Griselda Gambaro Analysis

Other Literary Forms

(Critical Edition of Dramatic Literature)

Although Griselda Gambaro is known primarily for her plays, she has also written short stories and novels that have received literary prizes. A number of her most successful plays have been derived from prose pieces, including Las paredes (the walls), El desatino (the blunder), and The Camp, which were first short stories, while Nada que ver is related to the novel Nada que ver con otra historia (1972; nothing to do with another story).


(Critical Edition of Dramatic Literature)

Of the many successful Argentine dramatists, Griselda Gambaro is consistently named among the top playwrights of her country and of Latin America in general. Despite working within a confined sociopolitical context, she has been successful in creating a theatrical experience that relates to the particular problems of her country yet is couched in a universal theatrical idiom. In 1963 Gambaro received the Prize of the Argentine Fondo Nacional de las Artes for Madrigal en ciudad (1963; madrigal in the city) while her play Las paredes won the Premio de la Asociacion de Teatros and the Fondo Nacional de las Artes in 1964. In 1965 she was awarded the Premio Emece for her short story collection El desatino. She won the Argentores Prize from the Society of Argentinian Authors first in 1968 for The Camp and in 1976 for Sucede lo que pasa. The Camp also earned her awards from the Municipality of Buenos Aires, Talia magazine, and “Theatrical Broadcast News” of Municipal Radio of Buenos Aires. In 1982 she was granted a Guggenheim Fellowship.

Because her view of the human condition transcends national boundaries and her plays are richly textured in terms of theme and technique, Gambaro’s work has been the focus of an increasing number of articles and dissertations in the United States, Canada, and Europe. In general, her work may be characterized as having a contemporary sociopolitical message that is conveyed with intense visual images of compelling dramatic interest that work well onstage.


(Critical Edition of Dramatic Literature)

Cypress, Sandra Messinger. “Physical Imagery in the Plays of Griselda Gambaro,” Modern Drama 18, no. 4 (1975): 357-364. Explores the use of space and imagery of Gambaro’s plays.

Cypress, Sandra Messinger. “The Plays of Griselda Gambaro.” In Dramatists in Revolt: The New Latin American Theater, edited by George W. Woodyard and Leon F. Lyday. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1976. Examines political trends in theater as a “new” development in the 1970’s.

Foster, David William. “The Texture of Dramatic Action in the Plays of Griselda Gambaro.” Hispanic Journal 1, no. 2 (1979): 57-66. An exploration of the dramatic techniques of Gambaro.

Holzapfel, Tamara. “Griselda Gambaro’s Theatre of the Absurd.” Latin American Theatre Review 4, no. 1 (1970): 5-12. Discusses the techniques and themes used by Gambaro and common to the Theater of the Absurd movement.

Jehenson, Myriam Yvonne. “Staging Cultural Violence: Griselda Gambaro and Argentina’s ‘Dirty War.’” Mosaic: A Journal for the Interdisciplinary Study of Literature 32, no. 1 (March, 1999): 85-104. Examines Gambaro’s play Information for Foreigners and its link between politics and art, drawing parallels to the mechanisms of Argentina’s repressive regime in the 1970’s.

Magnarelli, Sharon. “Acting/Seeing Women: Griselda Gambaro’s El despojamiento.” In Latin American Women’s Writing: Feminist Readings in Theory and Crisis, edited by Anny Brooksbank Jones and Catherine Davies. New York: Clarendon Press, 1996. Focuses on Gambaro’s use of the theatrical element as a thematic thread in El despojamiento, itself an allegory for Argentina’s military regime.

Mendez-Faith, Teresa. “Sobre el uso y abuso de poder en la producción dramatica de Griselda Gambaro.” Revista Iberoamericana 51 (1985): 831-841. Explores Gambaro’s depictions of the use and abuse of power in her plays.

Reinelt, Janice, ed. Crucibles of Crisis: Performing Social Change. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1996. Essay by Diane Taylor uses Information for Foreigners to explore the intersection of theater and terror, examining especially the theater’s ability to prevent or conceal violence.

Witte, Ann. Guiding the Plot: Politics and Feminism in the Work of Women Playwrights from Spain and Argentina. New York: Peter Lang, 1996. Focuses on the theater in Argentina and Spain between 1960 to 1990, a period of important sociopolitical change in both countries. Examines the way in which playwrights can provide an oppositional stance to those in power and work within the confines of an oppressive environment.