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Spanish Golden Age Theatre

Focusing on Calderón and his play "Life is a Dream"

Julie Bowman

on 19 October 2012

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Transcript of Spanish Golden Age Theatre

By Julie Bowman, Stacey, CasonJula, & Cynthia Spanish Golden Age Theatre "La Vida es Sueño" Pedro Calerón de la Barca Sources Spanish Golden Age Corrales ~Corrales were public open-air court yard theatres where the comedias (secular dramas) were staged. The area was similar to an Elizabethan public playhouse. ~There was a fee to enter the court yard area, and another fee to be seated. ~At one end of the yard was a projecting stage with trapdoors and devices for lowering divine characters; the back wall contained doors and windows and a curtained inner stage. ~The theater's patio, or pit, had benches around the sides, while the aposentos, or boxes, were window seats in houses overlooking the courtyard. Although men and women sat together in the best boxes, the remainder of the audience was divided by sex, with the uneducated women confined to their gallery. ~Calderón was born in 1600 in Madrid, Spain.
~When his mother was dying when he was only 10, her last wish was that he enter into a priesthood. Then when his father was on his deathbed when Calderón was 15, his father made her wish, a command for his son to follow. And although Calderón did not join a priesthood right away, he did at age 50. ~Before priesthood, Calderón experienced many completely different aspects of the workforce. He originally studied law (but no records of appearing in court), then he became known as a poet and a playwright, then as a soldier for the Spanish army. ~Calderón was 47 when his brother, Diego, passed away. Afterwards, Calderón had a son with a women unknown to us and gave his son to Diego's son to raise and take care of. Calderón then joined the priesthood as his parents had wished.
~He mostly stopped writing secular plays and began writing mythological dramas (religious plays) for the palace theatre. ~The play we are primarily focusing on, "Life is a Dream," was written when Calderón was only 35 years old.
~One critic writes in a 2002 article that "romance, tradition, honor, the search for reality, chivalry, the quest for the Self, and revenge are the thematic veins that intertwine to form the structure of Life Is a Dream." In theatre, Christianity and Moorish highly influenced many plays.
~Moorish was an Islamic group that ruled most of the Iberian Peninsula for about 500 years.
~The Moors brought Spain a stable and flourishing culture. They ruled much of Spain from 711 until the 1200s, when christian kingdoms drove them out. The Muslim culture had suppressed theatre, but it was now taking root in Spain as Christians began to use Religious dramas as propaganda. Since the church used theatre in this way, there was little friction between them.
~Christianity was the religious faith and doctrine.
~Secular plays did not begin until the 1500s Two Types of Acting Companies Spanish Dramas ~Sharing Troupes: The troupes were made up of men and women. Women were allowed on stage until 1587, but were then banned because the church was against it. In 1598 the Royal Council declared it okay for women to participate, ONLY if their husband or father was in the company, but they could not dress as the opposite sex. ~Salaried actors: Worked for a manager. ~During the Golden Age of Spanish drama, the Spanish public was theatre crazy! For one thing, the theatre, like T.V. today, created a fantasy world where the public could escape from life's everyday misery.
~Theatre's greatest popularity was in 1610- 1640.
~Theatre was also widely viewed as ambiguous and risky.
~Performances were not given in court regularly until the reign of King Philip III. ~Public theatres in Spain were known as Corrales. The 1st Corrales was built in Madrid and was called the Corral de la cruz. A few public theatres were also built in these cities. Performances began at 2:00p.m. in the fall and 4:00p.m. in spring and were required to end at least one hour before nightfall.
~Corrales were originally licensed to charitable organizations, which used performance to support hospitals and aid the poor.
The King of Poland’s astrologer tells him that his son will be a misfortune to the kingdom and will be a monster. So he puts Segismundo in a tower as a young boy and claims that he died with his mother in birth. When Segismundo is grown up though, his father confesses to the court that his son is still alive. So the court lets him have a chance to be king. But the first thing he does is throw a servant off of the balcony, so he is thrown back in jail and wakes up wondering if it ever really happened in the first place. But he later on assumes the thrown again, but goes into deep thought. "As he reflects in one soliloquy, 'For in the world, all are dreaming what they are.'"

But throughout this story, another side story is taking place. While the prince was locked up, two strangers (women dressed as men) came upon the prison and the guard recognized the sword to be his own. The guard's name was Clotaldo and the girl's name was Rosaura. Rosaura was suppose to marry Astolfo, but he wanted to marry his cousin Estrella, so that they could have the thrown. Clotaldo talks to the prince and the prince feels bad for everything. And he wants to help Rosaura, so he makes Astolfo marry her and the prince marries Estrella. Alice B. Fort & Herbert S. Kates. "Life Is a Dream." Life Is a Dream. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Oct. 2012. <http://www.theatrehistory.com/spanish/calderon002.html>. Gates, Anita. "NY Times Advertisement." NY Times Advertisement. N.p., 17 Nov. 2008. Web. 19 Oct. 2012. <http://theater.nytimes.com/2008/11/17/theater/reviews/17vida.html>. Alice B. Fort & Herbert S. Kates. "Life Is a Dream." Life Is a Dream. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Oct. 2012. <http://www.theatrehistory.com/spanish/calderon002.html>.
Gates, Anita. "NY Times Advertisement." NY Times Advertisement. N.p., 17 Nov. 2008. Web. 19 Oct. 2012. <http://theater.nytimes.com/2008/11/17/theater/reviews/17vida.html>.
La Vida Es Sueño Part 6 De 6. YouTube. N.p., 26 Aug. 2010. Web. 18 Oct. 2012. <
La Vida Es Sueño. Pedro Calderon De La Barca. YouTube. N.p., 11 Aug. 2011. Web. 18 Oct. 2012. <
"Las Comedias De Teatro En La Ilustración." Las Comedias De Teatro En La Ilustración » Corral De Comedias De Almagro. N.p., 2009. Web. 19 Oct. 2012. <http://blogs.ua.es/ilustracionycomedia/2009/01/15/corral-de-comedias-de-almagro/>.
LENGUA Y LITERATURA PRIMERO BACHILLERATO. Digital image. : TEATRO SIGLOS XVI Y XVII. CORRALES DE COMEDIAS. N.p., 17 Feb. 2011. Web. 19 Oct. 2012. <http://lenguaprimerbachilleratomaimonides.blogspot.com/2011/02/teatro-siglos-xvi-y-xvii-corrales-de.html>. Brockett, Oscar G. History of the Theatre. 2nd ed. N.p.: Allyn and Bacon, 1974. Print.
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