"Interview de Mrs. Muerta Smith por sus fantasmas"

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Gomez-Arcos, Agustin (Spanish/French dramatist/novelist born in Almeria, Spain, 1933- )," Interview de Mrs. Muerta Smith por sus fantasmas,"

a farce in French, Spanish, and English set in a futuristic universe,

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© 1985, scripts/production rights for French and Spanish versions available from Agustin Gomez-Arcos, 36 bis, rue Lamarck 75018, Paris, France; productions rights for unpublished English translation of Interview de Mrs. Muerta Smith por sus fantasmas available from Sharon Feldman, Department. of Spanish and Portuguese, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS 66045. Cited to present author by Sharon Feldman via e-mail sfeldman@falcon.cc.ukans.edu April 14, 1996, and September 14, 1996; Feldman says,

Synopsis "'Interview de Mrs. Muerta Smith por sus fantasmas' is set in a futuristic universe of surreal invention and guignolesque caricature. Mrs. Muerta Smith, a resuscitated cadaver (and ex-American diplomat), disillusioned with how things have turned out on Earth, traverses the barriers of space and time as part of her quest for an interview with God. Her ultimate desire is to colonize the heavens and impose her authoritative (North American) system upon the celestial world. She is accompanied by two faithful companions: Boby, her talking dog and Doble Nick, blanco y negro, her gigolo. On her voyage, she discovers that both the celestial world and the underworld have been sold as material commodities to left-wing governments, and in the end, she has no other choice but to return to earth empty-handed.

Comment "Gomez-Arcos is winner of the Prix Hermes and twice a finalist for the Prix Goncourt. Written: Paris, 1972. Bilingual French/Spanish edition: Interview de Mrs Morte Smith par ses fantomes / Interview de Mrs. Muerta Smith por sus fantasmas. Trans. Rachel Salik. Arles: Actes-Sud, 1985. Spanish edition: Intro. Moises Prez Coterillo and Lola Santa-Cruz. Teatro 15. Madrid: El Publico/Centro de Documentacion Teatral, 1991. Staged in French: 1986-87 (Toulouse, Charleroi, and Paris) as Interview de Mrs Morte Smith par ses phantomes. Staged in Spanish: 22 February 1991 (Madrid). Unpublished English translation: "Mrs. Dead Smith's Interview with her Phantoms." Trans. Sharon G. Feldman, 1990.

"Two other one-acts by Agustin Gomez-Arcos that use more than four actors deserve mention in connection with 'Interview de Mrs. Muerta Smith por sus fantasmas.'

"'Adorado Alberto' is a one-act farce requiring two males and three females. This is an absurdist farce about oppression and transgression. Alberto is a cross-dressing cabaret performer who on holiday returns to his homeland (a place that bears a strong resemblance to Francoist Spain) following a six-year exile in France. Upon returning home, he finds himself at the center of a tug-of-war between his dead mother, his mother's sister Julia, and Julia's god-children, all of whom engage in a battle of wills with regard to his destiny. Against his aunt's wishes and with his dead mother's approval, Alberto decides to marry his male cousin Jose-Mari. Unpublished Spanish ts., Paris, fall, 1968. Staged in French: 1969, 1972 and 1973 (Paris) as 'Et si on aboyait?'

"'Pre'-papa' is a one-act farce requiring four females and two males. It is a short absurdist piece situated in the doctor's office of a science-fictive world in which the young couple John and Mary nervously await a diagnosis for John's mysterious malady. As the spectators witness the dialogue between John and Mary, they are also subjected to the sanctimonious judgments of Mademoiselle Adele, a devout Catholic who prays to God via telephone, as well as the scientific-philosophical discourse of an iconoclastic female Professor. The Professor informs John that he is pregnant and his wife consequently abandons him. The Professor then proposes that John exile himself to outer space in order to express himself freely and perpetuate a new race. His baby will be born in a completely unstructured universe, free of censorship and intolerance. Unpublished Spanish ts. Paris, fal1, 1968. Published in French ("Pre-papa"): Trans. Rachel Salik. L'Avant-Scene Theatre 434 (1969): 37-44. Later converted into Pre-papa ou Roman de fees (novel, Paris: Stock, 1979). Staged in French: 1969, 1972 and 1973 (Paris)."


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