From the page to the stage, Alicia Kozameh story chronicles life as political prisoner


Actors portraying political prisoners in “30” use flashlights to secretly communicate with one another. The play is based on the Alicia Kozameh short story, “Impression of Heights.” (Photo/City Theater)

A short story written by Chapman University faculty member and Argentine author Alicia Kozameh has been adapted for the stage and debuted this fall at the City Theater in Leon, France.

The play “30” was based on Kozameh’s story, “Impression of Heights,” and dramatizes a string of episodes in the lives of 30 female political prisoners held for 14 months in a police basement in Argentina. It is based on her experience as a political prisoner in Argentina from September 1975 to December 1978.

“Having my short story turned into a play is amazing. This will help expand the audience to hear my story,” said Kozameh.  “More people can understand the idea of what being a political prisoner means, which is something that happens every day all over the world.”  Kozameh did not see the most recent production but is looking forward to seeing it when it is staged at the next Belles Latinas Festival in France.

Kozameh has written numerous short stories and novels that continue to be translated in several languages and published throughout the world. The English version of her most recent novel,
Ostrich Legs
(WingsPress), will be available in spring.  It was first published in German as
(Milena Verlag, 1996).

“While I feel like I am losing a little bit of the story each time it is translated, I know that more people will be able to read it and learn from it,” said Kozameh.

Kozameh teaches creative writing in the
Department of English
and has been a guest reader at the
John Fowles Center for Creative Writing
. She is also the author of
Pasos bajo el agua
(“Steps Under Water”), a fictionalized account of her experience in prison, and
259 saltos, uno immortal
(“259 Steps, the Last Immortal”), inspired by her life as a political exile, among many others.

Dawn Bonker

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