Out of the Wings

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Lo crudo, lo cocido y lo podrido (c.1978), Marco De la Parra

English title: The Raw, the Cooked and the Rotten
Date written: c. 1978
First production date: 30 June 1978
Keywords: identity > class/social standing, identity > class/social standing, history > change/revolution, history > modernity, ideology > politics, power > inter-personal/game play

The staff of ‘The Immortals’ restaurant have formed a secret brotherhood of waiters immersing themselves in a glorious past and playing out the absurd rituals and customs of a bygone era of oligarchs.  First performed and banned in 1978, Lo crudo, lo cocido y lo podrido can be read as a political allegory for the Chilean dictatorship (1973 – 1990).


 ‘In El Restorán de los Inmortales, a typical old restaurant of Santiago, in former days the meeting place for the oligarchy, three waiters (Elías Reyes, Efraín Rojas and Evaristo Romero), members of the mysterious sect, await the arrival of Don Estanislao Ossa Moya, the last surviving member of the oligarchy they had formerly served. The length of the wait is unspecified, time is occupied in ritually repeated games and rehearsals through which the waiters strive to retain perfection. When Estanislao Ossa Moya eventually appears in the doorway, he is an unrecognisable drunken wreck bearing no resemblance to the leading citizen he may have been before. Like the rest of his class, he has come to die in this, the last bastion of their golden age, and to be placed in one of the niches reserved for him. But the nature of his demise is indicative of fundamental changes taking place and heralds the end of an era. Nevertheless, while the possibility of perpetuating the old system still exists, Elías, the maître, is bound by duty to go through the ritual of initiating his successor, Efraín, to his new post. But Efraín, aware that their role is now redundant, refuses to accept the name, age, and identity he has been destined to inherit as the maître. As Elías drinks the ‘suicide wine’ as his master did before him when he, in his turn, saw new codes of behaviour that he regarded as assaults on decency and order, Efraín, in his real identity, abandons the restaurant, followed by the bewildered Evaristo.’ (Boyle 1992: 98)

Critical response

In 1979 Lo crudo, lo cocido y lo podrido won shared first prize at New York’s Theater of Latin America competition.  Marco Antonio de la Parra is considered to be one of Chile’s most outstanding playwrights.

  • Parra, Marco Antonio de la. 1983. Lo crudo, lo cocido y lo podrido. Santiago, Nascimento

Entry written by Gwendolen Mackeith. Last updated on 28 March 2012.

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