Rebecca Smith, Author at Diversifying the Classics
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Author:Rebecca Smith

Congratulations to Golden Tongues Playwright Lina Patel on Receiving the Cornelia Street American Playwriting Award!

The annual award is named for Cornelia Street in New York’s West Village, which has hosted some of the nation’s greatest playwrights. It recognizes an emerging playwright “of exceptional work ethic, character, and talent.”

We couldn’t be prouder! We are honored to have collaborated with Lina on Traces of Desire, her marvelous adaptation of Lope de Vega’s The Widow of Valencia, commissioned for the 2022 LA Escena festival and soon to be published by Bloomsbury in our forthcoming Golden Tongues anthology.

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RSA Grant for Collaboration with Red Bull Theater

DTC has received a Renaissance Society of America grant for Public Engagement Projects in Renaissance Studies, supported by the Gladys Kriebel Delmas Foundation. The grant, under the direction of Prof. Javier Patiño, will support our next collaboration with our long-term partners, Red Bull Theater of New York. As part of LA Escena 2024, Red Bull will present—in person in NYC and online—a staged reading of The Beast of Hungary, our brand-new translation of Lope’s exploration of female sexuality, the nature/nurture question, and what truly makes a family. Stay tuned!

Annotating Performance by Barbara Fuchs

Theatre dybbuk’s illuminated lecture format, which weaves together a scholarly lecture and performances by actors, recently offered me the opportunity to present Cervantes’ El retablo de las maravillas/The Marvelous Puppet Show to an audience unlikely ever to have encountered the text. Known for its deep dives and carefully considered productions under the able direction of Aaron Henne, theatre dybbuk uses the format as a research tool, and also makes the resulting recordings available through their podcast. Their most recent full production, The Merchant of Venice (Annotated) or In Sooth I Know Not Why I Am So Sad (2023), relied on a similar combination of text and commentary, with wonderfully inventive annotations offered by actors breaking the fourth wall, audio clips, and so forth.

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Preview: Grumelot’s Amar por ver amar

On Tuesday, April 23, Diversifying the Classics welcomed Carlota Gaviño, Iñigo Rodríguez-Claro, and José Pablo Polo of Grumelot Teatro for an online roundtable about their new production, Amar por ver amar o recuperar lo perdido. At the event, Grumelot performed a preview of their work-in-progress, an exploration of love and loss inspired by Lope de Vega’s comedy, El perro del hortelano. After the preview, we held a Q&A about Grumelot’s process and their next steps as they prepare to bring the production to LA Escena, DTC’s biennial theater festival taking place this September. Thank you again to Hispanex for making this production possible!

Setting A Precedent Takes Courage: Directing the first bilingual production at a PWI by Sylvia Cervantes Blush

Producing comedias is often a challenging discussion amongst my Latiné community  because of the irreparable harm brought on by Spanish colonialism, especially when  producing them at predominately white institutions (PWIs). Yet by not doing them we are silencing the collection of progressive works by artists like Ana Caro, who challenged political agendas, religious  ideologies, and societal norms and whose plays encourage present-day artists and patrons to look inward for personal and communal change. So, when Professor Margaret E. Boyle (specialist in Hispanic women’s literature and comedia history) invited me to work with her and her colleagues Professor Ireri Chávez-Bárcenas (musicologist in the early modern period) and Professor Germán Cárdenas-Alaminos (scenic designer) on Valor, agravio y mujer, the first bilingual theatrical  production in Bowdoin College’s 230-year history, I couldn’t say yes fast enough. Their passion and kindness jumped beyond the Zoom screen with a joyous welcoming spirit that promised a rewarding creative adventure.  

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Projects in the Works: MEX-Clásicos Spanish-Language Adaptations

In 2023, Diversifying the Classics received an Alianza-MX grant to expand our mission of
promoting Hispanic classical theater to collaborate with Mexican artists and educators. With this
grant, Diversifying the Classics partnered with Professor Gabriela Villanueva of the Universidad
Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) to create MEX-Clásicos with a team of UCLA graduate
students including Saraí Jaramillo, Rachel Kaufman, Galo Lopez, Rebecca Smith, and Sofía
Yazpik and postdoctoral fellow Isaac Giménez.

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The Marvelous Puppet Show: An Illuminated Lecture

In this illuminated lecture, Professor Barbara Fuchs addresses Miguel de Cervantes’s surprisingly timely take on the trustworthiness of media. How does who we are shape what we see and believe? And how do the purveyors of media manipulate those distinctions?

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“Don Quixote” on stage at UCI and now online!

Diversifying the Classics’ latest translation has been out adventuring from coast to coast, from Red Bull Theater in NYC to UC Irvine here in Southern California. Don Quixote de la Mancha—Guillén de Castro’s theatrical adaptation of Cervantes’ classic novel—recently delighted audiences for two nights at UCI, in collaboration with the New Swan Shakespeare Center and Brown Bag Theatre Company. 

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