Tragedy and Delirium in Montevideo: The Theater of Copi

Stefano Casi


In his comic plays, French-Argentine playwright Copi (1939-1987) faces tragedy. References and forms from tragedy are plunged in humor and camp, within a framework characterized by the most extreme relativism – life and death coincide and every character (often transgender character) affirms and denies his/her identity. Copi's “heroes” show a lack of will, that leads their titanic efforts to become losers and they break into stalemate or ridiculous results. His plays are “circus” and “tragedy”, as protagonist of Cachafaz (1981) says. In Cachafaz, defined by the author “barbarian tragedy”, the tradition of Argentine gauchesco combines with a bloody and supernatural concept of tragedy, recalling Macbeth and The Bacchae. The language of the humorous and camp comedy is the basis for the reconstruction of a new tragic language, and the whole theatrical corpus of Copi doesn’t appear as parody or desecration, but as a “reactivation” of tragedy in the century of its “death” (Steiner).


Copi; Tragedy; Humor; Comedy; Camp

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