LA Escena 2022 – Diversifying the classics

  • Performing arts
  • Los Angeles
  • Mon, September 12 —
    Sun, September 18, 2022
LA Escena 2022 – Diversifying the classics

“LA Escena,” Los Angeles’ first festival of Hispanic classical theater, featuring staged readings, experimental re-imaginings, and adaptations of works from Golden Age playwrights on both sides of the Atlantic, comes back in person in 2022.

Diversifying the Classics promotes the vibrant, Spanish-language theatrical tradition developed on both sides of the Atlantic by playwrights such as Spaniards Lope de Vega and Calderón de la Barca, or Mexicans Ruiz de Alarcón and Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz. The project seeks to foster awareness and appreciation of Hispanic classical theater in Los Angeles and beyond, expanding the canon to include the heritage of U.S. Latino communities. While their work is based in Los Angeles, their goal is to reach theater professionals and audiences across the U.S., offering them the materials and tools to explore the rich tradition of the comedia.

The comedias of the Hispanic Golden Age are plays for the people; performances took place in open-air theaters, where attendees of all classes and both sexes commingled. At the same time the works are sophisticated urban dramas, offering pointed reflections on the constructed nature of class and gender as well as the performativity of social roles in the burgeoning city, issues that resonate with audiences today.

The Capulets and the Montagues (Castelvines y Monteses)

  • On Monday, September 12, 2022 at 4.30 pm (EST).
  • Online reading, premiere. Directed by Melia Bensussen. Buy tickets.
  • An online conversation with Barbara Fuchs, Dakin Matthews, and Rhonda Sharrah about Lope de Vega and Shakespeare will take place on Thursday, September 8, 2022 at 7:30 pm (EST).
  • Watch an online discussion about the play will take place on Thursday, September 15, 2022 at 7.30 pm (EST).

Golden Tongues I – Your Home in Me as I in You

  • On Friday, September 16, 2022 at 6 pm (PST). At the BlackBox Theatre, MacGowan Hall – UCLA.
  • In English. Buy tickets.

Amanda L. Andrei’s Your Home in Me As I in You is a very local adaptation of Lope de Vega’s groundbreaking El animal de Hungría (The Beast of Hungary, presented at LA Escena 2022 by Állatok). Andrei sets the scene in and around L.A., exploring the forces that urban dwellers most fear and offering their unique perspective on the wilderness-urban border. Andrei’s poetic text imagines what it might mean to truly find a home in another, beyond difference and received ideas of belonging.

Forces of Nature

  • On Friday, September 16, 2022 at 8 pm (PST). At the BlackBox Theatre, MacGowan Hall – UCLA.
  • In English. Buy tickets.

Forces of Nature is a modern adaptation of Guillén de Castro’s The Force of Habit. Set in an updated version of 17th-century Spain, this play tells the story of the fierce warrior Hipólita and her tender and artistic brother, Félix. When their arrogant and forceful father tries to change their gender performances, the siblings rebel. Will the father succeed in his plan to use love and honor to strong-arm them into the traditional woman and man he desires or will they show him what strength really means?

Golden Tongues II – Florence and Normandie

  • On Saturday, September 17, 2022 at 3 pm (PST). At the BlackBox Theatre, MacGowan Hall – UCLA.
  • In English. Buy tickets.

June Carryl’s Florence and Normandie adapts Calderón’s Amar después de la muerte (To Love Beyond Death). Set in Los Angeles in the early 1990s, as tensions boil and the threat of violence looms, two families entwined by both location and love find themselves living the American racial nightmare.

Golden Tongues III – Traces of Desire

  • On Saturday, September 17, 2022 at 4.30 pm (PST). At the BlackBox Theatre, MacGowan Hall – UCLA.
  • In English. Buy tickets.

In this adaptation, Lina Patel explores the central questions of Lope de Vega’s The Widow of Valencia as she takes on female agency and transgression, prejudice, and even the idea of womanhood itself.


  • On Saturday, September 17, 2022 at 7 pm (PST). At the BlackBox Theatre, MacGowan Hall – UCLA.
  • In Spanish with English translations. Buy tickets.

A co-production of Nao d’Amores (Segovia, Spain) and Spain’s Compañía Nacional de Teatro Clásico, Cervantes’ great tragedy offers an intimate look at how communities find meaning in the hardest of times. In Cervantes’ dramatization of the siege of Numancia, the interpersonal and the world-historical collide as daily life comes under fire.


  • On Sunday, September 18, 2022 at 3 pm (PST). At the BlackBox Theatre, MacGowan Hall – UCLA.
  • In English with small bits in Spanish. Buy tickets.

Fool-itos, performed by the Dragoncillo Puppet Troupe, is a family-friendly introduction to Spanish classical theater for children of all ages. Featuring shadow puppets on a unique traveling shadow puppet stage, the show takes advantage of its imaginative setting to emphasize the silliness of social conventions as interpreted by some of the most famous Spanish playwrights of the 16th and 17th centuries.

Spain and New Spain

  • On Sunday, September 18, 2022 at 4.30 pm (PST). At Courtyard, MacGowan Hall – UCLA.
  • Buy tickets.

The UCLA Early Music Ensemble unites musicians across borders of all types to present a program of music from Spain and Latin America, composed during the Renaissance and Baroque periods. The ensemble performs on period instruments in accordance with historical styles. This concert will feature music by Juan del Encina, Santiago de Murcia, Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, and others.

El animal de Hungría

  • On Sunday, September 18, 2022 at 7 pm (PST). At Little Theater, MacGowan Hall – UCLA.
  • In Spanish with English translations. Buy tickets.

In Lope de Vega’s El animal de Hungría (The Beast of Hungary), a queen is forced into the wilderness by her power-hungry sister. The fallen queen steals her niece and raises her as a feral girl, who then encounters human society for the first time when she grows up and falls in love. With its daring vision of female sexuality, and strong questioning of our ideas about civilization and its limits, Animal is an intriguingly feminist comedia. EscenaTe and Colectivo Állatok, a young company from Madrid devoted to discovering and producing neglected classics, bring their acclaimed production of Animal to LA Escena 2022.

About LA Escena

Since 2014, and under the direction of UCLA Professor Barbara Fuchs, Diversifying the Classics has been promoting the comedia to L.A. audiences and beyond by attending to issues of translation and adaptation, connecting academics with practitioners, and hosting performances.

Diversifying the Classics encompasses multiple initiatives: original translations, with all plays available on our website and in a publication series from Juan de la Cuesta; performances, including LA Escena Festival and staged reading series; Classics in the Classroom, a program to introduce the Hispanic classical theater to students via adaptations, the compilation of supporting materials, and connections with K–12 and arts educators, and Performance Studies Database, listing scholars in the field prepared to guide theater professionals approaching new and underrepresented texts.


Venue map

BlackBox Theatre, Macgowan Hall, 245 Charles E Young Dr E, Los Angeles, CA 90095

More information

LA Escena


Presented by UCLA with the support of the Cultural Office of the Embassy of Spain in Washington, DC



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