Alfonso Paso

Alfonso Paso (12 September 1926 – 10 July 1978) was a Spanish dramatist. He wrote over a hundred plays, mainly light comedies, sometimes laced with black humour and tragedy. There were also police dramas and examples of what he called "social theatre". He was known for the well crafted complexity of his plots and for the originality of his situations and characters.[1][2]


Alfonso Paso Gil was born into a "theatre dynasty" in Madrid. His father was the Zarzuela playwright and librettist Antonio Paso y Cano [es] (1878–1950). His mother was the actress Juana Gil.[3]

Early on he abandoned a career as an aeronautical engineer and turned to the study of Philosophy and Literature, graduating in 1952 and focusing on American History and Archeology. Later he studied Medicine and Psychiatry, then switching again, this time to journalism.[3] He would continue to work as a journalist until the mid-1970s. [4] He married Evangelina Jardiel, daughter of Enrique Jardiel Poncela (1901–1952). Their children included the actress Paloma Paso Jardiel [es].[5] Although he often worked as an actor, his more lasting notability results from his work as a writer.[5]

He died of liver cancer in Madrid on 10 July 1978.

Writing careerEdit

His first comedy, "Un tic-tac de reloj" ("A ricking clock") was a one-act play which he wrote in 1946. During his early years as a dramatist he was identified as a promoter of experimental theatre,[2] while other sources refer to an intention to reinvent the genre, with plays such as "Juicio contra un sinvergüenza" ("Judgment against a rogue") and "Los pobrecitos" ("The poor wretches"), but during the 1950s and 1960s he deferred to the more conservative tastes of theatre audiences in Franco's Spain, writing in a more consciously escapist and entertaining style. His success was massive: he became Spain's most prolific dramatists, the author, according to one source, of no fewer than 436 theatrical works. The same source speculates that he may have been one of the first dramatists to make a small fortune. During the 1968 season, he had seven plays running simultaneously in seven different Madrid theatres, each with three performances daily. His commercial success owed much to the fact that many of his plays were adapted for the cinema.[5]

Some years after his death his works were still attracting great interest, and were well received outside Spain, notably in Germany, Turkey, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Mexico. His works were translated into more than 24 languages, including Italian, French, Portuguese, English, German and Arabic. He was the first Spanish author to have a live play produced on Broadway in New York, the work in question being El canto de la cigarra (English: Song of the Grasshopper).[5][6]

A particular admirer was the actor-director José Vilar (actor) [es], who found large audiences for his work on Chilean and Peruvian television during the 1970s and early 1980s.


Theatre (some better known works)Edit


  1. ^ "Alfonso Paso". Biografías y Vidas. Miguel Ruiza (Director), Biografías y Vidas. Retrieved 16 September 2016.
  2. ^ a b Richard E. Chandler; Kessel Schwartz (1 September 1991). Twentieth-Century Drama. A New History of Spanish Literature. Louisiana State University Press, Baton Rouge. p. 98. ISBN 978-0-8071-1735-4.
  3. ^ a b "Biografia de Alfonso Paso". Almudena Paso. Retrieved 16 September 2016.
  4. ^ "Alfonso Paso". Komödie im Bayerischen Hof, München. Retrieved 16 September 2016.
  5. ^ a b c d PPG. "Alfonso Paso, dramaturgo y muchas cosas más". La Fundación Nacional Francisco Franco. Retrieved 16 September 2016.
  6. ^ Goldman, William (1969). The Season: A Candid Look at Broadway. New York: Limelight Editions. p. 33. ISBN 0879100230.