Contemporary Spanish Theatre

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Course Information
Terms offered: 
Language of instruction: 
Contact Hours: 

Spanish competency corresponding to a SP 353 placement in the Granada center.


A survey of theatre in Spain in the last eighty years, studied from a social, historical, and cultural perspective, with a double emphasis on text and performance. Students in this course will

  • Attend performances in Granada and write critical analyses
  • Explore ways to read theatre as a system of signs intended for performance
  • Experiment with the possibilities of stage performance of dramatic texts
  • Understand key theory and practice in contemporary theatre.
Attendance policy: 

Please see the IES Abroad Student Handbook to see our Attendance policy.

Learning outcomes: 

At the end of the course, the student will:

  • Demonstrate a solid knowledge of trends, movements, and milestones in contemporary Spanish theatre.
  • Be able to read theatre visualizing and projecting its potential for performance
  • Develop artistic resources in the direction of theatre scenes in Spanish
  • Be able to write a rigorous essay about theatre, or complete an original artistic project.
Method of presentation: 

Introductory lectures on major themes and relevant background information; discussion of the works and commentaries by students; scene direction; attending performances and workshops. 

Required work and form of assessment: 
  1. Class participation: Active participation in class discussions and activities is expected, as is attendance to all classes and performances. (15%).
  2. Theatre performances: Attendance to 6-7 plays in Granada is mandatory. Tickets are arranged by the professor and covered by tuition. Students must turn in a 2-page critical reaction to each performance during the following class session. (20%)
  3. Scene direction: All students must direct a short scene from one of the plays studied in class. The director is responsible for a general dramatic concept, including the choice of actors, acting styles, use of space, and all visual and aural signs. The director will explain those choices to the class in an open discussion after the scene, and to the instructor in writing. (15%)
  4. Examinations: A mid-term and a final examination (35% total)
  5. Essay or project: A 7-10 page research paper, or a theatre design project, previously approved by the instructor. (15%)

NOTE: Theatre performances attended by class  will vary each semester.

UNIT 1 Course introduction
READINGS: Exerpts from Aristotle, Brecht, Artaud, Ubersfeld

UNIT 2 Lorca and the Spanish Republic
READING: Lorca. Amor de don Perlimplín con Belisa en su jardín

UNIT 3: Theatre in Spain during the dictatorship
READING: Buero Vallejo. El Tragaluz

UNIT 4: Theatre in exile during the dictatorship
READING: Arrabal. PicNic
READING. Gambaro. Decir sí

UNIT 5: Gender issues in theatre in the young democracy
READING: Pedrero. La noche dividida
READING. Pedrero. Solos esta noche
READING. Belbel. Ramón

UNIT 6: New trends in contemporary theatre
READING: Morales. NN12
READING. Sanzol. La calma mágica
VIEWING: La Fura dels Baus
ACTIVITY: Invisible theatre

Required readings: 

Arrabal, Fernando. Pic Nic (1952)

Belbel, Sergi. Ramón (1994)

Buero Vallejo, Antonio. El tragaluz (1967)

Gambaro, Griselda. Decir sí (1981)

García Lorca, Federico. El amor de don Perlimplín con Belisa en su jardín (1933)

Morales, Gracia. NN 12/Nomen nescio (2008)

Pedrero, Paloma. La noche dividida (1989)

Pedrero, Paloma. Solos esta noche (1989)

Sanzol, Alfredo. La calma mágica (2014)