Agustfn Gómez-Arcos's Los gatos is a powerful, chilling piece of theater, a sacrificial spectacle steeped in passion, violence, and death, which straddles the balustrade between the emotional intensity of a Lorcan tragedy and the grotesque hyperbolism and dark humor of Valle-lnclán's esperpentos. In 1965, a censored production of Los gatos, directed by Juan de Prat-Gay, premiered to a somewhat lukewarm reception at Madrid's Teatro Marquina. Then, in November 1992, nearly thirty years after its original première, director Carme Portaceli resuscitated and restaged this post-Civil-War allegory for a new generation of theatergoers. For this new production, which premiered at Madrid's Teatro María Guerrero (Centro Dramático Nacional) during the Festival de Otoño, Portaceli incorporated into her mise en scène an intriguingly apropos transvestic twist by casting two male actors, Héctor Alterio of Argentina and Paco Casares of Spain, in the principal female roles of Pura and Angela. In this manner, she was able to underscore the notion of patriarchal authority that is curiously incarnated in the images of these two women. The two-week run at the Marfa Guerrero was so successful that the Ministry of Culture promptly selected Los gatos for a national tour of Spain, and in June 1993, Gómez-Arcos accompanied the cast and crew to Buenos Aires where he witnessed the play's Latin American première.

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 1995

Publisher Statement

Copyright © 1995 Estreno. This article first appeared in Estreno: Cuadernos del teatro español contemporáneo XXI, no. 1 (Spring 1995): 38-44.

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