A hundred-and-five years of Virgilio Piñera, l’enfant terrible of Cuban literature

The sound of seats slamming up, shuffling feet exiting the theatre mid-performance and cries of disgust and disapproval are not the reactions a playwright would normally expect at a premiere. Yet this was the public’s response to Electra Garrigó, a play by the then 36-year-old Virgilio Piñera first staged in 1948. The sacrilegious writer had spat in the face of mainstream Cuban theatre, which still displayed colonial stereotypes that stifled talent and invited intellectual laziness. Cuban modernism had been born.