Spanish Literature Proves Timeless In GTA's Bi-lingual FUENTE OVEJUNA

Spanish Literature Proves Timeless In GTA's Bi-lingual FUENTE OVEJUNASpanish literature proves timeless in the bi-lingual Gainesville Theatre Alliance production of "Fuente Ovejuna"

Rallying cries for change and revolution among oppressed segments of society have created social movements that are documented in the world of arts and literature for centuries. And what is art if not a reflection of what we see, or want to see, in the everyday world around us? Based on actual historic events, GTA's multi-cultural production of Fuente Ovejuna (fu-EN-tay oh-vay-HOO-nuh), which performs April 6-9, examines the way the residents of a small rural town in southern Spain rebel against a military overlord abusing his power.

Drawing from the classic story of an underdog retaliating against hegemony, Lope De Vega's Fuente Ovejuna parallels a number of movements around the world today pushing back against the perceived abuse of power. Fuente Ovejuna will be the last Discovery Series production of the 2017-2018 season. The production runs at 7:30pm, April 6-9, at Brenau University's Theatre on the Square, 301 Main St SW, Gainesville. The show is rated PG13; admission is free.

Despite current application around the globe, Fuente Ovejuna provides an answer based on 15th-century events that were immortalized by one of Spain's greatest and most influential Golden Age dramatists, Lope De Vega. When a military commander returns victorious from battle to a small town, he becomes a menacing oppressor to the town's citizens, and especially its women. Surprisingly infused with humor and music, this timeless masterpiece provides breathtaking excitement.

The production is a part of the Gainesville Theatre Alliance's Discovery Series; GTA is a the nationally acclaimed collaboration between University of North Georgia, Brenau University, theatre Professionals and the northeast Georgia community. While audiences are familiar with the home-grown Broadway shows of the Mainstage Season, Discovery Series productions focus on more experimental, contemporary theatre showcased in more intimate settings.

Directing Fuente Ovejuna is resident GTA professor and director Elisa Carlson, who teaches Voice & Diction and Movement for the Stage at UNG. As a Resident Director for the Gainesville Theatre Alliance she has directed numerous classical pieces for GTA including, Much Ado About Nothing, Antigone, Twelfth Night, and The Importance of Being Earnest, as well as numerous Repertory Company productions. She completed her M.F.A., University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and her B.F.A. with Florida State University

"I hope our production will introduce students and audiences to the extensive canon of glorious, brilliant Spanish plays that are often overlooked due to translation issues. Unlike most Shakespearean plays (which were written around the same time), Lope De Vega focusses on the struggles of the common people," Carlson said about the significance of the show. "While we can relate somewhat to the kings and queens of Shakespeare, the working people of Lope De Vega's play speak directly to our own experience in an extraordinary way."

According to Carlson, the show will be performed in English, with one love scene being performed in Spanish.

"GTA has many students who are bi-lingual, and who are looking forward to the experience of performing in Spanish. For those who don't speak the language (myself included), don't worry, as the language of love is indeed universal and you'll be able to follow it quite easily," Carlson assures.

Elizabeth Combier, head of the department of Spanish at the University of North Georgia, who focused on literature from the 17th century Spanish Golden Era in her graduate studies and dissertation, enthusiastically pointed to the literary genius of playwright Lope De Vega. Combier described the themes of Fuente Ovejuna as a central role played by women who suffer physical and sexual abuse.

"The virtue of real honor is in actions, not titles," Combier said relating to the universal appeal Lope De Vega's play carries.

While the design of the show's technical aspects will remain very simple, the simplicity of the truth being told by actors will hold the power in the delivery of the story to audience members. Simplifying the complex language of the original written play will be one of the bigger artistic challenges the cast will face for this production, according to Carlson. There will be a free "Talk Back" after the performance on Saturday, April. 7.

"Even though the story is a serious one, the play is infused with music, romance, humor and beautiful poetic language, ending very happily," Carlson said.

Fuente Ovejuna will be performed April 6-9, free of charge and with general admission at Brenau University's Theatre on the Square, 301 Main St SW, Gainesville. Patrons can arrive any time after 6:30pm to check-in, with theatre doors opening at 7:10pm. The rest of the GTA season of theatre can be seen at Call the Box Office with questions at 678.717.3624, Monday - Friday from 10am to 4pm.

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