FUENTA OVEJUNA to be Presented at Theatre for a New Audience in April

The production will run April 29-May 28.

By: Mar. 29, 2023
FUENTA OVEJUNA to be Presented at Theatre for a New Audience in April
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Theatre for a New Audience will present the Off-Broadway premiere in English of the great Spanish author Lope De Vega's Fuente Ovejuna (1612), translated by the late British poet, novelist, and playwright Adrian Mitchell. This translation had its World Premiere in 1989 at London's National Theatre directed by Declan Donellan (Artistic Director, Cheek by Jowl), where it was acclaimed as "a stirring hymn to the passion of fellowship" by City Limits (London). Previously, Mitchell penned the celebrated 1964 verse adaptation of Peter Weiss's Marat/Sade, directed by Peter Brook.

TFANA's production is directed by Flordelino Lagundino in his Off-Broadway and TFANA debut. Fuente Ovejuna is also TFANA's first production of a Spanish Golden Age playwright. Lope De Vega (1562-1635) is history's most prolific dramatist (about 470 of his 1,500 plays survive), widely celebrated in Spain and around the world but all-too-absent from American theatre. Previous English-language productions of Fuente Ovejuna have been presented at La MaMa in 1972, The National Theatre (London) in 1989, and Stratford Shakespeare Festival in 2008; it was staged in Spanish at the Repertorio Español in 2013 and Teatro Círculo in 2022.

Horowitz observed, "Fuente Ovejuna is a radical play inspired by a real event. Lope De Vega wrote it in 1612. He was inspired by a historical 1476 incident: farmers and peasants of the Castilian village of Fuente Ovejuna rose up against a military commander and his soldiers garrisoned in the village, who routinely brutalized and oppressed them. In Lope De Vega's play, after she has been raped by the tyrannical commander and his men, Laurencia, daughter of the Mayor, demands her father and the village leaders face that they didn't stop the crime:

'To this all-wise, all-male Council meeting:

You may not allow a woman to vote

But you can't stop her yelling...'

Her confrontation inspires the entire town to revolt. The Commander is slaughtered, but no one, even when tortured, will say who is the killer. Each will only admit that everyone is responsible.

'Fuente Ovejuna Did it.'"

Horowitz continued, "Fuente Ovejuna is about feminism, class, collective resistance, democracy, and human rights, but it was written long before the Declaration of Independence; French Revolution; the 19th Amendment to the Constitution granting women the right to vote; and, of course, today's #MeToo movement.

Lope De Vega's words have rung out for centuries. His genius was to create a powerful mix of music, singing, dance, humor, and unforgettable drama."

Lagundino, Producing Artistic Director of Theater Alaska, says that "as a person of Filipino descent whose ancestors were colonized by Spain and the United States," he takes inspiration from "Laurencia's strength... to speak out and live every day to create a world in which all humans are valued for who they are as individuals. Her 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 production features the 14-member multicultural cast, reflecting contemporary America and audiences in the diverse borough of Brooklyn. It is led by Carlo Albán (TFANA: Tamburlaine; Sweat; Sesame Street) as Frondoso, Jonathan Cake (TFANA: Measure for Measure; RSC/The Public/GableStage: Coriolanus, Antony and Cleopatra) as the Commander, and Juliana Canfield (TFANA: Fefu and Her Friends, He Brought Her Heart Back in a Box; Succession) as Laurencia.

The creative team is Scenic Designer Afsoon Pajoufar (Bard: Mad Forest, Dom Juan), Costume Designer Linda Cho (Take Me Out, Tony Award for The Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder), Lighting Designer Jiyoun Chang (Tony Nominee for For Colored Girls... and Slave Play), Composer/Music Director Paddy Cunneen (The Pillowman, National Theatre: Fuente Ovejuna), who will collaborate with the cast to create original music, Choreographer/Movement Director Brian Brooks (TFANA: Pericles, A Midsummer Night's Dream), Fight Choreographer J. David Brimmer (TFANA: Fairview, An Octoroon, Drama Desk Nominations for Is God Is and Yen), Associate Fight Choreographer/Intimacy Director Dan O'Driscoll (American Buffalo, Hangmen), Dramaturg Jonathan Kalb (TFANA's Resident Dramaturg), and Voice Director Andrew Wade (TFANA's Resident Voice and Text Director).

About Lope De Vega (Playwright)

Lope De Vega (1562-1635) was the most popular, influential and revered dramatist of the period of national-cultural renaissance known as the Spanish Golden Age. An astonishingly prolific author of as many 1,500 plays, he was the son of an embroiderer who rose to become the dominant theatrical figure of his era-as well as an esteemed poet, sailor, notoriously insatiable lover, and a priest. He was as famous for his scandalous private life as for his art. The Spanish expression "es de Lope!" is understood to mean, "it's good!"

About Adrian Mitchell (Translator)

Adrian Mitchell (1932-2008) was born in London and studied English at Christ Church, Oxford. He worked as a journalist until the mid-Sixties, when he embarked on a career as a prolific poet, playwright, and novelist. Mitchell gave frequent public performances of his searing satirical work, which was often driven by his strong commitment to leftist politics and pacifism, including his involvement with the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. The New York Times described him as "British poetry's voice of the left." He collaborated with Peter Brook on the revolutionary Royal Shakespeare Company production of Marat/Sade (1964), for which he won the PEN Translation Prize. His vehement anti-Vietnam War stance became a nexus of his art and activism: in 1964, he read his poem "To Whom It May Concern (Tell Me Lies About Vietnam)" to thousands gathered at a rally in Trafalgar Square and in 1966, he penned the lyrics for Peter Brook's experimental anti-Vietnam War work US. Mitchell made indispensable contributions to classic theatre, having translated Spanish Golden Age plays including Pedro Calderon's The Mayor of Zalamea, Life's a Dream, and The Great Theatre of the World and Lope De Vega's Fuente Ovejuna and Lost in a Mirror. Other notable theatrical works include Tyger, the adaptation of Gogol's The Government Inspector, and the lyrics for Peter Hall's adaptation of Orwell's Animal Farm, all performed at The National Theatre; and his adaptations of C.S. Lewis's The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe and Pushkin's Boris Godunov, both at The Royal Shakespeare Theatre. Mitchell was a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.

About Flordelino Lagundino (Director)

Flordelino Lagundino (Director) is a director, actor, producer, and educator. He is the Producing Artistic Director of Theater Alaska. His directing credits include: Macbeth, A Midsummer Night's Dream (Theater Alaska); Aubergine (Park Square Theatre); FOB (Drama League); Sweeney Todd, Doubt, Yellowman, Cedar House, Animals Out of Paper (Perseverance Theatre); Sweeney Todd (Juneau Symphony); Flipzoids, True West, Shakespeare's R&J (Generator Theater Company). He participated in the TFANA Actors and Directors Project and received the SDCF Sir John Gielgud Classical Directing Fellowship and Drama League NY Directing Fellowship. Lagundino holds an MFA in directing from Brown University/Trinity Repertory Company, and an MFA in acting from University of Texas at Austin.

About the Cast

Barzin Akhavan

(Esteban). Broadway: Network, The Kite Runner; NYC: CSC (Macbeth), The Public/NYC (Richard II), Waterwell (Hamlet); Select Regional: Seattle Rep, Guthrie, Arena, Huntington, Baltimore Center Stage, ACT SF, Theatre Calgary, Folger, CATF, Lookingglass, Mixed Blood, Cincinnati Playhouse, Merrimack Rep, Virginia Stage, 5 Seasons Oregon Shakespeare Festival, 4 seasons Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival, Colorado Shakespeare Festival. Television: "Blacklist," "Chicago Med," "Girls5EVA," "Smash," "Law and Order : CI." Film: Inappropriate Behaviour (upcoming), The Jew of Malta, Anniversary.

Carlo Albán

(Frondoso). Broadway: Sweat (Theatre World Award for an outstanding Broadway debut). Off Broadway: Romeo y Julieta, References to Salvador Dalí (Public Theater); Tamburlaine (TFANA); A Small, Melodramatic Story, Intríngulis (Labyrinth). Regional: Fandango (La Jolla); Whitelisted (CATF); The River Bride, Much Ado, Timon of Athens (OSF); Parallelogram, Lydia (CTG); Night of the Iguana (Guthrie). London: Rare Earth Mettle (Royal Court). Film: Mile 22, Hurricane Streets, 21 Grams, Whip It, Margaret. TV: "Sesame Street," "Oz," "Thicker Than Blood," "Prison Break," "The Night Of," "Black Bird." Member of Labyrinth Theater Company.

Jack Berenholtz

(Captain Flores). Off-Broadway: Nantucket Sleigh Ride (Lincoln Center). New York: Nightmare Dream (FringeNYC), Progeny (Riverside Theatre), Antigone (Connelly Theatre), Henry IV.I (Extant). Regional: Cleveland Playhouse, Gulfshore Playhouse, Chautauqua Theatre Company, Williamstown, Schoolhouse Theater. TV: "Evil," "Law & Order: SVU," "Tommy," "The Good Fight," "The Deuce." Film: Simchas & Sorrows, The Black Monk, Bandito (TriBeca Film Festival). Education: NYU Grad Acting (MFA). Big thanks to the team at TalentWorks.

Stephen Berenson

(Juan Rojo / First Alderman). 1977 NY debut: Dead End. Thirty years Trinity Rep Resident Acting Company (Puck, Feste, Fool, Shylock, Witch, Willy Loman, Grendel, Fagin, Bellomy/Fantasticks, Schultz/Cabaret, 4 seasons as Scrooge); sixteen summers Bread Loaf Acting Ensemble (Friar, Dogberry, Polonius), Kennedy Center, Dallas Theater Center, more. First Director/Acting Faculty/Founding Director, Brown/Trinity MFA Programs. Current: Tutorial appointment, Middlebury College, Oxford. Partner/husband 46 years: Brian McEleney.

Jonathan Cake

(Commander Fernando Gomez de Guzman). Broadway: Medea (Theatre World Award), Cymbeline (Lincoln Center), The Philanthropist. Off Broadway: Coriolanus, Much Ado About Nothing (Calloway Award for Best Classical Performance), Antony and Cleopatra, and Measure for Measure. London highlights include: Baby Doll at The National Theatre and the West End (Barclays Theatre Award for Best Actor), Coriolanus at Shakespeare's Globe. TV/Film include: "Five Days at Memorial," "Stargirl," "Desperate Housewives," "Extras," "Doll & EM," "Brideshead Revisited," "Camping," among others. Jonathan is the creator and host of the Stage Door Jonny podcast.

Juliana Canfield

(Laurencia) Off-Broadway theatre credits include Fefu and her Friends (TFANA), Sunday (Atlantic Theatre Company), The House That Will Not Stand (NYTW), He Brought Her Heart Back in a Box (TFANA), Zurich (Colt Coeur). Film/TV credits include "Succession" (HBO), "The Calling" (Peacock), "Y: The Last Man" (FX), "Amazing Stories" (Amblin/Apple), The Assistant, On the Rocks, The Neighbor's Window (short, Academy Award Winner). BA: Yale College. MFA: Yale School of Drama.

Ben Chase

(King Ferdinand of Aragon / Leonelo) Off B'way/Regional: The Far Country (Atlantic Theater Company), Mondo Tragic, I am Soul (National Black Theatre), Romeo and Juliet, Nothing Gold Can Stay (Old Globe), Spunk (Classical Theatre of Harlem), May 39th (Drama League). Film: Audrey's Children (upcoming), Dee Rees' The Last Thing He Wanted (Netflix), A Call To Spy (IFC Films), and A Shot Through the Wall. TV: "The Thing About Pam," "Law and Order: Organized Crime," "Monsterland," "Transparent," "Mysteries of Laura," "Difficult People," "Undocumented." MFA: Brown/Trinity.

Octavia Chavez-Richmond

(Queen Isabella of Castile / Jacinta) is thrilled to make her TFANA debut! Octavia is an actor/writer/storyteller who uses theater and film to disrupt hierarchy, racism, and misogyny. Selected Theater: Pride and Prejudice, Long Wharf Theatre; Between Riverside and Crazy, SpeakEasy Stage Company; Yoga Play, Syracuse Stage/Geva Theatre; Last Ship to Proxima Centauri (world premiere), Portland Stage Company; Marisol, Trinity Repertory Company. Selected Film: Free Guy, Knives Out, From Nowhere (SXSW). Training: Brown/Trinity MFA Acting.

Kenneth De Abrew

(Mengo). Measure for Measure (TFANA); As You Like It (Baruch PAC). Regional: Petrol Station (The Kennedy Center); Guards at the Taj (Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company); Indian Ink (American Conservatory Theater). Television: New Amsterdam, Girls5Eva, Jessica Jones, Atlanta, The Detour, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Gotham, Awkwafina, WeCrashed, Helpsters. Film: Someone Great, This Is Where I Leave You, Submission. Education: MFA LSU; BA Ohio Wesleyan University; attended Trinity College, Kandy, Sri Lanka. kennethdeabrew.com @kennethdeabrew

José Espinosa

(Grand Master Rodrigo Tellez Giron) is a Cuban-Jewish actor, filmmaker, and teaching artist. Broadway: Take Me Out (u/s). Off Broadway: Los Complicados (EST). Regional: Curve of Departure (Chester), The Other World, The Meal (Yale Cabaret). Educational theater favorites include The Tempest, The Seagull, Seven Spots on the Sun, Death of Yazdgerd, Twelfth Night, and Completely Outta f-cks directed by Chris Bayes. MFA: Yale School of Drama.

Paco Lozano

(Sergeant Ortuno / Don Manrique). Paco Lozano's theatre credits include: NY: Much Ado About Nothing, Mother Courage (Public Theater). Regional Credits include: The Crucible, She Stoops to Conquer (Asolo Rep); Androcles & The Lion (Milwaukee Chamber). Film credits include: Spoiler Alert, Bushwick. TV credits include: "Manifest," "Jessica Jones," "Law and Order: SVU," "The Good Wife," "Madam Secretary," "Bridge and Tunnel."

Brian McEleney

(Alonso / Second Alderman). Trinity Rep Resident Company: over 100 productions (Actor: Richard II, Richard III, King Lear, Malvolio, Cassius, Felix Unger, Prior Walter, Scrooge. Director: The Grapes of Wrath, All the King's Men, Hamlet, Whitney White's By the Queen. Playwright: Jane/Johnny Eyre, A Tale of Two Cities). Founding Director, Brown/Trinity MFA Programs (with Stephen Berenson), and Head of Theatre at Middlebury College's Bread Loaf School of English.

Ricardo Vázquez

(Barrildo) Broadway: The Inheritance. NYC: Superstitions (The Pool Plays), Richard III, As You Like It (Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival), Bordertowns (HERE). Regionally: Guthrie Theater (The Royal Family, Rachel Chavkin dir.), Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Children's Theater Company, among others. TV: "The Other Two" (HBO), "In an Instant'' (ABC), M@dabout TV. Film: Nina of the Woods, Farmer of the Year, Gets Good Light, Death To Prom.

Carmen Zilles

(Pascuala). Off-Broadway theater includes Epiphany at Lincoln Center Theater, directed by Tyne Rafaeli; Fefu and her Friends at TFANA, directed by Lileana Blain-Cruz; Scenes from a Marriage at NYTW, directed by Ivo van Hove; Small Mouth Sounds at Signature Theater, directed by Rachel Chavkin, and many others. Film/TV: Bel Canto (starring Julianne Moore), Pimp (starring Keke Palmer), "Law and Order: Organized Crime", "FBI", "Blue Bloods". MFA: Yale School of Drama.

Performance Schedule

Performances of Fuente Ovejuna take place at Polonsky Shakespeare Center (262 Ashland Pl, Brooklyn) April 29-30, May 2-7, 9-14, 16-21, and 23, 24, and 26-28 at 7:30pm with matinee performances on May 6, 7, 13, 14, 20, 21, 27 and 28 at 2pm; the performance on Thursday, May 25 will start at 7pm..

7:30pm on Sunday, May 7, will be a Pay What You Can performance.
The 2pm performance on Sunday, May 21, will be open captioned.

TFANA will offer post-show Humanities events after select performances: The May 25 evening performance will be followed by an installment of Reflections with Bianca Vivion (host of ALL ARTS' Generational Anxiety), and the May 13, 14, 20, and 27 matinees will be followed by TFANA Talks.

Ticketing Information

Season subscriptions-with benefits including priority booking, flexible exchange policy, discounted guest tickets, discounts at Food & Drink and the Book Kiosk in the Polonsky Shakespeare Center lobby, and more-are available online at tfana.org/season; by phone at 646.553.3880; and in person at the box office.

Season subscription packages

Season subscriptions-with benefits including priority booking, flexible exchange policy, discounted guest tickets, discounts at Food & Drink and the Book Kiosk in the Polonsky Shakespeare Center lobby, and more-are available online at www.tfana.org/season; by phone at 646.553.3880; and in person at the box office.

Two-Play Package ($116): One ticket to two productions at just $58 per ticket.

- Fuente Ovejuna and Orpheus Descending.

Flex Pass Package ($240): a four-ticket package for just $60 per ticket. Use them in any combination for any of the shows in the 2022-2023 season.

Subscriber add-ons include Guest Tickets for $60 and New Deal Tickets for $20. Subscriber New Deal tickets-for those aged 30 and under, and for full-time students of any age-are available for all performances for $20 and can be purchased in advance or day-of online, by phone, or at the box office with valid ID(s) required at pickup.

All sales are final. No refunds. All packages are subject to a $10 handling fee.

Single Tickets

Single ticket types include Full Price Ticket: $90-$100 and Premium: $125. New Deal tickets-for those aged 30 and under, and for full-time students of any age-are available for all performances for $20, can be purchased in advance or day-of online, by phone, or at the box office with valid ID(s) required at pickup.

New Deal ticket subsidies are supported by the Audrey H. Meyer New Deal Fund.

All productions, artists and dates are subject to change.

About Theatre for a New Audience

Founded in 1979 by Jeffrey Horowitz, and led by Horowitz and Managing Director, Dorothy Ryan, Theatre for a New Audience (TFANA) is home for Shakespeare and other contemporary playwrights. It nurtures artists, culture, and community. Recognizing that each audience is new and different from the last one, TFANA is dedicated to forging an exchange between artist and playgoer that is immediate and direct, and to the ongoing search for a living, human theatre.

With Shakespeare as its supreme guide, TFANA explores the ever-changing forms of world theatre and builds a dialogue spanning centuries between the language and ideas of Shakespeare and diverse authors, past and present. TFANA is committed to building long-term associations with artists from around the world and supporting the development of plays, translations, and productions through residences, workshops, and commissions. TFANA performs for an audience of all ages and backgrounds; is devoted to economic access; and promotes a vibrant exchange of ideas through its humanities and education programs.

TFANA's productions have played nationally, internationally and on Broadway. In 2001, it became the first American theatre company invited to bring a production of Shakespeare to the Royal Shakespeare Company.

TFANA created and runs the largest in-depth program to introduce Shakespeare and classic drama in New York City's Public Schools. Since its inception in 1984, the program has served more than 140,000 students.

In 2013, TFANA opened its first permanent home, Polonsky Shakespeare Center (PSC), in the Brooklyn Cultural District. The heart of PSC is its performance space: the 299-seat Samuel H. Scripps Mainstage, a uniquely flexible space with extraordinary acoustics, capable of multiple configurations between stage and audience; as well as the 50-seat Theodore C. Rogers Studio.

In addition to productions, TFANA supports ongoing artistic development through the Merle Debuskey Studio Program, which provides artists with residencies and workshops to create and explore outside the pressures of full production.

TFANA honors the Lenape and Canarsie People, on whose ancestral homeland Polonsky Shakespeare Center is built. The organization is committed to rethinking the stories it tells about our history and our connection to each other.

TFANA's 2022-23 Season is dedicated to Celebrating the Memory of Peter Brook. From 2008-2019, TFANA was honored to present seven New York Premieres of works by Shakespeare, Dostoyevsky, Beckett and new plays by Peter Brook and Marie-Hélène Estienne directed by Peter or co-directed by Peter and Marie-Hélène.


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