Short Eyes A Play

Miguel Piñero; Introduction by Marvin Felix Camillo

Hill and Wang



Trade Paperback

144 Pages



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Winner of the New York Drama Critics Circle Award

This powerful drama of prison life is set in a house of detention where a group of young convicts—predominantly black and Puerto Rican—taunt, fight, insult, and entertain one another in an attempt to preserve their sanity, and to create a semblance of community. When a young white prisoner accused of child-molesting is thrown into the cell block by a guard who says he belongs in Sing Sing because "the men up there know what to do with degenerates like you," the stage is set for an explosive series of events. Among prisoners, as we discover, this child-molester (known as "short eyes") is the lowest of criminals.


Praise for Short Eyes

"An authentic, powerful theatrical piece that tells you more about the anti-universe of prison life than any play outside the work of Jean Genet."—Jack Kroll, Newsweek

"Mr. Piñero writes very well indeed. His dialogue sizzles with truth."—Clive Barnes, The New York Times

Reviews from Goodreads



Read an Excerpt

Short Eyes

Dayroom in the House of Detention. Upstage right is entrance gate. Upstage left is gate leading to shower room and slop sink. Upstage center is a toilet and drinking fountain. Above is a catwalk. Stage...

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  • Miguel Piñero; Introduction by Marvin Felix Camillo

  • Miguel Piñero, once a burglar, mugger, shoplifter, and drug addict, began writing when serving a five-year sentence in Sing Sing for armed robbery. He was discovered and encouraged by Marvin Felix Camillo, who conducted a drama workshop at the prison. Camillo's workshop grew into an acting company of ex-convicts called "The Family," members of which made up most of the cast in Joseph Papp's premiere production of Short Eyes in 1974. Pinero died in 1988.