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date: 20 September 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines Virgilio Piñera’s Electra Garrigó, written in 1941 but staged in Cuba before and after the revolution led by Fidel Castro and Che Guevara. The play features Greek tragedy’s choral structure alongside distinctive Cuban elements: Aegisthus kills Agamemnon in a ritual that mimics a cockfight, Orestes poisons Clytemnestra with a papaya, and the chorus sing to the tune of the “Guantanamera.” I discuss the ways in which Piñera’s unique mixture of Cuban and classical unsettles the original Greek text, and the manner in which he challenged the notion and relevance of a “classic” for modern Cuban theater. Though reviled in its initial performance, Electra Garrigó, which depicts a young generation that engineers the death of its parents, was later upheld as a powerful symbol of the Revolution and consciously re-performed before foreign luminaries such as Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir as being emblematic of the transformed nation.

Keywords: Electra Garrigó, Simone de Beauvoir, Fidel Castro, Cuba, Cuban Revolution, Electra, Che Guevara, Virgilio Piñera, Jean-Paul Sartre

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