Staging and Stage Décor: Early Modern Spanish Theater

Bárbara Mujica (Ed.)

by Elizabeth Cruz Petersen (Florida Atlantic University), Christopher D. Gascón (State University of New York College at Cortland), Esther Fernández (Rice University), Susan Paun de García (Denison University), Megan M. Echevarría (University of Rhode Island), Iñaki Pérez-Ibáñez (University of Rhode Island), Mindy Badía (Indiana University Southeast), Emily C. Tobey (Miami University), Susan L. Fischer (Bucknell University), Edward H. Friedman (Vanderbilt University), Eduardo Paredes Ocampo (University of Oxford), Bárbara Mujica (Georgetown University), Valerie Hegstrom (Brigham Young University), Dale J. Pratt (Brigham Young University), Yoel Castillo Botello (Georgetown University), Sharon D. Voros (United States Naval Academy), Esther Fernández (Rice University)

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This is the first book on staging and stage décor to focus specifically on early modern Spanish theater, from the 16th to the early 20th centuries. The introduction provides an overview of Spanish theater design from the 16th century, with particular attention to the corral theater and Lope de Vega. The scope of the book is vast. Some of the articles deal with early modern stagings, while others deal with contemporary productions. The collection contains articles by an international array of specialists on topics such as scenography and costuming, lighting, and performance space. It also broaches little-studied areas such as the use of alternative performance spaces, most notably prisons. The book provides in-depth analyses of particular archetypes - the melancholiac, the queen, the astrologer - and how they were, and are, staged. The focus on performance and performance space, costuming, set design, lighting, and audience seating make this a truly unique volume. This book is designed for students of Spanish literature and theater, researchers interested in theater history and early modern Spain, as well as theater professionals.

List of Figures

Bárbara Mujica
Georgetown University

Part 1: Props and Space

Chapter 1 Supplementary Aesthetics, Affordances, and Dynamic Props: Added Objects in Isabel Ramos’s El perro del hortelano (2004)
Christopher D. Gascón
State University of New York College at Cortland

Chapter 2 Sketching Portugalidade: Reinar después de morir for the Twenty-First Century Stage
Esther Fernández
Rice University

Chapter 3 Staging the Comedia de magia in the Reign of Felipe V
Susan Paun de García
Denison University

Chapter 4 Incarcerated Performance: The Space and Context of Prison as Stage
Megan M. Echevarría and Iñaki Pérez-Ibáñez
University of Rhode Island

Part 2: Costume

Chapter 5 “¡Dios me guarde, que estoy bella!”: Los empeños de una casa and Castaño's Performance of Pretty
Mindy Badía
Indiana University Southeast

Chapter 6 Dressing the Comedia: Textual, Archival, and Practical Considerations
Emily C. Tobey
Miami University

Chapter 7 The Guardainfante Exposes More than Legs: Adapting Tirso’s Marta the Divine for the Stage
Elizabeth Cruz Petersen
Florida Atlantic University

Part 3: Staging Archetypes

Chapter 8 (Re)Performing Isabel I of Castile: Pious Cruelty, Saintly Hypocrisy, and Lope de Vega’s El niño inocente de La Guardia
Susan L. Fischer
Bucknell University

Chapter 9 A Bicephalic Melancholiac: Acting a Royal Pathology in Spanish Golden Age Drama
Eduardo Paredes Ocampo
University of Oxford, UK

Chapter 10 Staging Female Melancholia: Calderón’s No hay burlas con el amor
Bárbara Mujica
Georgetown University

Chapter 11 “Streleros” buenos y malos: Staging Astrology in Early Modern Spanish Theater
Valerie Hegstrom and Dale J. Pratt
Brigham Young University

Part IV: Music, Movement, and Adaptation

Chapter 12 Reading Music in Cervantes’s Entremeses
Yoel Castillo Botello
Deerfield Academy

Chapter 13 Finding the Beat in ¡Risas aquí y después, ganancia! by The Grupo La Hormiga
Sharon D. Voros
United States Naval Academy

Chapter 14 Juan Ruiz de Alarcón’s Mudarse por mejorarse and Changes over Time
Edward H. Friedman
Vanderbilt University

Our Contributors


Dr. Bárbara Mujica is a specialist in early modern Spain and a professor emerita at Georgetown University, where she was the director of El Retablo, a Spanish-language theater group. Her directing credits include plays by Calderón, Cervantes, Lope de Rueda, and Moratín, as well as contemporary Spanish and Latin American dramatists. She is President Emerita of the Association for Hispanic Classical Theater (AHCT) and founding editor-in-chief of ‘Comedia Performance’, a journal devoted to early modern Spanish theater. She is a literary consultant and a member of the board of GALA Hispanic Theater and was a Helen Hayes judge from 2003 to 2006. Mujica has written extensively on Spanish theater. Her latest books on the subject are ‘A New Anthology of Early Modern Spanish Theater: Play and Playtext’ (ed. Yale 2014) and ‘Shakespeare and the Spanish Comedia’ (ed. Bucknell 2013). Her other recent scholarly books are ‘Women Religious and Epistolary Writing in the Carmelite Reform: The Disciples of Teresa de Ávila’ (Amsterdam 2020), ‘Teresa de Avila: Lettered Woman’ (Vanderbilt 2009), ‘Teresa de Jesús: Espiritualidad y feminismo’ (Orto 2006), and ‘Women Writers of Early Modern Spain: Sophia’s Daughters’ (Yale 2004).

Mujica is also a novelist, essayist, and short story writer. Her novels include ‘Frida’, an international bestseller; ‘Sister Teresa,’ which was adapted for the stage at the Actor’s Studio, in Los Angeles; ‘I Am Venus’, a winner in 2012 of the Maryland Writers’ Association national fiction competition and a quarter-finalist in the ScreenCraft 2020 Cinematic Novel competition; and ‘Miss del Río’, scheduled for publication by HarperCollins in 2022. Her short story collections are ‘Sanchez across the Street,’ ‘Far from my Mother’s Home’, and ‘Imagining Iraq’. Two of her stories have been adapted for the stage. In 2022 she was named an Abby Freeman Writer-in-Residence at The Braid Theater in Los Angeles. Her writing awards include the E.L. Doctorow International Fiction Award, the Pangolin Prize, the Theodore Christian Hoepfner Award, the Trailblazer’s Award from Dialogue on Diversity, and the Maryland Writers’ Association Short Fiction award.

Early modern Spanish theater; Golden Age Spanish theater; comedia; corral theater; Lope de Vega, Félix; Calderón de la Barca, Pedro; performance space; theatrical costume; Isabella I of Castile; melancholia/melancholiac; entremés; theatrical properties/props

Bibliographic Information

Book Title

Staging and Stage Décor: Early Modern Spanish Theater





Number of pages


Physical size



17 B&W
Publication date
June 2022