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Arcola's Spanish Golden Age Season

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by Bryony Harrison (subscribe)
Freelance writer and poet from London; if you would like to read my poetry, please check out my book, 'Poems on the Page', available from
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Classic Spanish Plays
arcola theatre, don gil or the green breeches, punishment without revenge, a lady of little sense, spanish golden age

Lasting for over one and a half centuries, the Spanish Golden Age lacked no shortage of time to produce excellent works of art, literature, and music. Amongst these include El Graco's The Dormition of the Virgin, Cervantes's Don Quixote, and Tomás Luis de Victoria's Officium Hebdomadae Sanctae. But what of theatre?

As part of a co-production, the Arcola Theatre is holding a Spanish Golden Age Season, in which they are show three classic, but rarely seen Spanish plays. Each translation is performed by the same group of then ensemble actors until the 15th March. Tickets cost £18 (£14 concessions) Monday to Saturday at 7.30pm or £16 (£12 concession) for Saturday matinees.

Don Gill of the Green Breeches

With similar themes of cross-dressing and mistaken identity, Don Gill of the Breeches is a comedy comparable to Shakespeare. When Dona Juana's lover leaves her for a wealthy woman, she puts on a pair of green breeches, pretends to be the cheating Don Martin, and woo his new mistress.

A Lady of Little Sense

A Lady of Little Sense is the Spanish equivalent of Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility. A wealthy businessman called Don Octavio, is trying to marry off his two daughters, Nise and Finea, but one is too clever for her own good, and the other too daft. In a hilarious set of events that include dancing lessons, dowries, and competing suitors, it is a lover story full of laughter.

Punishment Without Revenge

Punishment Without Revenge is a dark and thrilling drama with a bit of comedy thrown in. Originally written by Lope de Vega, it is regarded as the greatest tragedy of the Spanish Golden Age, and set in Renaissance Italy. The Duke of Ferrara has lead a wild bachelor life, and after womanising every beauty, his only son is a bastard. The Duke's subjects urge him to marry and produce a legitimate heir, so they send him blushing bride, Duchess Cassandra. There is lots of passion, but not between the Duke and Duchess.
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Why? Fun at the theatre
When: Until 15th March
Phone: 020 7503 1646
Where: Arcola Theatre
Cost: £16-£18 adult, £12-£14 concessions
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