WHAT LIES BEYOND SHAKESPEARE?
What would it take for classical theater in the US to diversify not just its personnel, but also its canon?
What are the stakes, and the possible effects, of bringing to diverse audiences the canon of early modern Hispanic theater that has largely gone unproduced and unremarked in US theatrical circles?
Diversifying the Classics promotes the vibrant, Spanish-language theatrical tradition developed on both sides of the Atlantic by playwrights such as Spaniards Lope de Vega and Calderón de la Barca, or Mexicans Ruiz de Alarcón and Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz. The project seeks to foster awareness and appreciation of Hispanic classical theater in Los Angeles and beyond, expanding the canon to include the heritage of US Latino communities. While our work is based in Los Angeles, we hope to reach theater professionals and audiences across the US, offering them the materials and tools to explore the rich tradition of the comedia.
The comedias of the Hispanic Golden Age are plays for the people; performances took place in open-air theaters, where attendees of all classes and both sexes commingled. At the same time the works are sophisticated urban dramas, offering pointed reflections on the constructed nature of class and gender as well as the performativity of social roles in the burgeoning city, issues that resonate with audiences today.
Bringing the comedia to L.A. audiences and beyond
Since 2014, and under the direction of UCLA Professor Barbara Fuchs, Diversifying the Classics has been promoting the comedia to L.A. audiences and beyond by attending to issues of translation and adaptation, connecting academics with practitioners, and hosting performances.
Diversifying the Classics encompasses multiple initiatives: original translations, with all plays available on our website and in a publication series from Juan de la Cuesta; performances, including LA Escena Festival and staged reading series; Classics in the Classroom, a program to introduce the Hispanic classical theater to students via adaptations, the compilation of supporting materials, and connections with K–12 and arts educators, and Performance Studies Database, listing scholars in the field prepared to guide theater professionals approaching new and underrepresented texts.
A collection of our translations of the comedias with all plays available here and in a publication series from Juan de la Cuesta.
LA Escena Performances
Our festival of Hispanic classical theater and collaborations to bring the comedia to audiences in L.A. and beyond.
Classics in the Classroom
A program to introduce the Hispanic classical theater to students via adaptations, a compilation of supporting materials, and connections with K-12 and arts educators.
A listing of scholars in the field prepared to guide theater professionals approaching new and underrepresented texts.