Grand Valley to perform unique Spanish Golden Age drama

Erik Czuprinski and Genesis Loza perform in 'Antona Garcia'
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Erik Czuprinski and Genesis Loza perform in 'Antona Garcia'
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An adventure/romance, filled with action and rollicking with humor in the vein of “The Princess Bride” or “Xena Warrior Princess,” will take the stage at Grand Valley State University. What may be surprising is that the production is an English translation and stage adaptation of the play “Antona Garcia,” written by Tirso de Molina in 1635, during the Spanish Golden Age.

Six performances of "Antona Garcia" will be featured at
Grand Valley’s Performing Arts Center, Allendale Campus
March 30, 31, April 5 & 6 at 7:30 p.m.
April 1 and 7 at 2 p.m.
Tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for seniors, GVSU faculty, staff, and alumni,
and $6 for all students. Call the Louis Armstrong Theatre Box Office at 331-2300.


“It’s an historic production about loyalty, patriotism and feminism,” said director Karen Libman, professor of theater in Grand Valley’s School of Communications. “But it is also a very fast-paced and fun-filled performance.”

Written more than 150 years after Spain’s war against Portugal, during the reign of Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand, “Antona García” is about a beautiful and legendary young heroine. The character is undeterred by injury, imprisonment, the death of her husband, or giving birth to twins, during her pivotal role in preventing Portugal from taking the Spanish throne.

The English translation and stage adaptation was recently developed by Grand Valley faculty members Jason Yancey, assistant professor of Spanish in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures, and James Bell, assistant professor of theater in the School of Communications.

Though the production will be performed in English, it features traditional “entremeses” which are scenes performed in Spanish interspersed throughout the performance, yet unrelated to the play. They serve more as comic-relief intermissions and are also distinguished by the use of masks worn by these performers. Other authentic elements of the Spanish Golden Age included in the production are the use of period music recorded from performance on period instruments, and period dance, including the chaconne, which was considered to be quite risque at the time because the dancers’ ankles are exposed.

The theater company from Grand Valley was invited by the U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, to perform the play during the 2012 international Festival at the Chamizal National Memorial in El Paso, TX, March 6-8. Grand Valley was the only U.S. group selected to perform, joining others from Mexico and Spain.

The Memorial was established in 1963 to commemorate a treaty, which resulted in the peaceful settlement of a century-long border dispute between Mexico and the U.S. Since its start in 1976, the Spanish Drama Festival at the memorial has attained an international reputation for presenting quality performances by theatrical groups from around the world.

Listen to WGVU interview here.