Realism in Contemporary Afro-Hispanic Drama
Contemporary Afro-Hispanic drama offers a breadth of images that at first might be judged unrelated. 1 Take, for instance, the Afro-Uruguayan families evicted from their homes in Jorge Emilio Cardoso’s El desalojo en la calle de los negros (The Eviction on the Street of the Black People, 1992); the Costa Rican mestizo of humble origins trying to scale the social ladder while confronting a greedy oligarch in Quince Duncan’s El trepasolo (The Lone Climber, 1993); 2 or the Equatorial Guinean people trying to sort out the capricious rules imposed by a dictatorial regime in Juan Tomas Avila Laurel’s Los hombres domésticos (Homeboys, 1992).3 When seen together, such images provide a thematic spectrum that cuts across discourses of identity, geographic locations, and specific local circumstances. Yet, these dramas engage in a specific mode of analytical poetics that are rooted in the oral and written traditions of the African diaspora and that convey a twofold message of solidarity and solutions to problems. Through the examination of the above-mentioned plays, I submit that Afro-Hispanic drama published during and after the 1990s conveys a highly analytical form of realist depiction. While this realism is in alignment with previous models of aesthetic representation put forward by Hispanic intellectuals of African descent, contemporary Afro-Hispanic realist drama is also characterized by transethnic and transnational outlooks, that is, by a cosmopolitan perspective that corresponds to the globalized context in which these works were produced.
This is a manuscript of a chapter from Black Writing, Culture, and the State in Latin America, Jerome Branche (ed.) University of Vanderbilt Press, 2015. 83-102. Posted with permission.