Core Program 2019–20


Resituating the Comedia

—organized by Barbara Fuchs (University of California, Los Angeles)

Studies of the 17th-century Hispanic comedia have been reinvigorated by a strong turn to both early modern and contemporary performance. Scholars have also explored the transnational reception of the corpus, its translation, and its adaptation. This focus on performance and transnational reception has changed our understanding of the corpus, as of individual plays within it, by foregrounding questions of ideology and canonicity, situatedness and transformation.

Building on the efforts of UCLA’s Working Group on the Comedia in Translation and Performance and its Diversifying the Classics initiative, as well as the Clark’s strong holdings in both French and English reworkings of the comedia, this year-long program explores new contexts for Hispanic classical theater. In addition to presenting new research, the program will provide an opportunity for practitioners to encounter new plays, for working translators to share methodologies and interact with practitioners, and for all involved to become acquainted with the Clark’s collections in the history of European drama and performance.

Three conferences will highlight and examine new comedia studies, with its emphasis on performance and transnational reception. Roundtables and workshops with local scholars and practitioners, as well as sessions to present Clark materials, will complement the papers.

Conference 1: Making Classics: Canonicity and Performance
November 12–13, 2020

How does comedia fit within current conceptualizations of the theater canon and its classics? How has the field’s attention to performance transformed our understanding of the comedia? How does performance transform the canon, whether by highlighting new works or by re-envisioning them? This conference will take place in conjunction with the Nov. 13–15, 2020 LA ESCENA Festival of Hispanic Classical Theater at A Noise Within, in Pasadena.

Conference 2: Made for the Stage: Translation and Performance
February 5–6, 2021

How has a new generation of comedia translators taken up the challenges of performance? What are the best practices in translating for performance, and the available channels for dramaturgical collaboration? How do translators’ choices impact the literary and performance canon? This conference will include a workshop on translating for performance.

Roundtable I: Resituating the Comedia Roundtable: For a Theater of The Future, Part I
December 4, 2021

Resituating the Comedia Roundtable: For a Theater of The Future, Part II
January 15, 2021

As part of the Center & Clark’s year-long core program “Resituating the Comedia,” we have convened a number of key figures in the Los Angeles theater world—directors, playwrights, producers, scholars—for two roundtables to be held on December 4, 2020 and January 15, 2021 to examine the affordances of the pandemic closures in light of the long history of urban theatermaking and theater’s enduring role as a civic commons. Our goal is to produce a set of recommendations for the theater.