Friday, October 27, 2006

Play "Los empeños de una casa" ("House of Desires", Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, 1683)

Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz was apparently a writer in Spain's "Golden Age" and I quite happened on this performance at Duke University of her play that literally translates to Trials of a Noble House. Somehow it was below my radar (but shouldn't have been!), but a friend had a ticket and invited me. Directed by Rafael Lopez-Barrantes (my friend's friend), Senior Lecturing Fellow in the Department of Theater Studies, the actors were all students. They did a superb job and I was very surprised in the post-performance discussion to hear how quickly they learned their parts - their performance seemed quite professional!

It was a delighful romp of a comedy that garnered a strong review by the local entertainment paper, The Independent Weekly. The inclined set design (credit to Amir Ofek) was amazing, with actors treading on what seemed like a big piece of parchment with "nonsense" words. The story itself was a romantic comedy of errors. One of the audience members turned out to be a local representative of the Mexican embassy, and she said in the post-performance discussion that the English translation and this production was surprisingly true to the original!


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