Thanks to the perseverance of artistic director Hugo Medrano, GALA Hispanic Theatre in Washington, D.C., will produce the U.S. premiere of a little-known 1934 adaptation of Lope de Vega's La Dama Boba ("The Foolish Woman,") Feb. 11-March 21, with Press Night and Noche de GALA Feb. 13.
Medrano was reading the interviews of Federico Garcia Lorca in a volume of the poet's complete works when he discovered that on March 3, 1934 at the Teatro Comedia of Buenos Aires, Lorca had staged his own version of La Dama Boba. Fascinated by the thought of two literary giants, Lorca and Vega, collaborating on the same play, Medrano spent a year contacting colleagues in Spain, Argentina and the U.S. to obtain the adaptation. His persistence paid off when Professor Manuel Fernandez Montesinos of the Federico Garcia Lorca Foundation contacted Professor Juan Aguilere Sastre in Logrono, Spain, who was writing a book about the script and provided him with a copy.
Born in Madrid in 1562, Lope Felix de Vega Carpio wrote nearly 1800 plays, of which more than 400 are preserved. One of the playwrights dominating Spain's Golden Age, de Vega's comedy of errors, La Dama Boba, explores the lengths to which lovers will go to win their soul mates.
Medrano will direct a cast including guest artists Carlos Castillo from Venezuela as Laurencio and Ileana Brotsky from Argentina as Nise, with GALA company members Cindy Benjamin (as Finea), Luis Caram, Bienvenido Martinez, Javier Teran, Manuel Cabrera, and Leslie Yanez. Making a first appearance at GALA are Mario Corea, Horacio Mendez Iturbide, Santiago Murillo, and Vera Soltero.
GALA Hispanic -- "a theatre with a different accent" -- was founded in 1976 by Medrano to preserve and promote Hispanic culture in the U.S. and share Hispanic culture through the presentation of bilingual theatre. GALA's appearances outside Washington include performances at New York's Public Theatre, as well as internationally in Costa Rica, El Salvador, Venezuela, and Cuba. La Dama Boba will be performed in Spanish, with simultaneous English interpretation provided by actors on Friday and Saturday at 8 PM and Sunday at 4 PM at GALA, 1625 Park Road, N.W. For further information, call (202) 234-7174. -- by Barbara Gross