Federico Garcia Lorca had a short life but left behind a body of work that assured a place for him in Spanish, as well as world literature and theater. His best-known plays, such as Blood Wedding and The House of Bernarda Alba are still produced today all over Europe and the U.S., including here in San Antonio. He was also an eloquent poet and a fan of Andalusian flamenco, especially, the more dramatic cante jondo style, originally performed by Gypsies, often to express their pain and suffering. According to a bio posted by the Academy of American Poets, Garcia-Lorca was shot to death in August 1936 by military authorities, not far from his home in Granada, Spain. His body has never been found.
Lorca’s life captured the imagination of San Antonio theater artist Jose Ruben De Leon who wrote a one-man show, simply titled Lorca, which premiered a number of years ago to critical acclaim. Now De Leon is bringing it back to the stage this month with six performances at the Classic Theatre of San Antonio (Aug. 18-27). Using the poet/dramatista’s own words, songs, and De Leon’s original narrative, the play is a tribute to Lorca and his legacy. According to a video posted on the Classic’s website, even the dates of the run are part of that commemorative tribute, given that the poet was assassinate in mid-August.
Though I have not seen this play yet, I am familiar with similar solo shows by De Leon which were engagingly written and performed.
Not long after Lorca closes, the Classic’s 10th anniversary season – built around the question What is Home? – is slated to open with the popular screwball comedy You Can’t Take It With You, a story of an eccentric, freewheeling family that tries to present itself in a more conventional light when one of its members gets engaged to the VP of her company. Needless to say, unexpected things happen and laughter is practically guaranteed. The 16-member cast directed by Mark Stringham, includes a number of well-known San Antonio actors, such as John O’Neill, Andrew Thornton, Alan Ross, Byrd Bonner, Magda Porter, Christi Eanes, Jim Mammarella, Catherine Babbitt, and others. (Sept. 8 – Oct.1)
This is followed by a very different play, Henrik Ibsen’s classic, A Doll’s House, a portrayal of a married woman’s plight in the late 19th century. (Nov. 3-26). In the spring, the company pays homage to Rudolfo Anaya, the 2016 National Medal of Arts recipient, by staging the dramatized version of his 1972 novel Bless Me, Ultima (April 6-15). The season will close with one of my favorite plays, Anton Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard, the sad, lyrically told story of a noble family caught in the winds of historical change in Russia (May 4-7).
Special presentations by guest artists may be announced later. For tickets call 210-589-8450 or go to www.classictheatre.org
PHOTO: Jose Ruben de Leon