Out of the Wings

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Égon Wolff

Personal information
Surname: Wolff
First name: Égon
Middle names: Raúl
Born: 13 May 1926, Santiago, Chile

Égon Wolff was born in Chile on 13 April 1926 to German parents.   He studied chemical engineering as an undergraduate before turning to playwriting in 1958, and had an early success with his play  Disciples of Fear in 1959 when he won the Premio Nacional de Literatura.  Wolff’s formation coincided with a period of renovation in Chilean theatre.  In the 1940s the Chilean government gave financial support to the founding of  university theatres and theatre schools.  As a result of this investment, the Teatro Experimental was set up at the University of Chile, under the direction of Pedro de la Barra in 1941, and the Teatro de Ensayo was founded by the Catholic University of Chile in 1943, led by Pedro Mortheiru.  Among many playwrights of his generation, Wolff was fostered by these developments in theatre practice.  He himself went on to become a professor of the theatre school at the Catholic University from 1979.


Égon Wolff's work concerns itself with social power struggles in Chilean society, but with universal resonance.  His plays explore themes of madness, moral decay and base human impulses and behaviour which question any version of a fixed social hierarchy or structure.


Égon Wolff's work is socially conscious and socially committed but his style cannot be described as realist.  He incorporates expressionist and at times fantastic and surrealist elements into his drama.

Plays in the database
Other works
  • Wolff, Égon. 1970. Los invasores (The Invaders) (in Spanish)

  • Wolff, Égon. 1984. La balsa de la Medusa (Medusa's Barge) (in Spanish)

Useful reading and websites
  • Gann, Myra S. 1989. 'Meaning and Metaphor in Flores de papel', Latin American Theatre Review, 22.2, 31-6

  • López, Daniel. 1978. ‘Ambiguity in Flores de papel’, Latin American Theatre Review, 12.1, 43-50

  • Taylor, Diana. 1984. ‘Art and Anti-Art in Égon Wolff’s Flores de papel’, Latin American Theatre Review, 18.1, 65-8

  • Taylor, Diana. 1991. Theatre of Crisis: Drama and Politics in Latin America. Kentucky, The University Press of Kentucky

Entry written by Gwendolen Mackeith. Last updated on 18 April 2012.

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