▼ (30) Diosdado/Pedrero/Dorado – Staging Terror: Madrid 3/11
STAGING TERROR: MADRID 3/11. Plays by Ana Diosdado, Paloma Pedrero and Yolanda Dorado.
Translated by Karen Leahy and Phyllis Zatlin. 2007. Spanish premiere: 11 March 2005 (the anniversary of the terrorist attack), Círculo de Bellas Artes, Madrid.
HARIRA by Ana Diosdado Translated by Karen Leahy
In her brief piece entitled Harira, Ana Diosdado reflects on the 3/11 tragedy from the female perspective of family members of both the victims and the terrorists of that fateful day in Madrid. It is the morning of the attack, and just prior to the rush-hour bombing, we learn that Carmen’s husband is on one of the commuter trains. Upon the arrival of Carmen’s immigrant housekeeper Amina, it is revealed that Amina’s son and nephew also took the train that morning.
(Ana el once de marzo), by Paloma Pedrero
Translated by Phyllis Zatlin
Pedrero views the horror of the March 11, 2004 terrorist attack in Madrid from the perspectives of four women whose husband, sons or lover have been injured or killed in the bombing of the trains in Madrid. The several episodes variously reveal reaction to the television coverage, futile attempts at reaching a missing person by cell phone, anxious waiting in the hospital, and, in the case of an elderly mother, the rejection of a charitable effort to keep her from learning the truth about her son. The name "Ana" shared by three of them reinforces the common suffering caused by the slaughter. Relecting the fact that many of the victims that day were immigrants headed to work, the fourth woman is a Romanian whose limited knowledge of the language does not prevent her from understanding the pain of her potential loss and that of the Ana with whom she waits in the hospital.
5 women and two offstage voices (1 male, 1 female)
4 locations, which may be suggested with minimal props
American English-language premiere: August 2006. Dir. Anjali Vashi, New York City.
Contact translator: Phyllis Zatlin. Phone: 732-238-5729 or 920-823-2013; Fax 732-932-9837; firstname.lastname@example.org; or author through SGAE
Oxygen (Oxigeno), by Yolanda Dorado Translated by Karen Leahy
Oxygen explores the emotional consequences of the blasts on ordinary people traveling on the ill-fated trains that morning. Dorado creates three brief scenes featuring three characters: two women caught in the blast and struggling to come to terms with what has just happened, and a psychologist who has volunteered his assistance to the victims. Oxygen suggests that true survival is achieved not by returning to a previous stability, but by accepting the fact that life has forever changed and will proceed tentatively thereafter.
Ana 3/11, performed in New York and directed by Anjali Vashi. KK Moggie as Ana 1. August 2006.
▼ (29) Itziar Pascual – Gone Astray: Three Plays
No. 29 Itziar Pascual: GONE ASTRAY: THREE PLAYS Translated by Phyllis Zatlin. 2006.
Pascual (b. 1967) figures among the growing number of young women playwrights in Spain who are reaching audiences primarily through university and small fringe theatres. Various of her works have been awarded prizes and appear in important collections of plays by younger authors.
An adolescent girl befriends a homeless cat and persuades her mother to let her keep it. While the girl rebels against her off-stage parents, she fails to heed the young veterinarian's warnings about Meowless's need for independence. Comic short play, divided into several scenes, that reveals adolescent and cat psychology.
2 male and 2 female roles (including 2 actors who portray cats).
No set required; scene changes may be established by props and lighting.
Performed at Royal School of Dramatic Arts, Madrid, 1997, dir. Natalia Menéndez, and at University of Murcia, 1998.
Holiday Out (Postcard from the Sea) (Holliday Aut (Postal de mar)
Soledad is just returning from a week's vacation only to discover that her suitcase has not arrived at the airport with her. In the ensuing monologue, divided into various scenes with different interlocutors, she goes through feelings of loss, moments of indignation and rage, and even finds herself accused of smuggling. Her typical bad vacation experience is both comic and poetic, and at times philosophical.
1 woman. No set. Minimal props.
Holliday Aut (Postal de mar) was first performed at an international festival of fringe theatre in Madrid, 1996. Dir. Adolfo Simón. It has been revived numerous times in Spain. Premiere of English translation Cabaret Theatre, New Brunswick, NJ, April 2002.
Ten short scenes relating to the question of political exile and refugees. Each scene features two women characters, usually of contrasting ages or social class. Some roles could be doubled.
20 female roles: 4 elderly, 6 middle-aged, 8 young, 2 teenage
10 settings, each of which may be suggested by minimal props.
Castaways (Varadas), performed in Madrid and directed by Victoria Panigua, 2006. Photo by Eduardo Sánchez de Rojas.
▼ (28) Concha Romero – A Saintly Scent of Amber
No. 28 Concha Romero: A SAINTLY SCENT OF AMBER (Un olor a ámbar) Translated by Karen Leahy. 2005.
This historical drama deals with the aftermath of the death of the sixteenth-century Carmelite nun, mystic and writer, Saint Teresa of Avila. The struggle to retain the holy relics constituted by her body is related through the use of metafictional devices and feminist discourse.
2 simple sets, representing locations in the convent
World premiere: Dir. Pablo Calvo. Ateneo, Madrid, 1984. The work has received multiple performances in various locations in Spain and in 1996 was staged by Les Anachroniques in Toulouse, France.
A Saintly Scent of Amber. Alba de Tormes, Spain. 2002. Dir. Miguel Nieto. Photo courtesy of Concha Romero.
▼ (27) Ignacio del Moral – Dark Man's Gaze and Other Plays
No. 27 Ignacio del Moral: DARK MAN'S GAZE AND OTHER PLAYS (La mirada del hombre oscuro, Papis & Oseznos)
Translated by Jartu Gallashaw Toles. 2005.
Ignacio del Moral (b. 1957) has been an important author of the Teatro Alternativo (fringe theatre) in Madrid for a number of years. He is also well known as a writer of filmscripts. In 1991 La mirada del hombre oscuro was awarded the first annual prize of the Sociedad General de Autores de España. The other two plays included in this volume are short pieces that were first staged in 1992 as part of a highly-acclaimed production called Precipitados.
DARK MAN'S GAZE
In this tragicomedy, Del Moral combines humor, fantasy and reality to give a universal picture of immigration and racism in today's world. Two Africans wash up on an isolated beach in Spain, where they are discovered by a Spanish family. Ombasi knows only three words of Spanish, and his friend--also a speaking role--has drowned. But those factors form only a partial explanation for the problems in communication between the black and white characters.
A beach with dunes, largely defined by sound and light
3 men (1 white and 2 black)
World premiere: Dir. Ernesto Caballero. Sala Olimpia, Madrid, 1993.
A MOMMY AND A DADDY
This short piece is a bittersweet slice of life. A young man and a young woman meet casually in an urban square where they bring their babies for outings. Their conversation is laced with humor but yet reveals the frustrations and disappointments of their respective lives.
A single set, representing a small park or open city space
World premiere: Dir. Jesús Cracio. Sala Olimpia, Madrid, 1992.
At nightfall, three inebriated adolescents alternately share laughter and come to blows. Trapped in an inhospitable urban environment and unsure about their futures, they express universal, existential anguish.
A single scenic space, representing a vacant lot
3 young men
World premiere: Dir. Jesús Cracio. Sala Olimpia, Madrid, 1992.
Dark Man's Gaze. Sala Olimpia,1993. Dir. Ernesto Caballero. Photo courtesy of Centro de Documentación Teatral.
▼ (26) Cristina Fernández Cubas – Blood Sisters
No. 26 Cristina Fernández Cubas: BLOOD SISTERS (Hermanas de sangre).
Translated by Karen Denise Dinicola. Scheduled for publication, 2004.
Cristina Fernández Cubas (b. 1945) is among contemporary Spain's most distinguished writers of narrative, She has achieved international acclaim in particular as author of short stories in the fantastic mode. Although she has had a strong interest in theatre for many years, Hemanas de sangre (Blood Sisters) is her first play.
Blood Sisters, a drama in two acts, portrays the reunion of seven women, now in their forties, who attended Catholic boarding school together as children. Prompted by the showing of an enhanced home movie from the day they were last together, the reunion quickly moves away from anticipated subjects for discussion to focus instead on an intense and suspenseful psychological exploration of repressed guilt. The play provides an effective vehicle for ensemble acting, with constant interaction among the characters.
Seven women, in their forties.
Two waiters (These minor roles could be played by women rather than men)
Two sets. A private dining room in a fancy restaurant and an adjacent garden. The showing of a movie in the first act is an essential element of the play.
Hermanas de sangre has been made into a movie for television by Massa d'Or Production (executive producers Isona Passola and Lluís Ferrando), in both Castilian Spanish and Catalan versions. The Castilian version was first shown at a film festival in 2002 and then aired nationally on Via Digital in March 2003. The stage play has not yet received a full performance but is under consideration in Spain and, in English translation, in the United States.
Hermanas de sangre, movie made for television. Photo courtesy of Massa d'Or Production.
▼ (25) Sergi Belbel – Blood
No. 25 Sergi Belbel: BLOOD (La sang). Translated by Marion Peter Holt. Scheduled for publication: 2004.
Sergi Belbel (b. 1963), is among the most widely-recognized playwrights and directors not only in his native region of Catalunya but throughout Spain. His light satire After the Rain won the Molière prize in Paris for best comedy of the year in 1999 and has been staged as well in London and New York. Far different in tone is Blood, a disconcerting view of torture by terrorists.
Belbel's drama deals with a woman who is taken hostage and is subjected to a series of amputations while the terrorists await ransom from her husband. Ultimately she is put to death. The play nevertheless ends on a note of hope.
Six women (whose roles may be played by three actors)
Five men (whose roles may be played by two actors)
Two little girls (whose roles may be played by one child)
One interior and three exterior locations (which may be represented with minimal scenery and props)
Blood had its premiere in February 1999 at the Sala Beckett in Barcelona. It was directed by Toni Casares and featured Marta Angelat in the role of the kidnapped woman.
The hostage and the little girl in Blood, Sala Beckett, Barcelona. February 1999, dir. Toni Casares. Photo courtesy of Sala Beckett.
▼ (24) José Sanchis Sinisterra – The Siege of Leningrad
No. 24 José Sanchis Sinisterra: THE SIEGE OF LENINGRAD (El cerco de Leningrado).
Translated by. Mary-Alice Lessing. 2003.
José Sanchis Sinisterra, born in Valencia in 1940, is one of the most respected contemporary playwrights of the Spanish language. He is also a distinguished director, theoretician and teacher. The Siege of Leningrad, like Ay, Carmela!, is part of the author's "trilogy of the empty stage." It refers, metaphorically, to the fall of the Berlin Wall.
Two old actresses reside in an abandoned theatre that will soon be destroyed to make way for a ramp to a parking garage. At first they are simply engaged in finding what remains of their past. The theatre had been home to their socialist collective dedicated to Marxist principles. But it had been closed after the mysterious death of the company's leading actor, who had been married to one of the women and was having an affair with the other. Priscilla, the wife, holds no grudges against Natalie; their focus now is on finding ways to preserve the theatre, their past, and their socialist ideals. As they rummage through the memorabilia and old costumes, they gradually unravel secrets from their history they had not known. When they unearth a copy of The Siege of Leningrad, the play their company was producing when it closed, their memories and their realities are shattered forever.
Two women, of advanced years.
One set: a bare stage.
The Siege of Leningrad had its premiere on 10 March 1994 at the Teatro Barakaldo in Bilbao, Spain. It was directed by Omar Grasso and starred Nuria Espert and María Jesús Valdés. Following a tour in Spain and Argentina, in October 1994 it reached Madrid, where it was performed at the María Guerrero National Theatre. In French translation, it was performed at the Colline National Theatre in Paris 3 May to 22 June 1997. The French production was directed by Dominique Poulange and starred Judith Magre and Emmanuelle Riva.
María Jesús Valdés and Nuria Espert in The Siege of Leningrad, María Guerrero National Theatre, Madrid. October 1994, dir. Omar Grasso. Photo: Manuel Martínez Muñoz.
▼ (23) Beth Escudé i Gallès – Killing Time and Keeping in Touch
No. 23 Beth Escudé i Gallès: KILLING TIME (El color del gos quan fuig).
Translated by Bethany M. Korp, and KEEPING IN TOUCH (La lladre i la Sra Guix).
Translated by Janet DeCesaris. 2003.
Killing Time presents the cruel and yet tender relationship of two women, one elderly and one young. They have lived their lives together through classic tales of mother and daughter-in-law and now embark upon one last story as they approach their definitive separation.
Keeping in Touch also deals with the relationship of an old woman and a young one. Their unusual friendship develops over a period of years via the cell phone that the young woman had stolen from her elderly victim.
In both Killing Time and Keeping in Touch, Escudé i Gallès provides snapshots into the complex worlds of her characters. And like short stories, these two brief plays are able to capture insightful images of a vaster universe.
Both plays may be performed with minimal props.
The casts each consist of 1 old woman and 1 young woman.
El color del gos quan fuig (Killing Time) was first performed as a staged reading at the Centre d'Estudis Catalans in Paris in April 1997, directed by Sonia Abella. It received its first stage production at the Sala Beckett in Barcelona in May 1997, under the direction of Beth Escudé i Gallès. It has also been performed in Spanish, French and Italian.
La lladre i la Sra Guix (Keeping in Touch) was originally written as a radio play and was first aired in 1999 on Catalunya Ràdio in the series "Els espais dramàtics," directed by Dolors Martínez.
Itziar Ortega and Beatriz Fernández in Pullus (Killing Time), Sala Galileo,
Madrid. September 2001, dir. Adolfo Simón. Photo: Benito Lorenzo.
▼ (22) Eduardo Galán and Javier Garcimartín – Inn Discretions
No. 22 Eduardo Galán and Javier Garcimartín: INN DISCRETIONS (La posada del Arenal).
Translated by Leonardo Mazzara. 2002.
Parody of Spanish Golden Age and Shakespearean drama that utilizes all the conventions of Western comedy: a shell game of identical trunks, clever disguises, multiplication of mistaken identities, cross-dressing, acrobatic feats, and physical comedy. Yet, despite the comedy, Inn Discretions promises more than mere farce. There is a dark side to this play that seems at first glance so much ado about nothing. Galán and Garcimartín write a sharp satire on the exaggerated importance of money in a social context of economic inequality. Farce thus comments on greed.
One set, suggesting interior of two-story inn
4 young men (one of whom performs acrobatic stunts), 1 old man, 3 young women
World premiere: Dir. Fernando Rojas, 16 February 1990 by the Compañía Teatro del Arte at the Teatro Cervantes in Alcalá de Henares. Repeated performances in Madrid and surrounding region, 1990 and 1993.
La posada del Arenal (Inn Discretions), Alcalá de Henares, 1990. Dir. Fernando Rojas. Set and costumes designed by Lorenzo Collado.
▼ (21) Juan Mayorga – Love Letters to Stalin
Juan Mayorga: LOVE LETTERS TO STALIN (Carta de amor a Stalin).
Translated By María E. Padilla. 2002.
Juan Mayorga: LOVE LETTERS TO STALIN (Carta de amor a Stalin).
Translated By María E. Padilla. 2002.
Drama in 10 scenes that focuses on the frustration of a censored writer. Mikhail Bulgakov, who becomes obsessed due to the artistic silence that has been imposed on him, uncovers the depth of his emotional and psychological dilemma through a series of imagined, and at times comic, encounters with the diabolical figure of Stalin. A profound meditation on the tortured relationship between power and art.
2 men, 1 woman.
One simple set.
World premiere: Dir. Guillermo Heras, Teatro María Guerrero, Madrid, 8 September 1999, in a production by the National Drama Center.
First performed in English: script-in-hand play series, New Jersey Repertory Company, Long Branch; 2 May 2004, dir. Alyse Rothman. First American stage production: Theatre Catalyst, Philadephia. 14 September 2004, dir. Anthony Hostetter.
Contact translator: María E. Padilla, 600 West 246 St., Apt. 1216; Riverdale, NY 10471. Phone: 1-718-796 3672; email@example.com; or author through SGAE: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Helio Pedregal as Bulgakov and Eusebio Lázaro as Stalin. Love Letters to Stalin, Madrid 1999. Dir. Guillermo Heras. Photo: Chicho, courtesy of Centro Dramático Nacional.