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“Enrique Octavo” / “Henry VIII” (Calderón, 1627): La comedia y la corona / A Spanish Play of Power
The Bilingual Foundation of the Arts is staging one of Calderón’s most profound tragedies in Los Angeles April 13-22. This tragedy dramatizes the psychological downfall of Henry VIII (Enrique Octavo) whose sensual passion makes him vulnerable to the shrewd manipulation of his ambitious minister Wolsey (Volseo) and the seductive and no less ambitious Anne Boleyn (Ana Bolena). Both induce the monarch to break up his marriage with Catherine of Aragon—daughter of the “Reyes Católicos” Isabelle and Ferdinand of Spain and the aunt of the reigning Spanish king and Holy Roman Emperor Charles V. Since the divorce will contribute further to the rift in the Christian unity of Europe already begun by Luther, the play is titled in archaic Spanish La cisma de Ingalaterra, or The English Schism. It focuses, however, not on religious issues but on the perversion and abuse of power against which Calderón aims to warn his own king, Philip IV and his prime minister, the Count-Duke of Olivares. The play illustrates how the ruler’s unchecked passions lead to not only psychological but also political upheaval and tragic deaths. The adapted title for the play, Enrique Octavo y Catalina de Aragón, resonates more effectively with today’s public.
This Calderonian tragedy lends itself to interesting comparisons with Shakespeare’s Henry VIII and allows students the great opportunity to view a highly artistic reworking of a familiar plot from a totally different cultural perspective—that is, from the Spanish point of view. The characters of Henry VIII, Wolsey, Anne Boleyn, Catherine of Aragon and her daughter Mary, are powerful examples of human frailties whose devious or sincere, but thoughtless, interactions mesmerize the audience with the increasingly complicated tension that leads to tragedy. These sixteenth-century English characters on the stage reflect their counterparts offstage in the Spanish court almost one hundred years later and point to today’s rulers who blindly abuse power for their own personal gain. Indeed, the Spanish play remains a classic due to its perennial relevance. Students thus learn about history, as they are entertained with one of the highest forms of dramatic art by one of Spain’s most accomplished playwrights, Calderón de la Barca.
Organized by Susana Hernández Araico and sponsored by the UCLA Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies and Asociación Internacional de Teatro Español y Novohispano de los Siglos de Oro (AITENSO)
Advance registration is requested. Please click here to complete the short registration form. No fee. Limited seating.
Massimo Ciavolella (UCLA), CMRS Director and Professor of Italian
Susana Hernández Araico (California State Polytechnic University, Pomona), Symposium Organizer
|Fausta Antonucci (Università degli Studi Roma Tre)
“Métrica y estructura dramática de La cisma de Inglaterra”
|Juan Manuel Escudero (Universidad de la Rioja / Universidad de Navarra)
“La cisma de Ingalaterra: Calderón, Rivadeneyra y la Historia como argumento dramático”
|Lillian Von der Walde (Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana, Iztapalapa)
“Tratamiento estilístico de la pasión amorosa en La cisma de Ingalaterra de Calderón de la Barca”
|Miguel Zugasti (Universidad de Navarra)
“Dos reyes despóticos en Lope de Vega y Ruiz de Alarcón”
|Marta Albalá Pelegrín (California State Polytechnic University, Pomona)
“Causa Anglica: On Early Plays, Pasquinades and Social Discontent”
|Javier Patiño Loira (UCLA)
“Queens and Royal Favorites: Privanza and Access to the King in Calderón’s La cisma de Inglaterra”
|2 scenes from the play “Enrique Octavo y Catalina de Aragón” by actors under the direction of Margarita Galbán, Artistic Director of the Bilingual of the Arts
|Panel Discussion : Margarita Galbán (BFA), Barbara Fuchs (UCLA), Michael Hackett (UCLA)