Germán Luco Cruchaga was a journalist and a novelist, as well as a playwright. He was born into a poor yet aristocratic family, and so was familiar with traversing the upper and lower levels of Chilean society. He gleaned inspiration for his drama and narratives from his in-depth knowledge of the landscapes and peoples of his native Chile, travelling the country in search of characters and their stories.
Luco Cruchago’s work is characterised thematically by his explorations of various oppositions: urban and rural, the city and the provinces, the aristocracy and the working class, opulence and degradation. He is regarded as the principal exponent of naturalismo criollista, a version of realism which pays close attention to the historical, geographical and social specificities of independent Latin America. His theatre is therefore costumbrista in the sense that it derives from the closely-observed reality of 1920s southern Chile. However, although Luco Cruchaga’s theatre has a distinctly national flavour, the play La viuda de Apablaza bears the mark of melodrama and of classical drama with its archetypal narrative which recalls Racine’s Phèdre.