Golden Ages: The Theatre of England and Spain in the Age of Shakespeare and Cervantes
The 19th Annual Theatre Forum presents performances, recitals, lectures, research projects and lecture-demonstrations to compare the Spanish theatre of Miguel de Cervantes and the English theatre of William Shakespeare.
Both of these writers lived in a glorious time, both dominated their national theatres, and both died in 1616, four hundred years ago this year.
A highlight of the forum is the presentation of prize-winning student research papers. The Theatre Forum put out a call to undergraduate students for research papers that would shed light on the relationship between the English and Spanish theatre of the late 16th and early 17th centuries.
Another highlight of the forum is the world premiere of a one-act comic opera on Saturday at 1:30 pm. The opera, called Two Cells in Sevilla, was written by father and son team Marec Béla Steffens and Walter Steffens and is co-produced by The Greenbriar Consortium in Houston, Texas. The opera’s characters include Cervantes, his great colleague Tirso de Molina (creator of the Don Juan legend), and features a letter from their English contemporary William Shakespeare.
Cervantes and the Golden Ages of Spanish Theatre
- On Friday, November 4 at 7:30 pm.
- Lecture by Felicia Londré.
Londré, an award-winning author and professor from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, presents a thrilling video lecture introducing our audience to the highlights of Golden Age theatre and culture in Spain and England. The end of the 16th and the early years of the 17th century found Spain and England to be rivals in exploration, in the settlement of the New World, and in literature, music and art. Comparing the Spanish Miguel de Cervantes and the English William Shakespeare leads to a deeper insight to the work of each.
Zarzuela: Music and the Spanish Opera
- On Saturday, November 5 at 10:30 am.
- Performance / talk by Ann Thompson.
Thompson has unearthed a Spanish musical treatment (a zarzuela) of Cervantes’s great work, Don Quixote. Her lectures, which she prefers to call simply talks. have entranced audiences in Houston and the surrounding area for three decades or more. Here she introduces the particular form of musical operetta (a kind of comic folk opera) popular in Spain but less known in other countries.
Interludes, Songs, and Musical Accompaniments: Lope de Vega and Music in Spanish Play Construction
- On Saturday, November 5 at 8:30 pm.
- Recital / lecture.
Much is known of the uses of music in the theatre of Shakespeare. The Spanish theatre also incorporated music in less familiar ways. In this talk, Vern Sutton, performer, teacher, and researcher, details the many ways Spanish playwrights found music to be essential in their productions.
Revisiting Don Quixote, The Man of La Mancha
- On Sunday, November 6 at 10:00 am.
Enjoy songs from Man of La Mancha, the musical inspired by Miguel de Cervantes and his seventeenth-century masterpiece Don Quixote. The 1964 musical tells the story of the “mad” knight, Don Quixote, as a play within a play, performed by Cervantes and his fellow prisoners as he awaits a hearing with the Spanish Inquisition. The storyline combines a semi-fictional episode from the life of Cervantes with scenes from his novel. The musical was adapted from Dale Wasserman’s non-musical 1959 teleplay I, Don Quixote, with lyrics by Joe Darion and music by Mitch Leigh. The Impossible Dream (The Quest) is the most popular song from the production. Join the cast on the Festival Concert Hall stage as they perform selections from the award-winning Man of La Mancha.