Week of February 20 (NIGHT class): Miguel Piñero’s Plays: Short Eyes



  • Next Tuesday is a Monday schedule in CUNY, so we only meet Thursday.
  • Also: you should have signed up for a group presentation in class. If you haven’t, contact me immediately. I’ll send an email to connect all the members and some additional instructions within the next week. Instruction sheet is on the assignments page
  • If you missed class on Thursday 2/15 see the assignments page for the first written assignment, due Friday March 9 via email

Tuesday 2/20: Monday schedule–class doesn’t meet. 

Thursday 2/22: Read “The Drama of Miguel Piñero” at the front of Outlaw and then read Piñero’s play Short Eyes (pages 193-243). Short Eyes is set entirely in a prison (actually a house of detention: think Riker’s Island). Think about what the setting means and how characters react to it. Also consider how Piñero’s own experience and outlook on life shape what and who he writes about. Note: there’s a glossary at the end of the play–use it for unfamiliar terms.

Questions to think about to guide your reading:

  • What characters does he show in the play?
  • What language does he use and what effect does that have?
  • What audiences do you think Piñero is writing for?
  • What similarities or differences do you see with his poetry?
  • What’s the setting he chooses and what side of the city does that show?
  • What are some of the key themes the play deals with?
  • Identify key points of the play where the storyline (plot) turns or changes. Mark significant points where this happens in your book and write them down in your notes. What causes the plot turns and how might actors on stage make them believable?

Watch the legendary singer Curtis Mayfield sing one of the songs from the film version (he also had a small part in the film and composed/performed the soundtrack).

Watch the preview for a 2012 production of the play in Los Angeles.

If you keep up with the weekly reading and take good notes, then you’ll be well prepared for the midterm and final exam and get much more out of the class!