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the Complete Review
the complete review - drama


Three Plays

Mario Vargas Llosa

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Title: Three Plays
Author: Mario Vargas Llosa
Genre: Drama
Written: (1986) (Eng. 1990)
Length: 217 pages
Original in: Spanish
Availability: Three Plays is currently out of print

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Our Assessment:

B : fine collection, interesting pieces

See our review for fuller assessment.

The complete review's Review:

       Three Plays contains three plays Vargas Llosa wrote in the 1980s: La Chunga, Kathie and the Hippopotamus, and The Young Lady from Tacna. In addition, each play is prefaced by an introduction by the author.
       The plays are similar in that the creative act is central, whether there are characters who are actually writing a story or book (as in both Kathie and the Hippopotamus and The Young Lady from Tacna) or merely in the very private imaginings of La Chunga. As Vargas Llosa puts it:

I have tried (...) to convey through dramatic fiction the totality of human experience: actions and dreams, deeds and fantasies.
       Imagination is central. Creation -- writing -- is the most obvious manifestation, but not the only one. Memory, especially, is significant -- and here it is the reshaping of memory that comes with the act of remembering that Vargas Llosa is particularly effective at conveying. So, for example, in The Young Lady from Tacna part of the set is Belisario's grandparents' house, and Vargas Llosa insists:
The set should not be realistic. It is as Belisario remembers it. It is a figment of his imagination and so objects and characters should take on a reality separate from their real-life counterparts.
       This is true, in various ways, in all three plays. Impressive, too, is how Vargas Llosa experiments with different approaches to presenting this.
       Vargas Llosa writes:
The role of the theatre -- of fiction in general -- is to create illusions, to deceive.
       These plays explore different ways of doing so, and also the uses of doing so. The short introductions usefully complement the plays, though they are more general explanations of Vargas Llosa's approach in writing; certainly, the introductions make worthwhile reading on their own.

       Vargas Llosa is a fine storyteller, and these short, closed pieces, largely concentrating on a limited number of episodes, allow him to tell his stories in yet more different ways. He shows a very good sense for the stage, and it is hard to believe that these are among his first (and only) dramas. Certainly of interest.

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Mario Vargas Llosa: Other works by Mario Vargas Llosa under review: Other books of interest under review:

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About the Author:

       Peruvian author Mario Vargas Llosa was born in 1936 and was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2010. He has written many works of fiction and non-fiction, and has run for the Presidency of Peru.

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