Holy Cross Theatre Department to Present 'Fuente Ovejuna'

The College of the Holy Cross Theatre Department will present “Fuente Ovejuna,” published by Spanish playwright Lope de Vega in 1614 and directed by Professor Edward Isser of the theatre department. Performances will be held in Fenwick Theatre, on the second floor of O’Kane Hall, at 8 p.m. on November 2-4 and 9-11. Tickets are $10 for the Holy Cross community and $15 for the general public, and can be reserved by calling the box office at (508) 793-2496.

A classic work of the Spanish Golden Age, “Fuente Ovejuna” was written in the 1600s, telling a tale of oppression, resistance, and retribution in a small Spanish village terrorized by a dictatorial oppressor. The production at Holy Cross is a collaborative initiative by the departments of theatre and Spanish. Daniel Frost, associate professor of Spanish, and Helen Freear-Papio, director of the Foreign Language Assistants Program and lecturer of Spanish, worked with Director Isser over the summer to create an experimental bilingual musical set in the midst of the Spanish Civil War, incorporating music and dance of the 1930s.

“We want our audience to leave the theatre with questions: What are our individual and collective responsibilities in the face of fascism?" said Isser. "Do we respond with action or do we remain passive? Do we accept circumstances or, even if it’s futile, try to ameliorate the situation?" The production addresses these issues in a visceral, provocative manner that is intended to simultaneously exhilarate and disturb viewers.

Spanish department faculty members Frost, Freear-Papio and Ellen Lokos have worked with cast members throughout the production process, perfecting Spanish pronunciation and inculcating an appreciation and understanding of Spanish culture and history. The Spanish department will be mounting a complementary academic panel to coincide with the production on Thursday, November 9 at 4:00 in O’Kane 37, a performance space known as ‘The Pit.’

“We were excited to join theatre in producing this landmark play bilingually. It speaks both to the diversity of our campus community and to the power of seeing works that we have read in class adapted and performed on stage,” said Dan Frost, chair of the Spanish department.

A panel of Spanish professors from Holy Cross and Worcester State University will discuss adaptations of the play in a variety of historical and political circumstances. The panel includes Holy Cross professor John Cull, Lokos, and Freear-Papio. They will be joined by Antonio Guijarro-Donadiós from Worcester State University.

The productions cast includes Emily Arancio ’20 in the role of Laurencia, the woman who leads the rebellion against the Commander played by Andrew Farina ’18. Noah Mailloux ’18 is the Mayor of Fuente Ovejuna and Brandon Brito ’20 plays the role of the town fool who turns out to be moral conscious of the community.