Florencio Sánchez (SAHN-chays) was born in 1875, the first of eleven children of a middle-class family. His father’s political activities kept the family on the move and prevented the children from receiving much of a formal education. As a young man Sánchez worked as a secretary and in various jobs on newspapers. His first play was written for the entertainment of a club of political protesters to which he belonged. His second attempt was censored by city officials of Rosario, where he was a newspaper reporter, but when its performance was prevented, he worked all night setting it in type and had it ready for the public to read the next morning. He rewrote his first play as a musical comedy, Canillita, which takes its title from its newsboy hero. The success of the play put that word into the Argentine language as a nickname for all newsboys.
In 1903 Sánchez wrote his first important play, My Son, the Lawyer. During the six years following the success of this tragedy he produced a total of twenty plays, eight long dramas and twelve one-act sketches. He wrote rapidly, often on telegraph blanks, and did his best work in noisy bars and in crowds. He reportedly declared that he needed only one day to complete the four-act The Foreign Girl, called by one critic “the tragedy of the Argentine race.” Critics have pointed out certain technical flaws, but the emotions of the play and the realistic pictures of people and life on...
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