in the anarchist movement; his earliest plays were presented in anarchist recreation centers.

Working for newspapers such as La República in Rosario, Argentina, Sánchez attained recognition with his muckraking play El canillita (The Newspaperboy), which was performed on 2 October 1904. He lost his job as a result of his anarchist activities. In ill health, he accepted a friend's invitation to spend time in the Argentine countryside. The sojourn inspired Sánchez's famous rural plays La gringa (The Immigrant Girl [1904]), M'hijo el dotor (My Son the Lawyer [1903]), and Barranca abajo (Down the Gully [1905]). He then moved to Buenos Aires, where he worked feverishly on a succession of plays and married, but he continued his bohemian life of much drinking and little sleep.

With a sharp ear for dialogue, Sánchez's plays depicted racial antagonism between the native criollos and the immigrants. A social activist, Sánchez used theater as a vehicle to educate the public about poverty and the plight of people in urban tenements. His play, Nuestros hijos (Our Children [1907]), influenced progressive legislation enacted in Uruguay. On the verge of bankruptcy and struggling with depression and tuberculosis, Sánchez received a grant from the Uruguayan government to survey Italian theater. He died in Milan shortly after his arrival.

See alsoAnarchism and Anarchosyndicalism; Theater.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Roberto Fernando Giusti, Florencio Sánchez: Su vida y su obra (1920).

Ruth Richardson, Florencio Sánchez and the Argentine Theater (1933).

Karl Eastman Shedd, Florencio Sánchez's Debt to Eugène Brieux (1936).

Fernando García Esteban, Vida de Florencio Sánchez: Con cartas inéditas del insigne dramaturgo (1939).

Florencio Sánchez, Representative Plays of Florencio Sánchez, translated by Willis Knapp Jones (1961).

Walter Rela, Florencio Sánchez: Persona y teatro (1967).

Vladimirio Muñoz, Florencio Sánchez: A Chronology, translated by Scott Jacobesen (1980).

Additional Bibliography

Castro, Griselda. Sainetes: Análisis de obras de Florencio Sánchez y Armando Discépolo. Montevideo: Editorial Técnica, 1988.

Detoca, Anastasia. Estética e ideología en el teatro de Florencio Sánchez. Montevideo: Ediciones del CEHU, 2003.

Pellettieri, Osvaldo, and Roger Mirza. Florencio Sánchez entre las dos orillas. Buenos Aires: Galerna, 1998.

Rosso, Ignacio. Anatomía de un genio: Florencio Sánchez. Montevideo: Ediciones de la Casa del Estudiante, 1988.

                            Georgette Magassy Dorn

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