Academic journal article Bulletin of Hispanic Studies

Remaking the Comedia. Spanish Classical Theater in Adaptation

Academic journal article Bulletin of Hispanic Studies

Remaking the Comedia. Spanish Classical Theater in Adaptation

Article excerpt

HARLEY ERDMAN AND SUSAN PAUN DE GARCÍA (eds). Remaking the Comedia. Spanish Classical Theater in Adaptation. Woodbridge: Tamesis. 2015. xix + 303 pp. ISBN 978 1 85566 292 6.

Harley Erdman and Susan Paun de García approach the topic of adaptation in both a textual and performance form. In their edited volume, scholarly work as well as performance as research are well represented in 26 essays by Comedia scholars, translators and theatre practitioners. This book is divided holistically in four parts, 'Theorizing', 'Surveying', 'Spotlighting', and 'Shifting'. Although this division is occasionally ambiguous and calls for a conceptualization in the preface, case studies featured in each chapter survey productive ways of adapting Comedia for current audiences.

Leading the first part of this book are two essays commissioned to Catherine Larson and Susan L. Fischer that provide a theoretical introduction to what entails remaking the Comedia. Larson proposes in her essay to overcome the tiresome discussion of authorial intention and directorial vision in light of adaptation theory, and eloquently asserts that the essays contained in this volume are a response to the complexity of the theatrical event. In a similar fashion, Fischer points to the role of the audience as a moving force that makes the remaking of the play necessary both on the page and on the stage. Alejandro González Puche and Laurence Boswell close this section with some thoughts based on their directorial experiences staging Comedia in Colombia, China, the UK and Spain. Their reflections on the challenges of cultural and linguistic specificity of their productions abound on the otherness of the texts. Boswell contends that his experience directing Lope de Vega's plays taught him to approach the staging as a remodel rather than a remake or a remix, for which he proposes a provocative training method that eventually could lead to the formation of a bilingual troupe in English and Spanish.

Performance tradition is a central point of Part two, in which Charles Victor Ganelin revisits nineteenth-century refundiciones, and Valerie Hegstrom and Amy Williamsen offer an informed survey of early modern 'dramaturgas' that reveal their scant presence on the stages of the US, the UK, Spain and Chile. A fact that Jason Yancey corroborates when he notices in his review of Chamizal Siglo de Oro Festival that only plays by Sor Juana and María de Zayas have been featured in the 40 years of its existence. Duncan Wheeler unearths the professional activities of Pepe Estruch. An exile in England and Uruguay, where he collaborated frequently with Margarita Xirgu, upon his return to Madrid to teach at RESAD, Estruch was mentor of a generation of actors and directors that transformed the performance of Comedia in Spain. …

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