Ripe for Rediscovery: Dramaturgy and the Spanish Comedia nueva

5:30-7:00 p.m., Saturday, August 13

Session Sponsor: Dramaturgy Program
Session Format: case studies linked by hot-topics debate and moderated discussion

Session Title: Ripe for Rediscovery: Dramaturgy and the Spanish Comedia Nueva

How can you raid the richest script library in history -- and revolutionize theater-making today? A team of dramaturgs gives answers you can put into action.

Session Abstract:
The Spanish Siglo de Oro (c. 1580-1680) represents the richest untapped resource in world theater -- thousands of world-class plays, produced in a historical moment eerily like our own,
addressing issues central to history and productively connecting present-day Anglo and Hispanic perspectives. Yet plays from the Spanish Golden Age remain barely studied
(and even more rarely staged) in university theater programs.
This panel shows dramaturgs how to translate familiar skills into powerful tools for exploring Comedia nueva, seizing golden opportunities for dramaturgy.

  • Kathleen Jeffs introduces new developments at, where production summaries and translation extracts offer dramaturgs a one-stop-shop for a whole library of Spanish plays.
  • Janine Ann Kehlenbach contrasts directorial concepts in recent high-profile revivals of Spanish Golden Age texts, giving dramaturgs a crash course in bringing Comedia's production history up to date.
  • Sarah Brew tracks El amor m├ędico [Love, the Doctor] (1635) toward its English-language premiere, showing dramaturgs how to use their collaboration talents to participate in Comedia revivals.
  • Ben Gunter presents a Florida Humanities Council wiki which uses production protocols for Columbus' New World (1603) as springboards for launching public celebrations of Florida's Quincentennial (2013).
Mixing theory with practice, professional production with academic theater experience, UK resources with US practices, and dynamically prepared presentations with moderated discussions that explore big-picture questions
about intertextuality, accessibility, translation, and audience participation, these richly illustrated case studies empower dramaturgs to re-imagine theater's future through tapping into Comedia nueva.

Kathleen Jeffs, University of Oxford
How You Can "Speed Date" Dozens of Classical Spanish Comedias

Janine Ann Kehlenbach, University of Colorado-Boulder
How You Can Ride a Revolution in Classical Rep into Comedia Country

Sarah Brew, University of Massachusetts-Amherst
How You Can Collaborate Your Way into Translating a Golden Age Play

Ben Gunter, Florida State University
How You Can Rediscover the USA through Spain's First New World Play