Entremeses in Almagro
One of the great pleasures of my time at the Festival de Teatro Clásico de Almagro in July was encountering the local company, Fundación Teatro Corral de Comedias, and the Microclásicos program of entremeses (dramatic interludes) they presented at the Iglesia de las Bernardas. Although this was their first year as part of the Festival’s official programming, they are clearly old hands. Agile, sharp, full of wit and physical humor, their entremeses displayed perfect comic timing. Antonio León, who also directed, introduced the company and the entremeses with engaging mini-lectures on the form, interrupted with increasing urgency by company members who wanted to get things started. Although I watched about six or seven separate performances, this opening never got old—León’s passion for the form is clearly genuine, though the interruptions might be part of the shtick. Entremeses by Cervantes, Quevedo, Quiñones de Benavente, Lope de Rueda, and others allowed audiences to experience the range of the form. The scenery was a self-contained carro, which handily transformed into all kinds of configurations. Members of the company were also remarkably flexible, moving among half a dozen roles over the course of a day. I especially enjoyed their version of Quevedo’s “El marión,” which exposes so searingly the artificiality of gender constraints in its world-upside down. Also striking was Lope de Rueda’s “La generosa paliza,” which features servants taking immediate, physical revenge on a haughty master who punishes them arbitrarily. Its subversive force was palpable, and a good reminder of just how much occurred on the comedia stage between the acts.
Photos by Chechu Arribas