The Bashful Man at Court
SPAIN arts & culture and the Shakespeare Theatre Company present a reading of Tirso de Molina’s pastoral Golden Age masterpiece, “The Bashful Man at Court.”
The Duke of Avero has the two most beautiful daughters in Spain, and the forest outside his palace abounds with endless intrigues. When Mireno, a bashful shepherd, assumes a noble disguise and comes to seek his fortune, he finds a world of duels and disguises, doubts and desires. But this “bashful man at court” has no idea of the secret that he himself bears. In Tirso de Molina’s pastoral Golden Age masterpiece, presented with artists from The Shakespeare Theatre Company, all the world is a stage and all of us wear masks in order to discover our deepest passions.
Written sometime between 1606 and 1612, The Bashful Man at Court is a classic marriage comedy at heart, this play also contains some of Tirso’s strongest female characters, and (like Lope’s El Perro del Hortelano) explores the power of love to break down the rigid divisions between social classes.
Golden Age poet, writer and playwright Tirso de Molina, together with Lope de Vega and Calderón de la Barca, is part of the golden triad of Spanish Baroque theatre. Born in Madrid in 1579, he was a Mercederian monk, but not much is known about his life. The most powerful dramas associated with his name are two tragedies, El burlador de Sevilla (The Seducer of Seville) and El condenado por desconfiado (The Doubted Damned), two very important philosophical works. El burlador de Sevilla first introduced into universal literature the theme of the libertine Don Juan Tenorio, and El condenado por desconfiado deals with the topic of man’s arrogance compared with God’s grace and the importance of free will. Tirso de Molina defended comedy as a complete show and playwrights’ job to entertain.