The Spanish Golden Age Season
One company, ten actors, three incredible plays...
The Spanish Golden Age Season brings to the stage three brand new translations of rarely-seen plays from the last unopened treasure-chest of world drama. This is a significant cultural event in the UK and a major innovation in the history of Golden Age translation and performance. After their premieres in Bath, the plays will be performed by our co-producers at London's Arcola Theatre and the Belgrade Theatre, Coventry.
Punishment Without Revenge, A Lady of Little Sense and Don Gil of the Green Breeches - one is a devastating tragedy, two are outrageous comedies and all three are extraordinary discoveries...
This autumn, the Ustinov has its own resident ensemble of ten actors, our largest company for our most audatious and ambitious season so far. Ten actors all playing a range of roles in these great plays from Spain, so as you come to see the plays over the season you will get to know these performers and see their great skill and versatility as they play ... masters in one play and servants in the next.
Laurence Boswell has brought back some of the very best actors who have already delighted you in the Ustinov's previous four highly-acclaimed and award-winning seasons, including Frances McNamee (The Phoenix of Madrid) Simon Scardifield (The Double) Katie Lightfoot (In The Next Room or the Vibrator Play) and Chris Andrew Mellon (In a Garden)
The Spanish Golden Age Company is Nick Barber, Jim Bywater, Hedydd Dylan, Annie Hemingway, William Hoyland, Katie Lightfoot, Frances McNamee, Chris Andrew Mellon, Doug Rao and Simon Scardifield
La Dama Boba (1613) by Lope de Vega, in a new translation by David Johnston. Directed by Laurence Boswell
A Lady of Little Sense is a big-hearted and hilarious romantic comedy which celebrates the power of love.
Nise and Finea are famous beauties. Their father, Don Octavio, a wealthy businessman, is doing his best to marry them off and an exotic collection of determined young suitors are competing for the prizes. The sticking point? Nise, the elder sister, is too clever for her own good, whilst younger sister Finea is notoriously stupid.
Can the family hide Finea’s shortcomings long enough to hoodwink a suitor into marriage? Surely the combination of a dancing master and a huge dowry will do the trick? The ploy is more successful than anyone might have anticipated…
Don Gil de la Calzas Verdes (1615) by Tirso de Molina, in a new translation by Sean O'Brien. Directed by Mehmet Ergen
Don Gil of the Green Breeches is an exuberant comedy which blends mistaken identity, role-reversal, ghosts and green trousers.
Dona Juana has fallen for the oldest trick in the book. The dashing Don Martin, the man she thought she was going to marry, has left her for the wealthy Dona ines. But Dona Juana is not the sort of woman to take this lying down…
She pulls on a pair of green breeches and sets off to Madrid in hot pursuit of Don Martin, assuming the same name he is using to woo his new lover - a strategy which will either cause a change of heart or complete chaos...
Written by Tirso de Molina, this deliciously anarchic and original comedy has been translated by Sean O’Brien, an award-winning English poet, critic and playwright. His prizes include the Somerset Maugham Award, the Cholmondeley Award, the Forward Poetry Prize and the T. S.Eliot Prize.
El Castigo sin Venganza (1631) by Lope de Vega, in a new translation by Meredith Oakes. Directed by Laurence Boswell
Punishment without Revenge is a dark and thrilling drama, an audacious blend of unbearable tension and delicious comedy, which both terrifi es and delights.
Regarded as the greatest tragedy of the Spanish Golden Age and the finest play of its presiding genius, Lope de Vega, this elegant work is set in the dangerous and glamorous world of Renaissance italy.
The Duke of Ferrara has lived a wild and unconventional life. An infamous womaniser, his only son, Federico, is a bastard whom he dreams will one day succeed him. When his subjects demand that he marry and provide them with the stability of a legitimate heir, the proud and beautiful Cassandra, Duchess of Mantua, is sent to be his bride.
But everything does not fall happily into place.
A passionate love develops - but not between the Duke and his Duchess - and, in a culture where honour is the highest virtue, there can be only one outcome…
PHOTOGRAPHS: Cristina Garcia Rodero