Theater: News That Stays the News

FUENTE OVEJUNA by Lope de Vega

At the climax of 17th century Spain's greatest tragedy, as oppressed villagers hack to shreds their tyrannical overlord, trashing his palace and slaughtering his bullyboy guards, the playgoer's mind leaps to Nicolae Ceausescu's Bucharest, to Samuel Doe's Monrovia and to far too many other gruesome places arraigned in current headlines. Although Lope de Vega's play was written around 1612 and was based on an actual occurrence in 1476, the abuses of power it depicts remain painfully close to our times.

To be sure, the text has been nudged into modernity in the new translation and...

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