Diversifying the Classics | Women and Servants Meets a New Audience in New York
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Women and Servants Meets a New Audience in New York

On December 10, 2018, the New York Classical Theatre presented a well-received reading of Lope de Vega’s Women and Servants. With the support of the New York City Council’s Cultural Immigrant Initiative and Council Member Ben Kallos, and with special efforts by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, Actors’ Equity Association, and the Church of the Epiphany, the company was able to build on the success of last season’s reading of The Widow of Valencia, further acquainting both actors and audiences with the work of one the comedia’s great playwrights.

Actor Michael Earle Fajardo, who has played multiple roles in the two readings presented by New York Classical Theatre, expressed his thanks for being part of the initiative: “I’ve really enjoyed both plays and think diversifying the classics is a noble, worthwhile, and exciting enterprise.” 

Audience response to the readings was also enthusiastic, as one member expressed in a post-performance survey: “Loved the experience of the reading as it was my first one. Interesting concept to take plays that have been recently translated from their original language and bring them to the audience performed by an A+ cast.” In general, comments from the audience indicate a growing appreciation for and interest in the diversification of the canon, and the hope that these plays may someday receive full productions.

In addition to introducing a receptive audience to the twists and turns of women and servants outsmarting masters in Lope’s play, the event also became a wonderful opportunity for collaboration among institutions committed to diversity. The College Board’s Staff Alliance for Latino Success & Achievement brought a group to the reading and also hosted a post-show cocktail reception. 

We extend our sincere congratulations to the company, and hope that this success leads to more performances of the comedia by New York Classical Theatre, who have done a fantastic job of bringing these plays to their community over these last two seasons.

Laura Muñoz

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