Rethinking Classical Theater for Los Angeles Audiences

Published: August 17, 2018

Jessica Wolf | 

When we think of classical theater most of us are likely to call up images and ubiquitous lines from Shakespeare.

But he was not the only visionary playwright of the Renaissance — far from it.

Since 2014, Barbara Fuchs, UCLA professor of English and Spanish, has been collaborating across campus and with the Los Angeles theater community to highlight the golden age of Spanish theater through a program called Diversifying the Classics.

Every year graduate students from the humanities in the UCLA College and the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television thoughtfully collaborate to translate and perform works by Spanish playwrights.

Those efforts have brought forth LA Escena, Los Angeles’ first Hispanic classical theater festival. Performances will be held Sept. 21-23 at the Greenway Court Theatre, which is 6.5 miles from UCLA near Fairfax and Melrose avenues.

Mexican theater company EFE Tres will perform Lope de Vega’s “El príncipe inocente (The Innocent Prince),” a meditation on political power and culpability reimagined as a dialogue in a prison cell, and “El Merolico (The Mountebank),” a reworking of Cervantes’ comic interludes as delivered by a traveling performer in small-town Mexico (both will performed in Spanish, with English supertitles).

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