Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2011

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Theatre & Dance

First Advisor

Oliver Gerland

Second Advisor

James Symons

Third Advisor

John D. Slater


Spanish Golden Age Drama is mostly studied in language departments where it is treated as literature to be read. Few scholars have studied Spanish Golden Age drama in contemporary performance. The purpose of this study is to examine and compare contemporary productions of works by Spanish Golden Age dramatists in Spain and England. In 1986 the Compañía Nacional de Teatro Clásico (CNTC) was formed in Madrid with the express purpose of staging plays of the Spanish Golden Age. In the first half of the dissertation, I examine three recent productions directed by the CNTC's current head, Eduardo Vasco: La estrella de Sevilla (The Star of Seville, Lope de Vega?), El pintor de su deshonra (The Painter of His Own Dishonor, Calderon de la Barca), and El Alcalde de Zalamea (The Mayor of Zalamea, Calderon). In 2004, led by renowned director Laurence Boswell, the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) staged a Spanish Golden Age season in English; in the second half of the dissertation, I examine the RSC productions of El perro del hortelano (The Dog in the Manger, Lope), Las casa de desempeños (The House of Desires, Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz) and Pedro de Urdemales (Pedro the Great Pretender, Miguel de Cervantes). My objective is to analyze the dramatic texts in terms of contemporary production challenges, and to compare the production styles of the CNTC and the RSC. Two distinct production approaches emerge. The work of Vasco tends to emphasize a directorial concept that aims to make the plays relevant to contemporary audiences while the work by Boswell and his colleagues, building on the RSC's tradition of training actors to speak verse, focuses more closely on the text and the creation of emotionally compelling characters.