Frank Dauster (review date September 1960)
SOURCE: "New Plays by René Marqués," in Hispania, Vol. XLIII, No. 3, September, 1960, pp. 451-52.
[In the following review, Dauster provides a concise evaluation of La muerte no entrará en palacio, Un niño azul para esa sombra, and Los soles truncos.]
Under the title Teatro, José Luis González' Ediciones Arrecife has just published three plays by the distinguished Puerto Rican playwright, best known as author of La carreta. The plays included are La muerte no entrará en palacio, Un niño azul para esa sombra (Premio del Certamen de Teatro de 1958 del Ateneo Puertorriqueño) and Los soles truncos (included in the volume Teatro puertorriqueño published by the Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña to commemorate its Primer Festival de Teatro Puertorriqueño). All three are complex works representing the author's concern for the loss of traditional values, and Los soles truncos, particularly requires several readings before its various levels of meaning are fully apparent. All three plays make heavy demands on the actors and full use of music and lighting effects, as well as complex staging. The measure of Marqués' skill is his ability to use all these resources without falling into sheer stage trickery and effect.
La muerte no entrará en palacio is an attack on demagoguery, with obvious reference to political situations in Puerto Rico; its first act is strongest, while the second tends toward heavier emphasis on the political and less on the highly interesting personal relationships developed earlier. Los soles truncos is a symbolic drama of the clash between the heritage of the past and the realities of the present; it is a technical tour de force which does not lose sight of the individuals involved. For this writer, the best of the three is Un niño azul para esa sombra, a drama of a child caught in the struggle between dream and reality. Probably Marqués' best play, it is one of the best in Latin America.