Spotlight on Contemporary Spanish Theater: Women Dramatists

  • Performing arts
  • Washington, D.C.
  • Mon, September 30 —
    Mon, November 18, 2019
Spotlight on Contemporary Spanish Theater: Women Dramatists

This new series presents works by contemporary Spanish female playwrights Paloma Pedrero, Laila Ripoll and Yolanda García.

Spanish theater is a reflection of the land where it is created: culturally rich, and diverse. Rooted in a strong tradition of theater coming from the XVI century, contemporary Spanish theater is a blend of voices and styles exploring the issues of our time.

Spotlight on Contemporary Spanish Theater is a new initiative organized by the Cultural Office of the Embassy of Spain, in collaboration with Estreno Contemporary Spanish Plays and AENY – Spanish Artists in New York to provide a platform for unheard stories to D.C. audiences.

Without question, among the most visible signs of change and diversity in Spanish theater today is the growing phenomenon called dramaturgas or “women dramatists” within a genre traditionally dominated by male dramatists, critics, and producers. This new chapter in Spain’s history of drama is founded on the collective experience of more than fifty years of artistic production by four generations of women in theater with leading roles as playwrights, directors, producers, etc. Their work appears on stages throughout Spain, and the translations of their plays in over 27 languages can be found in independent or commercial theaters around the globe.

Never in recent memory has there been such a dynamic and creative exchange among past, present and future Thespians of this gender. Their collective contribution to the dramatic arts not only reclaims but also gives recognition to the long-anticipated female perspective on history, myth, and present-day society.

In celebration of the countless contributions made by dramaturgas to Spanish theater, the 2019 Lecture Series will feature three plays by three of the most critically acclaimed women dramatists of Spain: Paloma Pedrero, Yolanda García Serrano, and Laila Ripoll.

Estreno Contemporary Spanish Plays

In the Other Room (En la otra habitación]

In the Other Room (2011), translated by Iride Lamartina-Lens (Estreno Contemporary Spanish Plays, vol.36, 2013), was a Finalist in the Best Play category of the 2012 Valle-Inclán Prize. This intimate, two-character play highlights the complexities of the ever-evolving mother/daughter relationship faced with the daunting challenges of the present time. It is a current story of an undocumented phenomenon still unfolding among today’s generation of mothers and daughters as they strive to integrate change into their relationship without forfeiting their sacred bond of solidarity and love. It rises out of the depths of feminine experience and insight as it dares to expose some of the darker aspects of the new-age mother/daughter relationship that is often threatened by rivalry, narcissism, and unrealistic expectations of one another.

Paloma Pedrero is recognized as one of Spain’s leading playwrights and directors. Author of more than thirty plays, spanning four decades of continuous production, her theater has been nationally and internationally acclaimed, translated into more than twenty languages, widely staged in major cities around the world, and published by top publishing houses like Cátedra. Over the years, Estreno Contemporary Spanish Plays has dedicated four volumes to her theater (volumes 6, 19, 30 and 36), thus distinguishing Pedrero as one of the most prominent and requested authors in the series.

The Border (La frontera) & The Lost Children (Los niños perdidos)

The Border (2004), translated by Karen Leahy (Estreno Contemporary Spanish Plays, vol.34, 2011), is a haunting two-character play that puts the spotlight on the intergenerational conflicts between two exiles –the ghost of a Spanish Republican grandfather exiled in Mexico, and his rebellious grandson itching to cross the southern border into the USA without documentation. It is a clash of memory/tradition versus economic hardship and individual autonomy.

The Lost Children (2005), translated by Karen Leahy (Estreno Contemporary Spanish Plays, vol. 34, 2011), takes place in an abandoned and dilapidated Catholic orphanage in Spain. Through a poignant combination of realism, fantasy, black humor, and a heavy dose of the macabre, this four-character tragicomedy weaves in and out of a painful present, and an even darker past. It reveals the hidden abuses suffered by the most vulnerable victims of the Spanish Civil War (1936-39) and the Franco dictatorship –the young children of Republican families.

Laila Ripoll, winner of the Premio Nacional de Literatura Dramática 2015 for El triángulo azul, has been a constant presence on the Spanish stage for over two decades. She has committed both to the recovery of historical memory of a post-Civil War Spain, and to the respect for human rights, especially those of women.


Iceberg (2016), translated by Julio Perillán (Estreno Contemporary Spanish Plays, vol.40, 2017), is a raucous and humorous, four-character play that takes place on the last night of the ill-fated voyage of the Titanic. It is a comedy of errors, full of hilarious plot and character twists, that intertwines mischief, shady business, indulgence, and deceit.

Yolanda García Serrano, winner of the Premio Nacional de Literatura Dramática 2018 for Corre, is a well-established playwright, screenwriter, producer, and director. Her works offer a humorous perspective on sex, romantic relationships, gender roles, and sexual stereotypes.

SPAIN arts & culture aims to promote Spanish culture in the U.S. through fruitful cultural exchanges among institutions and artists, fostering positive bilateral relations between our two countries. Among its objectives, the program enhances shared knowledge on the cultural and creative industries and facilitates professional opportunities for artists, drawing on our common Hispanic heritage.

Estreno Contemporary Spanish Plays, co-edited by Iride Lamartina-Lens and Susan Berardini, is a non-profit literary press that publishes stage-worthy English translations of some of the best and most current plays from Spain. Since its inception in 1992, this annual series comprised of 42 volumes has been committed to showcasing dramatic works representing a plurality of voices, perspectives and artistic visions of more than fifty dramatists.

AENY – Spanish Artists in New York is a non-profit organization that promotes interdisciplinary artistic collaborations and intends to build a cultural bridge between Spain and the United States. AENY fosters a multidisciplinary collective of Spanish artists, joined by a common heritage and a mission to produce cutting-edge contemporary work that reflects the needs, longings, and uncertainty of the cross-cultural society in which we live.


Venue map

Former Residence of the Ambassadors of Spain, 2801 16th St NW, Washington, DC 20009


Presented by the Cultural Office of the Embassy of Spain in collaboration with Estreno Contemporary Spanish Plays and AENY – Spanish Artists in New York. Image courtesy of AENY-Spanish Artists in New York



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