Her plays have been translated, published and produced in numerous countries. She won the critic’s prize for the best play of the year ten times.
In November 2010 she was awarded the National Prize for Arts and Sciences in the field of Linguistics and Literature, for her work which has national and international resonance. President Felipe Calderón Hinojosa gave her the award at the National Palace (Mexico).
Themes such a lack of communication and escapism are linked to a political critique, protest against social injustice, and defense of the human being in the works of this author. The theater of Maruxa Vilalta gives a broader meaning to the problems of countries and their inhabitants today.
Early life and education
Maruxa Vilalta was born in Barcelona in 1932, daughter of lawyer Antonio Vilalta y Vidal and María Soteras Maurí, doctor of law. Antonio Vilalta, one of the great supporters for the Estatut de la Generalitat and one of the founders of Esquerra Republicana party. He was also a distinguished jurist, elected and proclaimed deputy of the Ilustre Colegio de Abogados de Barcelona. María Soteras was the first woman to graduate with a degree in law from the University of Barcelona and she was also a member of the Colegio de Abogados. In 1936, at the start of the Civil War in Spain, they went in exile to Brussels and they arrived in Mexico, by the way of New York, in 1939.
Vilalta was a Mexican citizen from the age of eight. She received all her education in Mexico, from primary school and then six years of French baccalauréat at the Liceo Franco Mexicano. She enrolled in the School of Liberal Arts at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, where she studied for a master's degree in Spanish literature.
Vilalta started as a novelist. Her first works were El castigo (The Punishment) in 1957, Los disorientados (The Disoriented Ones), reprinted several times in 1959, and Dos colores para el paisaje (Two Colors for the Landscape) in 1961. She adapted Los disorientados for the theatre and since the first performance, in 1960, she began her career as a playwright. She only wrote dramas, excepting some short stories, among them the collection called El otro día, la muerte (The Other Day, Dead), in 1974, that includes Diálogos del narrador, la muerte y su invitado (Dialogues of the Narrator, Death and Her Guest), Romance con la muerte de agua (The Romance of Watery Death), Aventura con la muerte de fuego (Adventure with Fiery Death) and Morir temprano, mientras comulga el general (To Die Early, While the General Receives Communion).
Plays and awards
- Los disorientados (The Disoriented Ones), 1960.
- Un país feliz (A Happy country), 1964.
- Soliloquio del Tiempo (Time’s Soliloquy), 1964.
- Un día loco (A Crazy Day), 1964.
- La última letra (The Last Letter), 1964.
- El 9 (Number Nine), 1965.
- Cuestión de narices (A Question of Noses), 1966. Prize for the Best Group and Best Director, Ramón Dagés, at the Manresa Theatre Festival, 1974.
- Esta noche juntos, amándonos tanto (Together Tonight, Loving Each Other so Much), 1970. Juan Ruiz de Alarcón Best Play of the Year Prize, and Best Play of the Year Prize at the Las Máscaras Festival, Morelia.
- Nada como el piso 16 (Nothing Like the Sixteenth Floor), 1976. Juan Ruiz de Alarcón Best Play of the Year Prize and Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz Best Play of the Year Prize.
- Historia de él (The Story of Him), 1978. Juan Ruiz de Alarcón Best Play of the Year Prize and El Fígaro Best Play of the Year Prize.
- Una mujer, dos hombres y un balazo (A Woman, Two Men and One Bullet), 1981. It contents four one act-plays that can be staged separately: En Las Lomas, esa noche (That Night in Las Lomas), El té de los señores Mercier (Mr. and Mrs. Mercier’s Tea), El barco ebrio (The Drunken Ship), Archie & Bonnie (Archie & Bonnie).
- Pequeña historia de horror (y de amor desenfrenado) (Little Story of Horror (and Unbridled Love)), 1985.
- Una voz en el desierto. Vida de San Jerónimo (A Voice in the Wilderness. The Life of Saint Jerome) Mexican Association of Theatre Critics Best Play of Creative Research Prize, 1991. Society of Theatre Journalists Prize 1991 and Claridades Best Play of the Year Prize, 1991.
- Francisco de Asís (Francis of Assisi) Mexican Association of Theater Critics Best Play of Creative Research Prize), 1992.
- Jesucristo entre nosotros (Jesus Christ Among Us), 1994.
- Ignacio y los jesuitas (Ignatius and the Jesuits), 1997.
- 1 9 1 0 (1 9 1 0), 2000 and 2001.
- Con vista a la bahía (With a View of the Bay) is produced by Conaculta, Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes and Centro Cultural Helénico, from May to September 2007.
Besides her theater plays prizes she received the following honors: Certificate from the Mexican Institute of Culture(1963). Certificate from the Mexico City Cultural Program for the 19th Olympic Games (1968). Appointed Vice President of the College of Literature, of the Mexican Institute of Culture (1968). Literary Merit Prize, Círculo de Letras Nuevos Horizontes, Managua, Nicaragua, (1972). El 9 (Number Nine) published in the anthology The Best Short Plays 1973, compiled by Stanley Richards. Honorary Member of the Women’s Association of Journalists and Writers (1974). Named Woman of the Decade 1980-1990 by the Women’s Association of Journalists and Writers. Claridades Honor Prize for her Outstanding Contributions to the Arts (1998). In 2001 The Ninth Journeys on Latin American Theater, organized by the University of Tennessee, in Puebla, Mexico, were dedicated to Maruxa Vilalta for her career as a playwright.
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Vilalta's plays have been published and reprinted by prestigious publishing houses, among them Fondo de Cultura Económica, Consejo Nacional Para la Cultura y las Artes (National Council for Culture and Arts), Joaquín Mortiz, Planeta, and the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM).
1910 focuses on the Mexican Revolution and was produced by National Council for Culture and Arts (Conaculta), Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes, Instituto Nacional de Estudios Históricos de la Revolución Mexicana and Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. In 2002, Conaculta published the book 1910 y tres obras más (1910 and Three Other Plays), which includes 1910, Una mujer, dos hombres y un balazo (One Woman, Two Men and One Bullet), Pequeña historia de horror (y de amor desenfrenado) (Little Story of Horror (and Unbridled Love), Una voz en el desierto (A Voice in the Desert), and Vida de San Jerónimo (The Life of Saint Jerome. A voice in the Wilderness).
In 2002 the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) published, in "Voz Viva" series, the CD-book Antología de teatro (Anthologie of Theatre), with selections from plays of Maruxa Vilalta in the voice of the author and in published texts. The same year, the Sociedad General de Escritores de México publishes three plays from this dramaturge in the CD Cien años de teatro mexicano (One Hundred Years of Mexican Theater). In November 2003 Fondo de Cultura Económica published Antología de obras de teatro de Maruxa Vilalta (Anthology of Theatrical Works by Maruxa Vilalta) in its collection, Letras Mexicanas. Fondo de Cultura Económica published several plays by Vilalta in the collections Teatro I (1972, fourth edition 1997), Teatro II (1989, second edition 1992) and Teatro III (1990, third edition 1994). In 2006, the Edwin Mellen Press (of Lewiston, New York), published A Voice in the Wilderness. The Life of Saint Jerome, translated by Edward Huberman and Sharon Magnarelli.
In 2006 and 2007, Ignacio y los jesuitas was performed in El Progreso, Honduras, Lafragua Theater. In 2007, Una mujer, dos hombres y un balazo was performed in Bogotá, Colombia, produced by the Universidad Estatal, stage manager Maira Salamanca. In 2007, Con vista a la bahía (With a View of the Bay), was performed in Mexico, and published in 2010 by CONACULTA (Consejo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes).
Vilalta has also been stage manager in plays from Jean Anouilh, Albert Husson, Peter Ustinov, Ira Wallach, Arout-Chejov and, since 1970, only in her own plays. She gives theater courses, seminars and conferences in universities and cultural centers from Mexico and other countries. Researcher María Elena Reuben, of Hofstra University, New York, has compiled a Bibliography of Maruxa Vilalta which includes the plays of this author and the major studies and academic articles on her theater as well as a selection of reviews and press commentaries.
She died on 19 August 2014, aged 81.
- "Muere la dramaturga Maruxa Vilalta | Excélsior". excelsior.com.mx. 2014. Retrieved August 20, 2014.
- (Spanish) Diccionario de escritores mexicanos, siglo XX : desde las generaciones del Ateneo y novelistas de la Revolución hasta nuestros días. Mexico: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Instituto de Investigaciones Filológicas, Centro de Estudios Literarios, 1988