This evening I finished reading this extraordinary play in a dual language version. Regarded as Lope’s most famous work, it is a tale of honour and the power of the common people. Quite apart from the poignancy of the piece amongst brutality and even The Rack, the setting of the play in the Almagro /Ciudad Real area of Spain is of great interest as it is where I will be seeing a representation of the work at the Almagro Festival.
Lope de Vega, like Shakespeare, incorporated historical occurrences in his writings and for anyone lacking in the finer detail of Spanish history, the translator of the text, Stanley Appelbaum (Dover Publications) provides a comprehensive background to the work and a fine account of Lope de Vega‘s poetic form. This read has been an enriching experience and confirms the notion of theatre belonging to place. How greatly I am looking forward to seeing this work in its authentic environment even if it is some 600 years on and with postmodern dramaturgy. Incidentally, according to Appelbaum, Lope de Vega wrote Fuenteovejuna between 1611 and 1618 and the actual incident occurred on 22 and 23 April, 1476.
The play is colourful, humourous and immensely rich in medieval chivalry. I highly recommend it.