1983: The Uprising at Fuente Ovejuna

Translated by Joan Holden??? & the SFMT
Music by ??
Lyrics by ??
Directed by ??

FUENTE OVEJUNA featured Marie Acosta-Colon, Joaquin Aranda, Wilma Bonet,
Daniel Chumley, Brian Freeman, Sharon Lockwood, Esteban Oropeza,
Eduardo Robledo, Audrey Smith, Ruben Garfias, Bus Johnson, Latteta Theresa
& Richard Chenault
and band members Glenn Appell, Craig Knudsen & David Topham

View original playbill

Poster Design: Rachael Romero

The Uprising At Fuente Ovejuna is one of the most popular of the over 1500 plays written by Lope de Vega (c.1615) who is often referred to as the "Spanish Shakespeare". It dramatizes an historical incident which had already passed into popular legend and ballad by Lope's time. In the 1470's, the peasant villagers of Fuente Ovejuna, led by the women, rebelled and killed their feudal lord, who regarded not only the village crops, but village women, as his property. When a judge, sent by Ferdinand and Isabella, tortured men, women, and children of the village to learn the identity of the assassin, all made the same reply: "Fuente Ovejuna did it!" Rather than execute the entire village, the Catholic monarchs granted pardon.

The play's political meaning is debated today. It is given a revolutionary interpretation by political-minded artists, especially in Latin America, who perform it as a not-so-veiled attack on authoritarian regimes. Academic critics, particularly in the U.S. and Western Europe, point to the benevolent portrayal of the monarchs as proof that Lope intended to uphold the social order rather than attack it.

For the Mime Troupe, the question of whether Lope de Vega was being sincere or expedient in praising monarchy is of little importance compared to the play's relentless, gut-wrenching dramatization of the class conflict between the peasants and the lord.
Production Photo

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