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the Complete Review
the complete review - drama


La Chunga

Mario Vargas Llosa

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Title: La Chunga
Author: Mario Vargas Llosa
Genre: Drama
Written: 1986 (Eng. 1990)
Length: 59 pages
Original in: Spanish
Availability: in The Methuen Book of Latin American Plays - UK
in Kathie et l'Hippopotame - France
La Chunga - Deutschland
  • Spanish title: La Chunga
  • Translated by David Graham-Young
  • Also included in the collection Three Plays
  • Previously also translated as La Chunga by Joanne Pottlitzer, for the first English-language production in New York in 1986

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Our Assessment:

B+ : effective entertainment

See our review for fuller assessment.

The complete review's Review:

       The title-figure of La Chunga is "a tall, ageless woman" who runs a restaurant-bar. The play is set in 1945.
       Among the regulars of la Chunga's establishment are the so-called "superstuds", four men who come here to drink and play dice. The play begins with them at play -- and one of them asks a question that's clearly been on all their minds: "Are you never going to tell us what you did that night with Meche, Chunga ?"
       From there the scene slowly switches back to the night in question, as the men recall it. One of them, Josefino, showed up with Meche -- an attractive young woman who immediately makes a great impression on the otherwise imperturbable la Chunga.
       Josefino plays dice -- and loses. Desperate for 3000 sols to stay in the game he offers la Chunga Meche for the night in exchange for the money; she accepts.
       In the second act the scenes then play out what the superstuds imagine might have happened between Meche and Josefino. Vargas Llosa does a fine job of presenting the mix of fact and fantasy here, of what the characters want to believe, and what might be truth -- revealing, in the process, a great deal about all the characters.
       Neatly composed, La Chunga is a good piece of theatre, a small story creatively and convincingly recounted.

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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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