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Theater

WORLD PREMIERE OF ENGLISH TRANSLATION OF WOMEN AND SERVANTS BY LOPE DE VEGA

From November 9-18, McMaster University’s School of the Arts will perform Women and Servants, a play by Spain’s great Renaissance dramatist Lope de Vega (see complete schedule and information below). Lost almost since its creation in 1613-14, and rediscovered only recently, in 2014, by Alejandro García-Reidy in Spain’s National Library, Women and Servants has never before been staged in English. Come see this witty, subversive comedy, where women and servants defy their masters—conspicuously absent from the title—as they affirm their freedom to live and love as they choose.

 

On Saturday, November 11, at 7pm, immediately before the 8pm performance, the play’s English translator, UCLA Professor Barbara Fuchs, will present “Love Knows No Master,” a discussion of the play’s challenging representations of personal autonomy, liberty in love, and the defiance of social norms. After the show, Professor Fuchs will join the cast and production team onstage for discussion.

 

Performance Schedule:

November 9 (Preview), 8pm

November 10-11, 8pm

November 15-18, 8pm

November 18, 2pm

 

Location: The Black Box

L.R. Wilson Hall

Price $20

$10 for students and seniors

 

Tickets available from Compass, or School of the Arts: (905) 525 9140 Ext. 27671

 

For more information on performances, visit: http://sota.humanities.mcmaster.ca/2017/11/01/women-and-servants/

 

For information on Barbara Fuchs’ lecture and discussion, see the poster below or visit: http://sota.humanities.mcmaster.ca/2017/11/07/love-knows-no-master-visiting-artist-lecture/

Women and Servants

Staged Reading of The Widow of Valencia

Join us on Wednesday, November 8th at 7:30PM for the staged reading of out working group’s latest translation, The Widow of Valencia.

 

 

Written by Lope de Vega between 1595 and 1599, this juicy play centers on the figure of Leonarda, a young widow, and her posse of suitors, who circle her house at all hours, hoping for a glance, a smile, or a kind gesture. Leonarda, however, is in love with Camilo, and in order to maintain the pious and reserved life that was expected of widows at the time, she devises a plan with her servants, Julia and Urbán, to lure him into her home. To add to the general sense of confusion, Lope sets the play in Valencia—one of the most vibrant and festive Spanish cities of the time—during Carnival, when amorality, chaos, and false identities were normalized and accepted.

 

Clever, compelling, and entertaining, The Widow of Valencia takes on universal themes of love, pride, and social standing, yet it remains unique in its daring portrait of intrigue and female sexuality. Directed by UCLA theater professor Michael Hackett, first year MFA students in the Acting and Directing Programs will bring Lope’s enthralling Golden Age characters to life.

The performance is free, but reservations are required. Please visit http://www.1718.ucla.edu/events/widow/

 

Jennifer L. Monti

widow poster

TRANSLATION WORKSHOP (OCTOBER 17): PROFESSOR EDWARD “MAC” TEST (BOISE STATE UNIVERSITY) VISITS UCLA

Many thanks to Professor Mac Test for workshopping his translation of Juan Pérez de Montalbán’s La monja alférez (The Swashbuckling Nun) with us. As expected, our discussion brought together a fruitful mix of disciplinary backgrounds, including Professor Test’s expertise in contemporary Anglo- and Latin American poetry and English Renaissance literature and our own diverse interests in Golden Age letters, Early Modern Iberian and Colonial American history, and contemporary Spain and Mexico. It was also a meeting of the minds on Baroque drama. Professor Test has translated a text that, given its subject matter, would have instantly jumped to the top of our list of pending projects—a play that, like all those we have taken on, portrays extraordinary agency beyond traditional gender roles (the “swashbuckling” Guzmán shares much with Hipólita from The Force of Habit, Lisena from A Wild Night in Toledo, and Leonarda from The Widow of Valencia). Additionally, Professor Test has introduced us to a play that, like our own favorites, represents the performative nature of (gender and class) identities and the possibility (and frequent necessity) of dissimulation in modern urban life. His visit is a powerful incentive to continue our work—surely there are more (unjustly and unbelievably underappreciated) gems out there, just waiting to be translated! We hope Professor Test has also taken something away from our conversation, and we look forward to seeing his translation published soon. Thank you for visiting us, and very safe travels back to Boise.

 

Paul Cella.

PROFESSOR EDWARD “MAC” TEST (BOISE STATE UNIVERSITY) TO VISIT UCLA ON OCTOBER 17

UCLA’s working group on the comedia looks forward to an upcoming visit from Professor Edward “Mac” Test (Boise State University) on October 17. A translator, poet, and Renaissance scholar, Prof. Test has invited us to workshop his recent translation of Juan Pérez de Montalbán’s play La monja alférez (The Swashbuckling Nun), which is based on the life of Catalina de Erauso, a Basque woman who escaped from a convent, cross-dressed as a man, and fled to America, where she led a life full of adventure. We are especially excited to explore with Prof. Test our common interests in the representation of gender in Golden Age drama—a topic that has occupied us from our first translation of Guillén de Castro’s La fuerza de la costumbre (The Force of Habit) to our most recent work: Lope de Vega’s La viuda valenciana (The Widow of Valencia)—and translation methodology, including challenges particular to translating dramatic verse (into poetry or prose?), and to producing English texts that appeal to scholarly readers and modern audiences. Thank you, Professor Test, for joining us, and welcome to UCLA!

Staged Reading of The Force of Habit

Join us on October 1st at Cal Poly Pomona for a staged reading of our translation of Guillén de Castro’s The Force of Habit (La fuerza de la costumbre).

 

The Force of Habit (c. 1610) makes spectators wonder if gender is a result of nature or nurture, if it is something that can be learned and unlearned, as the two siblings and protagonists, Hipólita and Félix, are brought up in the habits of the opposite sex. Hipólita, raised by her father on the battlefield, is fierce and competitive, while her brother Félix, who grows up by his mother’s side, is timid and sensitive. Once the family is reunited, however, the two siblings must adhere to traditional gender roles: they must learn how to behave as a man and as a woman—with all the social implications this change brings along. Though the play ends with Hipólita and Félix re-assuming their traditional gender positions, Guillén de Castro’s theatrical piece nevertheless points out the grave limitations of the gender system.

 

The staged reading of the play is part of this year’s Southern California Shakespeare Festival, an Actors’ Equity Association Company in residence at Cal Poly Pomona (https://www.cpp.edu/~scsf/). The Festival’s founder and Artistic Director, Theater professor and actor Linda Bisesti, decided to include a staged reading of the group’s translation of The Force of Habit after attending our workshop (organized by group member and Cal Poly Assistant Professor Marta Albalá Pelegrín) at Cal Poly Pomona on May 2nd, entitled Translating for Performance.

 

The staged reading of The Force of Habit will be preceded by this season’s performance: Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors, which includes a cast and crew of roughly thirty Cal Poly Pomona students and alumni. The Comedy of Errors opens on Saturday, September 7th, at 7:30 pm at the Cal Poly Pomona Studio Theater.

 

We invite you to join us on Sunday, October 1st at 2:00 pm for The Comedy of Errors, and again at 5:00 pm for The Force of Habit, for an afternoon filled with fun and back-to-back gender-bending performances. For more information on locations, times, and booking, please visit https://www.cpp.edu/~scsf/performance-calendar/index.shtml

 

Jennifer L. Monti

Graduate Students Conclude a Successful Comedia Summer, Supported by the Pine Tree Foundation of New York

The Comedia in Translation and Performance Working Group and Diversifying the Classics is pleased to announce the successful completion of our first summer grant period supported by the Pine Tree Foundation of New York.

 

The Pine Tree Foundation’s generous two-year grant is aimed at expanding the “Library of Translated Hispanic Classical Plays,” which is home to the working group’s original translations and serves as an online resource for theater practitioners and others interested in the Spanish comedia. In summer 2017, funding from Pine Tree provided stipends for four graduate students to increase and improve the Library’s holdings. (Two more graduate students will receive stipends in summer 2018.) Coupled with an award from the UCLA Arts Initiative—which supported three additional graduate students in an ongoing collaboration with the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television—the working group was able to greatly advance their work in terms of both publications and outreach.

 

Thanks to the Pine Tree grant, the working group was able to edit and annotate its translation of The Widow of Valencia, which was drafted during the academic year, and to write an introduction aimed at theater practitioners as well as students and scholars working in English. The process included intensive table-readings and detailed cooperative editing. Widow will be posted on the Diversifying the Classics website for open access, and published in hard copy by Juan de la Cuesta – Hispanic Monographs.

 

Widow will also receive a dramatic reading in November 2017 (date TBA). This activity is part of Diversifying the Classic’s durable collaboration with UCLA’s Department of Theater, through which, in the fall quarter of each academic year, first-year MFA students perform the working group’s latest translation. The performance not only assists the working group in communicating directly with the actors and fine-tuning the translation, but also helps theater practitioners-in-training to become acquainted with the corpus and discover “what lies beyond Shakespeare.”

 

In addition to their work on Widow, graduate students were afforded the space to improve earlier translations (A Wild Night in Toledo, Unhappily Married in Valencia, and What We Owe Our Lies) by submitting them to rigorous new table-reads, carefully incorporating feedback from previous dramatic readings in the Department of Theater, and ensuring that each facing-page translation strictly adheres to the group’s style guide, which was likewise fine-tuned over the summer. Juan de la Cuesta will also publish these translations, as well as 90 Monologues from Spanish Classical Theater, an anthology for actors who—like UCLA’s MFA students—wish to diversify their corpus by incorporating the comedia, a largely untapped resource in English-speaking theatrical circles.

 

Additional areas of research, collaboration, and outreach focused on undergraduate and K-12 education. Graduate students advanced their partnership with About…Productions, a local theater company, by completing a 12-session high-school level unit on Spanish comedia and Guillén de Castro’s The Force of Habit. This will be published on the Diversifying the Classics website and feature toolkits for exploring the world of early modern Spain as well as current discussions about gender identity, which is the subject of this timely and relevant play.

 

Grant recipients also worked with the UCLA departments of Arts Education and World Arts and Cultures to design a hybrid literature/service-learning course, the syllabus for which is currently under consideration for implementation in the 2017-2018 academic year. In this course, UCLA undergraduates would study early modern comedia alongside modern performance practice and theory, such as Augusto Boal’s Theatre of the Oppressed (TO), and then design complementary curricula to be implemented in local middle schools.

 

A partnership between graduate student grantees and faculty at Cal Poly Pomona resulted in a dramatic reading of The Force of Habit, which will take place on October 1, 2017 as part of this year’s Southern California Shakespeare Festival. This follows a previous co-sponsored event at Cal Poly: a workshop entitled “Diversifying the Classics: Translating for Performance” (held on May 2, 2017), which was attended by approximately one hundred students and faculty and featured presentations and discussions led by Barbara Fuchs and several members of the working group.

 

Graduate students also laid the groundwork for future performances in Los Angeles by establishing contact with companies and performers in Spain and Mexico; built relationships with theater practitioners involved in Encuentro de las Américas, a bilingual festival of arts and culture in which the working group hopes to participate; identified and reached out to faculty from other Southern California campuses whose research and service dialogues with the working group’s; and published several blog posts, ranging from engaging book reviews to inspiring pieces on dramatic forms and drama festivals.

 

Finally, the summer 2017 stipends supported research and preparation for the working group’s next translation, Pedro Calderón de la Barca’s Amar después de la muerte (To Love After Death) (1633). This play was chosen in response to strong interest expressed by Spanish and U.S. theater practitioners in its themes and content—namely, inter-ethnic and inter-religious conflict and conciliation. Set during a rebellion in 16th-century Spain, this will be the first tragedy and historical drama translated by the group.

 

We thank the Pine Tree Foundation and its director, Szilvia Szmuk-Tanenbaum, for supporting our mission, our work, and our students—and we look forward to another productive Comedia Summer in 2018!

 

Payton Phillips Quintanilla

 

Ñaque: A Theater at the Margins

A bare stage. Two actors. A tambourine. Such are the essential elements of ñaque, one of the Spanish baroque styles Agustín de Rojas enumerates in El viaje entretenido, his probing reflection on early modern theater. “The ñaque were two men…,” de Rojas explains, “They wore a scraggy beard, and played the tambourine; they lived happily, slept in their clothes, walked barefoot, ate hungrily, and in the cold of winter they did not feel the fleas.” In its austerity, the ñaque seems out of a place in an artistic era more commonly associated with grandeur and ornamentation, an anachronism better suited to a modernist stage. Yet, among its many admirers were Miguel de Cervantes, Lope de Vega, and Francisco de Quevedo, some of the greats of the Spanish Golden Age.

 

Pairs of actors may no longer walk barefoot city to city dragging a chest behind them, but the appeal of the ñaque form endures. Among those contemporary companies deploying the conventions of the ñaque to engage with the audience are Mexico City theater companies EFE Tres and Cabaret Misterio, whose collaborative project was performed at the 42nd annual Siglo de Ora drama festival at the Chamizal National Monument. Loosely based on Shakespeare’s Henry V, ¿Qué con Quique Quinto? presents the audience with Foca, Zote, and Ariel, traveling actors aboard the Nautilus Cabaret. Among the repertoire of plays they carry is the story of a young Enrique V (Henry V), or Quique for short, who reigns over the Kingdom of Children Everyone Ignores and must face the Kingdom of Censorship. With laughs, live music, and an innovative production, director Andrés Carreño attempts to bring the classics to a younger audience.

 

EFE Tres and Cabaret Misterio, however, are only the most recent companies to bring the ñaque style to Chamizal. Attendees of the 2005 Siglo de Oro festival also saw a play performed in the ñaque style with the production of Seis oficios, a saber. In a two-woman play based on Fernando de Rojas’s La Celestina and Gil Vicente’s Barca do Inferno, director Maritza Wilde and the Bolivian company Teatro Ñaque depict two women who attempt to enter heaven but are denied entry for their previous sins even as others with more severe transgressions are allowed in. Audiences are faced with questions about justice and the disparity in its application.

 

A theater at the margins, a poor theater, the ñaque dispenses with theatrical trappings, allowing the actor’s voice and body to become central to the performance. Ñaque remains timeless because it creates an intimate space out of the auditorium in which contact and exchange between performers and audience is unencumbered. At its core, it is a reflection on the relation between actor and spectator.

 

Rafael Jaime.

Court, Corral, Convent, and Comedia: A Review of Women Playwrights of Early Modern Spain Edited by Nieves Romero-Díaz and Lisa Vollendorf Translated and Annotated by Harley Erdman

English-speaking audiences might be forgiven for believing that the marvelous drama of the Spanish Golden Age was exclusively penned by male playwrights. In a list of twentieth- and twenty-first century productions of the comedia compiled by Kathleen Mountjoy and Duncan Wheeler, Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz stands out as the only woman in the illustrious company of such titans as Lope de Vega, Calderón de la Barca, and Miguel de Cervantes. Yet, as the title of this volume makes clear, early modern women in Spain were not only acting onstage, overseeing the theater business as autoras and empresarias, and taking in the spectacle from the cazuela, but also composing complex and intriguing theatrical works.

 

The introduction by Romero-Díaz and Vollendorf provides a context for these stellar translations by depicting the overlapping worlds of the court, the corral, and the cloister. Queen Isabel de Borbón’s regular attendance at theater performances, sponsorship of productions at court, and co-authorship of the 1622 Niquea’s Glory (La gloria de Niquea) may have been the most public female participation in the theater world—she was even rumored to have set mice loose in the cazuela to frighten women spectators, thus creating a play-within-a-play—but in the quiet space of the convent, literary production was also common. The fame of Teresa de Ávila as a popular author-saint led to increased educational opportunities for women, who wrote from, and often for, their own enclosed religious communities. This traffic between secular and sacred spaces, and the relationship between art and early modern Spanish society, can be glimpsed in stories like that of the famous actress La Baltasara, who claimed God had spoken to her during a performance, and answered his call by joining a religious order. That onstage conversion was in turn replayed in future theatrical performances.

 

The plays included here, by Feliciana Enríquez de Guzmán, Ana Caro Mallén, and Sor Marcela de San Félix, reflect and comment on their society. In the First Interlude from her Tragicomedy of the Sheban Gardens and Fields (Tragicomedia de los jardines y campos sabeos), published in 1624, Guzmán’s characters are deformed parodies of mythological figures, who compete for the hand of the three “moldy” graces. In the end, all six suitors marry all three graces, in a conclusion where bigamy is the solution for physical desire and social propriety dissolves in a bawdy comic romp. Explicit sexual transgression, obviously forbidden in Guzmán’s seventeenth-century Seville, becomes possible on the stage. One suitor remarks, in Erdman’s fine rendering of the Spanish wordplay, “I accept the slouching sentence of this raucous caucus of Bacchus” (45). One may imagine that Guzmán’s audiences felt the same.

 

The life of Sor Marcela, illegitimate daughter of Lope de Vega and the actress Micaela Luján, and author of five volumes of literary works in addition to secular and religious drama, would make a good play on its own. Included here are four of her loas, which are short pieces designed to be performed as prologues to longer works, and an allegorical coloquio in which the female figures of Soul, Peace, and Sincerity must rein in the aggressive violence of masculine Zeal. Sor Marcela’s wit is most evident in the loas, which she may have both written and performed for her convent audience. The short piece Erdman titles “The Hungry Scholar” consists of a monologue in which the titular scholar wishes to trade a loa to a convent for food. A nun instructs him, “Give us a loa so utterly perfect, / so absolutely free from error, / that it surpasses in every way / the work of the great Lope de Vega!” (202). The continual references to hunger suggest the hardship of life, but a reader of this volume may also imagine the delight of Sor Marcela’s convent audience in response to her self-referential humor.

 

The sole play included in its entirety is Ana Caro’s Count Partinuplés, which draws from a medieval romance but places the lady Rosaura, rather than the Count, in the role of protagonist. Caro, born in Granada to a Morisco slave family in the late sixteenth century, would go on to become to only female playwright who we know was paid for her work. In Partinuplés, echoes of works from Lope, Calderón, Shakespeare, and Caro’s medieval source combine in a carnivalesque atmosphere of magic and spectacle, rich with nods and winks to the audience. When Gaulín, comic sidekick to the Count, realizes that he will be the only one unmarried at the end of the play, he says, “Here I am, the unhappy lackey, / who sees where this farce is headed / but has no lady to whom to declare / lovey-dovey words of passion. / The playwright, she’s made a big mistake. / May all of you forgive her!” (91). Erdman points out that “the playwright” (la poeta) is specified by Caro in the original as feminine.

 

In a note on the translations, Erdman expresses the need to consider both the contemporary reader and the original context of these works. He writes, “These plays come from a time and culture other than our own, and often take up non-normative positions (thematically and linguistically) even for their times. These translations therefore ask the reader to make the journey to another world—or at least to meet these works halfway” (28). In Women Playwrights of Early Modern Spain, Erdman, and the editors Romero-Díaz and Vollendorf, give readers a chance to take that journey, and to experience the social commentary and comic sensibilities of previously untranslated works. As Anglophone scholars, theater professionals, and audiences continue to look to the rich and complex drama of the Spanish Golden Age, this collection helps diversify the voices we may find there. Beyond being a delightful read on every one of its pages, the anthology allows us to go not just beyond Shakespeare, but beyond Lope as well.

 

Robin Kello.

“Writing Forward” in Troubled Times: David Johnston on the Art of Translation

 

 

David Johnston’s Translating the Theatre of the Spanish Golden Age: A Story of Chance and Transformation is a delicious mixture: it is at once a memoir of a life in the theatre, a treatise on translation, an introduction to Spanish Golden Age drama, and a meditation on the value and power of art. Rejecting the fantasy of the perfect conversion from one language and time to another, Johnston defines his craft as an “act of writing forward,” of bringing the rich playtexts of the past into present contexts (11). The string that ties together the varied elements of this slim volume is the idea that contemporary audiences may respond to these plays as much as the audiences of early modern Spain, and that they deserve to performed again, to be heard in the idiom of today, and most of all, to be seen.

 

The story of Johnston’s own conversion from theatre lover and student of the Spanish language to award-winning translator begins with an explosion. Taking a book down from the Queen’s University library stacks, Johnston feels the reverberations of a bomb from nearby Dublin Road. In his lucid, fast-moving prose, he describes the chance and transformation that follows: “A four-story building had disappeared from the skyline and a stunned and bewildered flock of dark starlings was still spinning in the air in front of a huge pall of grey smoke and brick-dust. I looked down at the book in my hand. A battered Spanish edition of Calderón’s Life’s a Dream” (6). In the collision of 1635 Madrid and 1974 Belfast, the poetic illusion and the stark reality of the leveled building, and the echoes of authoritarianism that united them in Johnston’s consciousness, the translator found his vocation.

 

The rewards of that inspiration are evident throughout the book, as Johnston peppers his story with his own marvelous English renderings of the original Spanish. Adept at both comic and tragic tones, he illustrates the vibrant character and contemporary relevance of these plays by providing examples of his process and its products. Unlike more conservative translators, he argues that the use of profanity is sometimes necessary to shock the audience. He thus translates Laurencia’s monologue from Lope’s Fuenteovejuna, in which she condemns the cowardice of the village men, to convey the force of her rage: “You call yourselves men? Go and fuck / each other, then finish your sewing! / Cowards! Sheep! Hide behind your women / . . . we’ll dress you in scarves and skirts. / and powder your white cheeks with rouge” (43). Through Johnston’s words, the reader can feel Laurencia’s torment and fury.

 

Johnston brings a translator’s sensitivity to not only the language of these characters but the larger social dynamics they portray onstage, rejecting the idea that these works unequivocally reinforce orthodox, Catholic, patriarchal values. In his account of Fuenteovejuna, “its depiction of the outer excesses of authoritarian abuse, its recognition of the causes, if not the validity, of revolutionary action, and its positioning of women as both the victims of, and, in the final analysis, the prime movers against sexual violence,” still resonates today (55). The theater offers a space for a culture, whether 17th-century Spain or the current United States, to simultaneously perform and examine itself. The social inequalities and anxieties over authority that dominate our public conversation are also at the center of these vital early modern plays. Drama does not merely reflect, but instead foregrounds a proliferation of voices and interpretations.

 

Toward the end of his story, Johnston remarks that the book will be a success if it inspires others to translate. As part of the Diversifying the Classics project at UCLA, I’m grateful to have Johnston as model and motivation, but the audience for this book is far broader than aspiring translators of dramatic texts. It may be especially valuable for those in the theater, but this wonderful story of chance and is transformation is a rare gift for anyone interested in the conversation between Spanish and English, past and present, politics and art.

 

Robin Kello.

Coming soon: The Widow of Valencia

Set in Valencia at the end of the sixteenth century, The Widow of Valencia tells the spicy story of the young widow Leonarda, and her posse of hopeless suitors. Written between 1595 and 1599 by Lope de Vega, perhaps the most renowned playwright of Spain’s Golden Age, the play was not published until 1620. The publication date, as well as the text’s dedicatory to Marcia Leonarda, makes the play all the more intriguing.

Lope’s lover, Marta de Nevares, is, according to critics, the woman from the dedicatory, and she also shares a name with the play’s protagonist, Leonarda. Marta had, in fact, become a widow in 1618, and one cannot help but think of an analogy between Lope and Camilo, the one man with whom Leonarda falls in love. Though there has been great interest in the play in Spain, without a translation it has remained relatively unknown in the English-speaking world. Now UCLA’s Working Group on the Comedia in Translation and Performance has translated and annotated Lope’s play, and will soon be posting it for open access on the group’s website: http://diversifyingtheclassics.humanities.ucla.edu.

 

The play’s juiciness lies in its intricate plot and permeating sense of mystery. Lope here inverts the myth of Cupid and Psyche, in which the god of love takes on the role of a mystery lover: in The Widow of Valencia, Leonarda becomes an invisible lover to Camilo. Widows were expected to maintain a pious, devout, and reserved life, yet Leonarda, with her servants Julia and Urbán, devises a plan to enjoy her lover’s company without compromising her family name and social status. Camilo is to be hooded by Urbán and brought into Leonarda’s house through the back door, so that the two can consume their passion in the dark, away from curious eyes. To add to the general sense of confusion, Lope sets the play in Valencia—one of the most vibrant and festive Spanish cities of the time—during Carnival, when amorality, chaos, and false identities were normalized and accepted.

 

Leonarda must face the dangers to which attractive young widows were exposed in sixteenth-century Spain—dozens of suitors roam her house at all hours, hoping for a glance, a smile, or a kind gesture. They even disguise themselves as door-to-door vendors for the chance to speak with her face to face. Leonarda deglamorizes her apparently favorable romantic situation to uncover the difficult reality of being a rich widow. In a passionate speech to her uncle Lucenio, who insists that she marry, Leonarda points out the pompousness and dishonesty of most suitors, who wish to marry her only to snatch her fortune. By keeping her identity a secret in her dealings with Camilo, Leonarda manages to maintain social decorum without renouncing her appetite for sexual pleasure.

 

Clever, compelling, and entertaining, The Widow of Valencia takes on universal themes of love, pride, and social standing, yet it remains unique in its daring portrait of intrigue and female sexuality. With the forthcoming translation, Lope de Vega’s one-of-a-kind play can finally be enjoyed by actors, directors, and theatergoers in the English-speaking world.

 

Jennifer L. Monti