Our Translations - Diversifying the Classics
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THE COMEDIA IN TRANSLATION
OUR TRANSLATIONS
The UCLA working group The Comedia in Translation and Performance brings together academics, playwrights, translators, directors, and actors to translate and promote the plays. Since January 2014, we have translated one play a year, with additional plays translated by individual members of the workshop. All translations are available for download here and in print from Juan de la Cuesta. We welcome the use of our translations in performance. We have also published a bilingual anthology of monologues for actors: 90 Monologues from Classical Spanish Theater. 
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Love is the Greater Labyrinth

Love is the Greater Labyrinth is a madcap take on Greek mythology by famous Mexican author Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, now translated into English for the first time. A swashbuckling adventure, romantic farce, and morality tale all rolled into one, the play follows Teseo (Theseus) as he goes to meet his fate in the jaws of the monstrous Minotaur. Little does he know that his greatest test will come when he escapes one labyrinth and heads straight into the even more disorienting complications of love. Princesses Fedra and Ariadna pull him in two different directions—which path will he choose?

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The Force of Habit

Can gender be learned and unlearned? Félix and Hipólita, two siblings separated at birth, are brought up in the habits of the opposite gender. Kept close by his mother’s side, Félix is timid and sensitive. Hipólita, trained by her father on the battlefield, is fiercely attached to her sword. When the family is reunited, the father insists on making the siblings conform to traditional gender roles. Helped along the way by their respective love interests, the two gradually assume traditional positions, but their journeys expose the limitations of the gender system. By Guillén de Castro.

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What We Owe Our Lies

Mexican writer Alarcón imagines a Madrid in which a foreign suitor can wreak havoc with preexisting alliances. Urbanity and urban space are at the heart of this play: how do you sort out affections when the women you court live literally on top of each other, in a house with multiple stories? Parents remain offstage as sons and daughters must figure out their obligations to each other and to who they are, or at least who they say they are. By Juan Ruiz de Alarcón

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The Widow of Valencia

The Widow of Valencia introduces audiences to Leonarda, a young woman intent on protecting the freedom afforded by her husband’s death. Though she rejects her suitors by day, she makes her own arrangements by night, selecting a lover whom she deprives of the ability to identify her. Hers is a balancing act of appearances and disappearances, aspirations and desires. How long can she keep everyone in the dark? By Lope de Vega.

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A Wild Night in Toledo

In Spanish popular culture, the phrase “una noche toledana” refers to a long and sleepless night of wild, often amorous intrigues, or of unrelenting annoyances. In this funny, fast-moving play, young men and women cross paths at a hostel in a single night. Under the cover of darkness and disguise, they use ingenuity and humor to navigate personal desires, negotiate collective frustrations, and test whether they can rewrite their destinies alongside their identities. By Lope de Vega.

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To Love Beyond Death

To Love Beyond Death dramatizes the moment when ethnic, religious, and cultural differences turned Spanish subjects against one another in the 1560’s Rebellion of the Alpujarra. When the Crown attempts to eradicate Andalusi culture from Spain, the Moriscos–Muslims forcibly converted to Christianity, as well as their descendants–are put into an impossible position, and turn to armed resistance. The tragic story of the Morisco Tuzaní’s search for revenge after the death of his beloved Clara is as much about love and devotion as it is about civil war, and the violent emergence of a modern nation. By Calderón de la Barca.

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Women and Servants

Recently rediscovered in Madrid’s National Library, this comedia emerges from its 400-year sleep with a remarkable freshness: it presents a world of suave dissimulation and accommodation, where creaky notions of honor and vengeance have virtually no place. Lope depicts a sophisticated urban culture of self-fashioning and social mobility, as the titular figures outsmart fathers and masters to marry those they love. The sisters Luciana and Violante prefer their choices to men of higher standing, and are more than capable of getting their way. By Lope de Vega.

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The Courage to Right a Woman's Wrongs

This new translation of Valor, agravio y mujer brings Ana Caro’s stirring tale of a woman’s courage to an English speaking audience.

Written by one of the Spanish Golden Age’s most accomplished female playwrights, Ana Caro’s The Courage to Right a Woman’s Wrongs is a comedy of wild intrigue and lively ingenuity in which Leonor crosses geographical boundaries and defies social expectations of gender in order to bring her fickle lover, Juan, to justice and restore her lost honor.

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Unhappily Married in Valencia

Amazingly modern, this biting comedy shows what happens after the traditional happy ending. Two married couples air their disillusions with marriage, while the cross-dressed mistress of one of the husbands merrily manipulates one and all. With everyone attracted to the wrong person, innuendo, accusations, and revenge steal the show. By Guillén de Castro.

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90 Monologues from Classical Theater

Spanish classical theater offers one of the most popular and vibrant dramatic repertoires ever produced in the West, and deserves to be far better known in the English-speaking world. This dual-language anthology is intended to provide you with wonderful audition monologues, to be sure, but also to spark your interest in the plays included here and the broader canon that they represent. We offer the original Spanish as well as a range of translations in verse and prose, to give a sense of the tremendous variety available.