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A Successful First LA Escena Festival

“Ladies and gentlemen, come right over! I can assure you this will be good for you! Tested for four hundred years without fail!” Fernando Villa opened last weekend’sREAD MORE

The Word from Stratford

Barbara Fuchs

Multidisciplinary performance artist Jamie Milay/Sah Milay wrote this spoken-word piece for “Engendering the Stage in the Age of Shakespeare and Beyond,”  a conference held at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival in Ontario, September 18-21, 2018. Challenge, clarion call, and opportunity:READ MORE

Playing with Swords at “Engendering the Stage” (September 18-22, 2018)

Melinda Gough and Peter Cockett (McMaster University) have put together a fantastic “Practice as Research” conference at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival in Ontario, exploring the performance of gender in early modern theater. Along with Clare McManus (Roehampton) and Lucy Munro (King’s College), these scholars are engaged in a broader project that reconsiders what we know about gendered performance in a transnational context. At Stratford, scholars worked closely with company actors as well as visiting artists, under the aegis of the Stratford Festival Laboratory, examining the resonances between theater history and contemporary explorations of gender on stage.READ MORE

Subtitles for EFE Tres’ El príncipe ynocente

One of our summer projects was to produce the English subtitles that will accompany EFE Tres’ performance of Lope’s El príncipe ynocente (The Innocent Princeat LA Escena on Saturday, September 22. This task presented exciting challenges. READ MORE

Final Countdown!

Less than two weeks until LA ESCENA, Los Angeles’ first Hispanic classical theater festival, opens at the Greenway Court Theater! From September 21-23, Los Angeles audiences will enjoy classic plays from the Spanish Golden Age presented in inventive new stagings.READ MORE

“The Comedia in Translation and Performance” Translation Series

Five years after the Diversifying the Classics initiative tackled its first translation of a Spanish Golden Age comedia, actors, readers, and theatergoers will be able to enjoy five new exciting translations in an accessible paperback format from Juan de la Cuesta, forthcoming in Fall 2018.

 

With the support of the UCLA Center for 17th and 18th Century Studies, the new series will offer access to unmissable Hispanic classics, never before published in English. The series will launch with Guillén de Castro’s The Force of Habit and Unhappily Married in Valencia; Lope de Vega’s A Wild Night in Toledo and The Widow of Valencia; and Juan Ruiz de Alarcón’s What We Owe our Lies. Each volume includes a general introduction to the comedia, as well as an introductory essay and annotations to each play. Additional information on each play can be found on the Diversifying the Classics website, by clicking on Initiatives > Original Translations. Also forthcoming from Juan de la Cuesta is our long-awaited bilingual anthology of monologues for actors, 90 Monologues from Classical Spanish Theater. Both the book of monologues and the translation series will be available for purchase directly from Juan de la Cuesta’s website, as well as from Amazon.

 

Our translation work continues apace, and we expect to publish at least one additional title every year. Our most current effort is Calderón de la Barca’s Amar después de la muerte (loosely translated as Love after Death, though the final title is still pending), which we hope to publish in 2019.

 

We hope you enjoy reading these fresh pieces as much as we have enjoyed translating them over the years.

Coming Soon: 90 Monologues from Classical Spanish Theatre

While Shakespeare’s name is widely recognized, few outside of Spanish-speaking countries or the world of academic Hispanism are familiar with his Spanish near-contemporaries Lope de Vega, Tirso de Molina, and Pedro Calderón de la Barca. Yet many dimensions of Shakespeare’s plays (lovers’ struggles, mistaken identities, complex plots, witty servants, but also isolation, death, social and moral downfalls) appear also in Spain’s theatrical Golden Age, the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, which includes plays as compelling and rich as those by the British playwright. 90 Monologues from Classical Spanish Theatre features excerpts of plays written by both Spain’s best-known classical playwrights, and less familiar writers such as Guillén de Castro and Juan Ruiz de Alarcón, as well as the protofeminist nun and intellectual from New Spain (modern-day Mexico), Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz.

 

The book of monologues, forthcoming from Juan de la Cuesta in summer 2018, is part of Diversifying the Classics, a multi-pronged initiative directed by Barbara Fuchs at UCLA that aims at fostering awareness and appreciation of Hispanic classical theater among actors, students, academics, and theatregoers alike. The primary aim of this bilingual facing-page anthology is to offer material for actors who are interested in expanding beyond the traditional Shakespearean corpus, while also opening the doors to an immensely rich and relatively unexplored body of work.

 

The anthology includes a variety of excerpts ranging from comic to tragic, and featuring a number of different characters: kings and peasants, adolescents and elders, fathers, lovers, and buffoons. 90 Monologues from Classical Spanish Theatre also offers many monologues written for and about women, as they address issues that are as personal as they are universal—love, marriage, self-respect, jealousy, and intellectual equality among others. While in Elizabethan and Jacobean England female roles were played by boys or young men, in Golden Age Spain those roles were played by women, which impacted the plays and monologues written for them. Famous examples include the speech by Laurencia, the young peasant heroine of Lope de Vega’s Fuente Ovejuna, who vividly describes her kidnapping and berates the village men for their cowardice, and one by Hipólita, the young protagonist of Guillén de Castro’s The Force of Habit, who says goodbye to her sword after living as a man for twenty years.

 

Golden Age playwrights created immortal characters whose lives and psychologies resonate far beyond their time and to the present day. Their monologues are malleable and versatile, while the translations, though faithful to the original, steer clear of anachronisms and reflect the lightness of spoken English, bringing the characters and themes home for modern-day actors and audiences. 90 Monologues from Classical Spanish Theatre will provide today’s actors, students, and theatergoers with a compelling reason to look beyond Shakespeare as they explore the work of extraordinary Hispanic playwrights who have been in the shadows for far too long.

 

Jennifer L. Monti

Collaboration between UCLA and UC-Riverside

On April 24, Erith Jaffe-Berg, Professor and Chair of UC-Riverside’s Department of Theatre, Film, and Digital Production, and the Latino/a Play Project, a talented group of undergraduate actors and directors, hosted us in Riverside. We were treated to fabulous performances of scenes and monologues from Hispanic classical theater. Given the students’ excitement about the comedia, we encouraged them to explore the tradition further as they develop the personal repertoires they will carry with them as the next generation of theater practitioners.

 

Our visit was about celebrating the enthusiasm of scholars and actors for early modern Spanish theater and laying the foundation for future collaborations. As UC-Riverside’s LPP explores the classical corpus for future projects, we will look forward to helping them select a play that tackles the social and political issues they want to put on stage. We also look forward to possible collaborations to bring the comedia to Riverside schools.

 

We are thrilled to be working with Professor Jaffe-Berg and her students, and we congratulate them for the important work they do to promote Latino/a theater!