After a delay due to COVID cases within the company, Fuente Ovejuna opens at Brooklyn's Polonsky Shakespeare Center May 23. Presented by Theatre for a New Audience, the 17th century drama by Spanish Golden Age playwright Lope de Vega has been translated into English by Adrian Mitchell. The translation's New York premiere began previews April 29 and continues through May 28.
Inspired by a historical incident, Fuente Ovejuna tells the story of how Laurencia, the daughter of the town mayor, holds her father and her town's leaders accountable for inaction after she is raped by a tyrannical commander and his men who come to terrorize the town. Her actions inspire the town to revolt as the town tries to come to terms with who should be held responsible.
TFANA's Founding Artistic Director Jeffrey Horowitz stated, “Fuente Ovejuna is about feminism, class, collective resistance, democracy, and human rights, but it was written long before the Declaration of Independence, the French Revolution, the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, and today’s #MeToo movement."
Leading the cast as Laurencia is Carmen Zilles (Epiphany), joined by Broadway's Barzin Akhavan (Network), Carlo Albán (Sweat), Jonathan Cake (Medea), José Espinosa (Take Me Out), and Ricardo Vázquez (The Inheritance). Also starring will be Jack Berenholtz (Nantucket Sleigh Ride), Ben Chase (The Far Country), Brenda Meaney (Indian Ink), Kenneth De Abrew (Measure for Measure), Jo Brook (Silent Sky), Octavia Chavez-Richmond (Pride and Prejudice), Paco Lozano (Much Ado About Nothing), and Trinity Rep Resident Acting Company members Stephen Berenson and Brian McEleney.
Director Flordelino Lagundino makes his Off-Broadway debut helming the production. Serving on the creative team will be scenic designer Afsoon Pajoufar, Tony-winning costume designer Linda Cho, Tony-nominated lighting designer Jiyoun Chang, choreographer and movement director Brian Brooks, fight choreographer J. David Brimmer, intimacy director and associate fight choreographer Dan O’Driscoll, dramaturg Jonathan Kalb, and voice director Andrew Wade. Composer and music director Paddy Cunneen will collaborate with the cast to create original music.
Lagundino, who serves as Producing Artistic Director of Theater Alaska, said in a statement “[Laurencia's] passionate plea to town leadership for action is a powerful testament to how individuals can make lasting change in the face of insurmountable odds. She emboldened a community to take action, a story that is relevant to the renewed calls for systemic change in our nation and for communities that have for generations felt voiceless.”
The May 7 evening performance will be Pay What You Can while the matinee performance on May 21 will be open captioned.
Mitchell's translation of Fuente Ovejuna originally made its world premiere at London's National Theatre in 1989.