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Drama as a forum: Spanish contemporary society reflected in dramatic works.


This work examines the relationship between literature and reality. To be precise, we will be talking about drama and its reference to the current situation in Spain.

Since drama is a creation of artistic nature, it is a medium to represent human activity. As a consequence, the recreated universes in plays offer very interesting images to help understand the immediate social reality, therefore, we will analyse the reflection of several matters affecting Spanish contemporary citizens in some theatrical pieces where this reflection is particularly shape and clear.

This analysis will be structured as follows: the first part is devoted to the treatment of the general aspects of human beings as a group; and the second part will review more specific situations, such as concrete problems of coexistence. In both sections, the analysis is based on a selection of plays that although not numerous, stand out because they offer (very) eloquent images of contemporary Spanish reality.


We will consider, in this first part, those plays in whose imaginary references there an integral or partial visions of the socio-political Spanish system. As we know, Spain's democratic system today has been built by the will of citizens and political consensus in two consecutive stages: the Political Transition (1975-1982) and the Democratic Stage (from 1983 to the present). The 1978 Spanish Constitution is the reference judicial framework for that system.

Naturally, the political and social being of a country is based on the concept of the collective entity of its citizens, which is the reason why we shall begin with the analysis of this particular concept.

1.1. Identity and the collective being

Most sensible Spanish people think that the important collective problems nowadays (which we will look at through drama in the second section) have a common origin: hesitations about the Spanish identity.

Especially since the change of government in 2004 (after the assassination of almost two hundred people on several trains in Madrid) the concept of "Spain" has often been questioned within the nation. Due to political interests and regional tensions, the name of Spain has suffered a loss of prestige in official institutions and in the media, and it has often being replaced by expressions like "this country" or "the State" referring to the Nation, while equally this last term has also been denied for the country as a whole and has been attributed to each particular region.

Drama, in general, has followed a similar path, silencing all the problematic matters or facts that need to be considered relative to today. However, some important contemporary plays have included as a topic the issue of the concept and the name of Spain. Naturally the clarification of this reality is intuitive and emotional, neither conceptual nor discursive. In the following examples, the perspectives turn out to be varied and sometimes surprising.

The surprise is especially intense in La camisa (1960) by Lauro Olmo. When writing this play, Franco's regime was about to start its second stage: "Development". Until then, those plays which were closer to the theme of Spain frequently had triumphalist (triumphant?) perspectives according to and agreed with the official attitude of the Dictatorship or with positions avoiding confrontation with this attitude.

However, Lauro Olmo wrote a drama of opposition, at least in the approach and solution of the conflicts of his plays, generally different to those of the predominant ideology. Although unexpected, the scene where Spain is cheered in a particularly emotive moment of the play, it is not unexpected that it was done from a demanding position, since it is the people who express their collective solidarity (Olmo 140):

TIO MARAVILLAS. (Ordenando en voz alta.) !Soltad los globos e inmortalizarme, machos!

LOLO. (Soltando su globo.) !Inmortalicemosle!

LUIS. (Soltando el suyo.) !Que no la palme!

BALBINA. !Na de criar malvas!

LOLO. !Viva el tio Maravillas, el incorrupto!

TODOS. (Sin perder el aire de guasa.) !Vivaaa!

TIO MARAVILLAS. !Silencio! (Alzando mas la voz.) !Silencio! !Mirad mis globitos de colores! !Suben! !Suben! Cerrad ahora los ojos e imaginaroslos: ?a que son los primeros en llegar a la Luna?

LOLO. (Ridiculizando.) !Ahi va, si!

TIO MARAVILLAS. (Muy serio, muy emocionado, con voz muy calida.) !Senores! !Por favor, senores! (Depronto, exclama.) !Viva Espana! (Se hace un silencio absoluto.) !Viva Espana! (Cae de rodillas y, golpeando el suelo con los punos, vuelve a exclamar entre sollozos.) !Viva Espana!

It is undeniable how Lauro Olmo insists on the "popular collective" in this play; but the real sense of this scene comes from its comparison with the official sense of triumphalism. In contrast with the successes of the American Space Program, the humble people from Madrid applaud the raising of the balloons that Tio Maravillas has released, indicating with irony that this is the only possible contribution to progress by people who still lack the right to work and housing. However, at the same time, this new awareness of the problem, which must lead to

a collective effort to overcome the situation, is a cohesive element which joins these popular characters so they become individuals of a more authentic Spain than the one proclaimed by the regime.

In the Democratic Age the mention of the "Spanish collective" being portrayed in La increible historia del Dr. Floit y Mr. Pla (1998), Albert Bodaella's play and of his group Els Joglars, is also singular.

The general sense of this play is not only set in the reality of the contemporary world, but also reflects the most relevant aspects of contemporary Spanish reality (Perez Jimenez, "Jardin" 48), One of these aspects is the way in which its main characters live the regional reality, id est, nationalism as paradoxically named by the Spanish politic and media.

One of the most important scenes occurs in the middle of the Ampurdan countryside, north of the Catalan region, and it evolves among characters who were bom and lived in that place, As a popular social group, these local characters are sharing a very joyful coexistence, in which just the company of simple people creates a pleasure which comes from every human and personal relationship. In an especially placid moment of this scene (food, conversation, music, rural peace, nature, etc.), the elderly character Pla feels a very emotive happiness, which pushes him to proclaim in verse his enthusiasm for life and human being. The answer of Siset, an illiterate peasant but full of the wisdom of life, uses the concept and the formula that common people identify with the greatest collective enthusiasm (Boadella 314):

(La nina toca. Mientras se oye el piano, se conversa alrededor del arroz negro.)

PLA. (Que de golpe escucha atentamente el piano.) Siset, ?que es esto?

SISET. ?Esto que toca? Esto me parece que es una cosa de unos melenudos.

PLA. Hay tantos de melenudos.

MOSEN. Cada dia mas, senor Pia.

PLA. Es una invasion.

MOSEN. Yo pensaba que era un himno de colores.

PLA. (Recita.)
   Grato es ver hoy en verdad
   cual comercio, industria y artes
   florecen por todas partes
   y auguran prosperidad.

SISET. !Viva Espana!

PLA. Viva Espana ... mas o menos, Siset, mas o menos.

(La musica de fondo hace adormecer, alrededor del arroz, a los contertulianos.)

(Hablan sobre el arroz y se duermen.)

The one who comments on the exclamation of praise to Spain is Josep Pla, a twentieth century Catalan writer and a man identified with the region and its men, who has a life full of knowledge and love for the landscape and its people. Unlike Siset, the very cultured Pla is well-aware of the problematic context surrounding the relationships between Spain and its regions. He also remembers the abusive use of the name of Spain by Franquista sometimes as triumphalism propaganda of the regime and at other times to use it against its ideological or nationalist opponents. In fact, in a previous scene of the same play, Boadella depicted an officer of the Spanish Army extorting to Marull (a businessman, Pla's alter ego) shouting "!Arriba Espana!" (Boadella 293).

As we said before, Josep Pla joins these two realities which explain the current problems. This is why, although sharing in the jubilant emotion of the rest of the characters, the writer is surprised by the peasants' reaction. However, Pla knows the difference between those two extremes: the past manipulation (as an over-use, sometimes violent) of the concept and name of Spain by Franco's regime; and the current manipulation (as a question and as a negation) by the regional politicians and even (as has happened in the last few years) also by the national government.

This is why Boadella and Els Joglars qualify Pla's character so that he marks the meaning of the exclamation through the expression "more or less"; but, at the same time, Pla accepts the formula and the concept in its authentic sense; the expression of an awareness and of a shared entity: by people of any condition, whose common future depends of the acceptance of this collective identity.

1.2. The coexistence framework

The controversy described in the previous section is highly related to the aspect of the Spanish reality examined in this section: the system or framework regulating the coexistence of different interests and different people joined by common goals.

This system is made up of rules which govern the nation or its territories (since there are special laws in most of the Autonomous Community), the main body of these laws being the 1978 Spanish Constitution. The national and regional institutions are also parts of the whole, since they are integrated in the Spanish political system.

As seen, this system is democratic, in the same manner as western democracies found in the rest of Europe, across large parts of America and in various other countries in the world. However, the Spanish democratic tradition is quite recent since it was bom with the end of Franco dictatorship in 1975. After Franco's death there was a period of adaptation, "The Political Transition." In this time, society experimented with new principles of collective coexistence, allowing the first democratic elections according to the Constitution.

In drama, these topics were reflected in several important plays which showed the new realities and their advantages as well as some contradictions.

During the "Political Transition," the play !Viva la Pepa! (1980), by Juan Antonio Castro, dealt with these two essential aspects of the new co-existential Spanish system. Firstly, it dealt with the importance, origin and meaning of the Constitution -the cornerstone of the system. Secondly, the drama/play focused on the reappearance of old dangers in the new state of things. According to these two aspects, this play pursues two main goals:

The first one, didactic, explains what the Constitution is and how it is referenced to a political and coexistencial system.

MUNOZ TORRERO. "Las Cortes generales y extraordinarias de la nacion espanola ... decretan la siguiente Constitucion politica para el buen gobierno y recta administracion del Estado...." (Castro 68)

The author explains the meaning of the 1978 Constitution from the previous model of the Constitution proclaimed in Cadiz while the city was besieged by Napoleon's troops. Due to the date pf its promulgation (19th March, 1812), this Constitution was known as La Pepa (since this day is San Jose's day and Jose and Pepe are the same name in Spanish).

This first Constitution was written by Parliament, which took refuge in this beautiful Atlantic City and which had national (and popular) sovereignty.

MUNOZ TORRERO. "Articulo 2. La Nacion espanola es libre e independiente y no es, ni puede ser, patrimonio de ninguna familia ni persona ... Articulo 3. La soberania reside esencialmente en la Nacion y, por lo mismo, pertenece a esta exclusivamente el derecho de establecer sus leyes fundamentales." (Castro 68-69)

In this way, Juan Antonio Castro's play clarifies that the power of any Constitution and the guarantee of any coexistence is the national sovereignty -a concept which needs a precise definition of nation:

MUNOZ TORRERO. "Titulo Primero. Articulo 1. La Nacion espanola es la reunion de todos los espanoles de ambos hemisferios." (Castro 68)

Aside from this didactic objective, the author wanted to reach another political objective aimed to guarantee that the new system of coexistence (which the Political Transition had recently built with the 1978 Constitution) could last.

As a consequence, the author points out the danger awaiting the democracy which comes from those elements opposed to the freedom system. Again, he uses the 1812 example and, after representing the attack which put at risk the birth of La Pepa during its writing, he finishes his plays in a pessimistic way, although, unfortunately, in keeping with historical reality. In fact, only one year after its enactment, the 1812 Constitution was abolished by the new King Fernando VII, although he ascended the throne thanks to the established rules in this Constitution. However, this treacherous king, although he had initially promised the opposite, spurned the national will represented in Parliament and imposed his own pride and promoted the interests of those who were fee enemies of fee new liberal system from the beginning.

In the same way that the absolutists and reactionaries caused the first Spanish Constitution to fail, !Viva la Pepa! warns the 1980 Spanish people that the time of the Political Transition will also be plagued by threats to the new 1978 Constitution and, consequently, to the first democratic Spanish age.

Fortunately, the democracy and constitution survived those dangers which Juan Antonio Castro pointed out. (Between those), The Spanish democracy has since resisted opposing opinions and judgements which judged it as an inadequate system without real freedoms. This is the position adopted in Los hombres y sus sombras (1983), by Alfonso Sastre, who defends this thesis:

La verdad es que no somos nadie--y cada vez menos aun--frente a las omnipotencias del Estado, y que lo que el buen Orwell creyo ver para esos anos ochenta como un monstruo politico que habria de ser producido por ei Estado comunista es ya un hecho en las areas del capitalismo fuerte y avanzado. (Sastre, "Nota final" 144)

And, although the author subtitles his play with Brecht's resonances, "Terrors and Miseries of the IV Reich," however, this new reference is shifted to the ensemble of western democracies:

Este IV Reich es una situacion efectivamente imaginaria, basada, eso si, en hechos y expectativas que se han producido quizas mas en la Republica Federal alemana que en otros paises. No tengo, pues, inconveniente en que para una eventual puesta en escena en aquel pais (RFA) se procediera a una cierta exotizacion: Con nombres geograficos y personales anglosajones referentes a los USA, por ejemplo: USA seria entonces nuestro "pais imaginario".

Unicamente desapruebo la posibilidad de que estas acciones se situaran en un pais socialista -la URSS, Polonia, Checoslovaquia, Cuba o cualquier otro-, dado que me parece que en aquellos paises los problemas no son asimilables a los que padecemos en los paises capitalistas. (Sastre, "Nota importante" 135)

Despite the generalized nature, these references to Spanish realities are unequivocal. Even in 1983, just one year after the Political Transition finished and when the current Democratic Age started, Sastre confers to the new coexistent Spanish system the same totalitarianism as to the rest of the western democracies.

Consequently, the first part of the play points unequivocally to the new Spanish democracy through the partial title 'Eskorial', which refers to the "Centrum or Zentrum of data collection, as well as the analysis and computation of social information. It depends on the Minister of Internal Affairs of the IV Reich" (Sastre, Hombres 25).

According to this play, the antiterrorist actions carried out by the government of Felipe Gonzalez to eradicate ETA, the Basque terrorist group, would be comparable to the repressive actions of the III Reich;

HANS, (con voz casi lugubre) Estuvo en el Pais Vasco.

CHRISTA. ?Donde esta eso?

HANS. (todavia mas lugubre) Es la ZEN.

CHRISTA. ?Como "lacen"? (No ha entendido nada, naturalmente)

HANS. En espanol, Zona Especial Norte.

CHRISTA. Ah, te refieres a Euskadi Sur.

HANS. Exactamente.

CHRISTA. En Zonas Rojas la cifra para esa area es precisamente E. Ese, Euskadi Sur, si no es mucho decir. (Sastre, Hombres 32)

In this way, the drama questions the control procedures over the people carried out by current western democracies in general, and by the infant (in 1983) Spanish democracy in particular. In this political context, the terrorists appear to be victims of the system, since, deep down the system is (according to the play) much more violent that the terrorists themselves.


In general, the diseases afflicting Spanish society are common to all western societies and are part of the convulsions that shook humanity in the beginning of the second millennium.

However, the matters dealt with in this second part square with other problems that in Spain present specific issues, either in quantity, quality or intensity.

As a result, we will analyse the burning aspects which we can find in the plays. These have been selected, not because of their exclusive characters, but for their capacity to affect the socio-political relations built in the beginning of the Democratic Age already analyzed (also through drama) in the first part.

2.1. Terrorism

As is well known, the coexistence of the Spanish people, just like the life and the security of most of them, have suffered the threat of terrorist groups for fifty years. Some of these (GRAPO, FRAP, TERRA LLHJRE) were already eradicated or carried out their actions in the late years of Franquism and during the Political Transition.

However, the ETA terrorist organization has persistently attacked Spanish society, killing hundreds of citizens and is still a danger today through extortion, kidnapping, terrorist attacks and personal or collective assassination.

In general, drama has been insensitive to this blight in the same way as some politicians (who have tried to obtain electoral advantage) and, we could say, as our own Spanish society (which might explain the duration of the phenomenon in a democratic context). It was pointed out in 2003 by one author who is a very notable exception:

A los autores de teatro espanoles actuales se nos acusa de muchas cosas, entre otras de no ocupamos de los asuntos que mas preocupan a la sociedad. A la hora de concretar, se pone el ejemplo del terrorismo de ETA ....

Pero la realidad es la que es y hay que aceptarlo, como tambien, con mayor logica, que las nuevas generaciones de autores ... se interesen mas por sus problemas personales que por los de su entorno. (Lopez Mozo, "Contribucion" 9)

However, some outstanding plays have reflected the reality of terror through trying to understand the phenomenon, showing explicitly what should be a collective state of awareness. Leaving apart the exception of Alfonso Sastre's play, (considered in the previous section) the rest of the plays have dealt with the matter from a common attitude, although their different years of writing show that this attitude has developed notably, according to the perception of the phenomenon in Spanish society.

Then, still in the first decade of the Democratic Age, the play Judita (1988), by Lourdes Ortiz, recreated in a fictitious way, the monologue of an ETA terrorist who was involved in a kidnapping. With pioneering willpower, the author dealt with the problem from an intellectual point of view, in which we could see the psychological motivation of the main character. These motivations were determined by other causes coming from the political and sociological issues dominant in the Spanish region of the Basque Country.

Also the play Hijos de Hybris (2002), by Jeronimo Lopez Mozo, adopts the structure of the monologue. In fact, the play is a succession of three soliloquies of the same character: Bautismo de fuego, Todos vosotros sois el and Anos despues. Through this procedure, the author wanted "to leave the terrorist alone, facing his own acts, thinking on them without external influences" (Lopez Mozo, "Contribucion" 11).

The adopted perspective in the play is again trying to explore the personal motivation of the terrorists, bearing in mind that, as the author says, "it called my attention that the authors of the terrorist attacks were even younger and younger" (Lopez Mozo, "Contribucion" 10). This is why, the play answers to the aim of being in

la piel de uno de esos muchachos y sacar a la superficie sus sentimientos mas intimos, saber que sienten la primera vez que apoyan el arma en la nuca de sus victimas, como viven las horas y los dias siguientes--algunos celebran el exito con una opipara cena regada con champagne--, si alguna vez ... se plantean que matar a un hombre no es defender una doctrina, sino matar a un hombre ... (Lopez Mozo, "Contribucion" 11)

One of the most important dramatic plays about terrorism (maybe the crowning achievement of the scenic representation of this phenomenon) is Eusk, written in 2002. The adopted perspective shows the evolution that in some sectors of Spanish society experimented with the consideration of the problem, better known in its real causes and its tragic consequences.

Accordingly, this piece contains an integral recreation of the phenomenon, which is presented through an ample ensemble of factors such as the unmentionable interests which make possible its existence. These interests are mainly economical, however, there are others, related to racial pride, blind revenge, a disposition to eradicate the opponent and the exercise of violence as a leisure activity:

CEMENTERIO. ATARDECER ROJO. Varios familiares vestidos de negro, velan un ataud. Contraluz. La madre del asesino esta cerca del ataud. Lleva el pelo corto, gris y va vestida con colores azules y rosas pastel.

MADRE. Saliste arrastrandote del Urumea, ... fuiste un buen hombre, ... recuerdo cuando te zambullias una y otra vez debajo del puente, las olas te lanzaban contra las rocas, hasta romperte la pierna, mientras ios demas solo daban gritos, tu saliste del agua, luchando ... contra las mareas altas de Septiembre, con Txomin de nueve arios en brazos. Los crios siempre igual, ... se me escapo sin darme cuenta ...

Txomin queria coger cangrejos con la cuadrilla, ... mayores que el, ... cayo al agua. Montxo, aquello nunca lo olvidare.

?Pero, por que no eras de los nuestros? ?Cuando dejaste de ser asi?

Siempre retandonos a que denunciaramos a ETA. ?Es que no te das cuenta? Txomin lucha por salvar este pais, ... pues como tu le salvaste a el, igual, en cuerpo y alma. Ahora, ya te has enterado, mi hijo ante todo es un gudari vasco, antes de nada es un patriota y si hay que matar, mata. Y tu le estabas hinchando las narices, ?sabes? !Txakurra de mierda! ?Que creias que por haberle sacado del agua te tenia que hacer caso, oye?

Te aviso una y otra vez, te queria como a un padre, pero no te aguantaba con tus sermones de cipayo. No digo que no fueras un buenhombre, ?eh? Pero es que con vosotros no vamos a ninguna parte, oye, Bueno si, a que nos quiten el trabajo a todos. (Barrena 61-62)

This play efficiently uses documental drama techniques and inserts in the ensemble of its fictional universe a large number of events produced in a realistic way and collected punctually from the media. In this way/technique/manner, the perspective has evolved from a simple search for explanation (as in previous plays) to an evidenced denunciation, carried out through the systematic and contextualized presentation, of terrorist acts that the audience remembers and identifies with in its recent experience of reality.

Perhaps this power of denunciation is the explanation for the author to go undercover using the pseudonym of Koldo Barrena, due to the fear of becoming another victim of the ETA terrorist organization.

2.2. Political corruption

Although, unfortunately, political corruption is a phenomenon in all modern democracies, it has showed a special virulence in the Spanish Democratic Age, both in its early period and currently (2011).

In the second decade of democracy, Fermin Cabal's play Castillos en el aire (1995) analysed this negative reality. The author, who had expressed similar concerns in previous plays, understood the problem in relation to the general mistakes of the political system which had disappointed the Spanish peoples' hopes, frustrating the expectation of the Political Transition generation. In the critics' opinion, with this play Cabal was back again

a los desagues. En esta ocasion a los despachos donde dirigentes del partido "con mas de cien anos de prestigio", como ellos mismos recuerdan, diputados y dirigentes, muestran el lado mas miserablemente humano de su condicion de politicos corruptos. (Centeno 15)

Among the present references, we emphasize the play Orquesta (2008), by the playwright Carmen Resino, who recreates the existence and the consequences of the phenomenon nowadays.

Her perspective is to point out how the old mechanisms of political abuse of authority are still alive and those force the artist to submit to his authority. In this new slavery, the chains are the absurd funding system based on public money. Either the concession or rejection of these sums of money are a perverse and subtle way of corruption, since they depend on the service demanded to the artist by the political authority in its own benefice.

2.3. Back to the past

Another problem affecting the Spanish coexistence has been the proclamation of the concept "back to the past," understood as the ideological clash that divided the most radical sectors of the population in Spain in the past. This restoration of the old memories of the Spanish confrontation has been specially promoted by the most recent governments, who have tried to demolish the fundamentals of the democratic system established by consensus during the Political Transition. Consequently, particular interests (either regional, ideological, and/or electoral) have been given preference over common democratic interests.

Spanish drama has recreated two very different attitudes to this problem. Both of these attitudes are shown in the play El arquitecto y el relojero (2000), by Jeronimo Lopez Mozo, which illustrates the dichotomy between the forces in conflict The first, maintained by the architect, looks at the future and considers the past from a pacifying reconciliation attitude. The second, defended by the clockmaker, thinks on frie past as a permanent negative model for the present:

RELOJERO....En este edificio han ocurrido cosas que no debemos olvidar.

ARQUITECTO. ?Le parece? Mi opinion es distinta. Lo que nos interesa saber, sucedio, sucede, fuera del edificio, en esa plaza. (Lopez Mozo, Arquitecto 41)

This last stance, thatwhich matches the settling of scores promoted by the previous governments, had already been anticipated by Antonio Buero Vallejo in one of his last plays, Mision al pueblo desierto (1999), which concluded with some words that we could interpret as a final call by the author to break the ideological tolerance mid harmony of the Democratic Age:

PRESIDENTE.... Solo unas ultimas palabras. La obstinada oposicion a nuestra secretaria de nuestro vocal adjunto me ha llevado a sospechar, y pido perdon por ello, que el rescoldo de la guerra civil acaso siga siendo mas vivo entre nosotros de lo que pensamos ... Puede que solo sea el sobresalto inevitable de quienes recordamos sus consecuencias ..., el anhelo de que quiza no todo esta perdido. Muchas gracias.... TELON FINAL. (BueroVallejo 119)

The conflict between oblivion and memory, or between forgiveness and hard feelings, had also been expressed by another post-war dramatist, Joaquin Calvo Sotelo. In La herencia (1957), a widow of a soldier in Franco's army has to decide between authorizing or preventing her son's marriage to the daughter of the killer of her husband. The outcome here is very different:

ANIBAL.... Y piensa que todo el dolor nuestro puede darse por bien empleado si contribuye algo, por poco que sea, a disminuir el de quienes nos siguen,...

Se me ocurre que cada generacion hace en grande lo mismo que tu en pequeno: ordenar la casa para que la generacion nueva la encuentre reluciente y a punto ...

Porque es triste quiza ver como la vida se lleva lo que mas hemos amado; pero es consolador ver como se lleva tambien nuestras pasiones, nuestros odios, nuestros rencores ... (Calvo Sotelo 78)

2.4. Unemployment

Starting this second decade of the new millennium, the most worrying problem that threatens Spanish society is unemployment. At present, the rate of unemployment in Spain has already reached 21% of the active population and is the highest of the European Union.

In an earlier political period also characterised by an increase of this social problem (the years following the 1959 Stabilization Plan), drama knew how to reproduce the social consequences of unemployment as exemplified in La camisa (1960). In this play, (mentioned above), Lauro Olmo established a conflict between two different answers to the same situation of social injustice: Lola's attitude, willing to give way to avoid the negative effects on her family; and Juan's attitude, positioned in the most general area of class consciousness and of the active role that, in the dynamics of history, the proletariat must adopt (Perez Jimenez, "Camisa" 85-86), in addition to constituting a precise denunciation of the unemployment phenomenon and its disastrous consequences, the play showed, through Juan's stance, that the citizens' right to work must be the main aim of governments.

In a different way, the drama of the years prior to the current catastrophic situation had shifted its focus towards the wider framework of work-relationships. Some plays recreated the difficulty of precise situations in this field nowadays. Among these, the competitive processes of selection were reproduced (El metodo Gronholm, by Jordi Galceran) or the frequent cases of sexual harassment at work were condemned (Comida para peces, by Javier de Dios). Both plays were written in 2004.

Before that year, and of course much before the current collapse of employment in Spain, the dramatist Fernando Martin Iniesta had recreated in Tres tintos con anchoa (1996) the terrible magnitude of the phenomenon. The play adopts the perspective of a direct victim of this social blight, substituting the official hollow rhetoric (with the government hiding its responsibilities) by the intuitive and spontaneous manifestation of feeling and opinions by the unemployed:

PARAO. !Eh, un respeto, que hay paraos y paraos! ... Lo que pasa es que somos muy burros y nos creemos todo lo que dice la tele... Hasta lo de la guerra de las galaxias nos lo creemos ... Y lo que dicen que han trincao al de la barba, el Roldan, y toda la camarilla, no puede ser verdad, porque si fuera verdad ... ?que seriamos nosotros? Pues seriamos unos cabrones consentidos, unos mansos de cencerro, un saco mierda cuando no hemos sido capaces de cortarles los cojones a esos tios ... ?Tu, companero, eres un cabron consentido, un manso, un saco mierda? ... No ... Porque no es verdad lo de esos tios, es una novela de la tele, una fantasia....? Si o no? ... Maestro ... otro vinito con la anchoa respectiva ...

Para que luego digan que no somos un' pais desarrollado y modernista ... ?Lo somos o no lo somos? ... ?Que pais que no sea rico y progresista se puede permitir la chuleria de dar vacaciones de tres, o cinco o siete meses o un ano, lo que haga falta, a los trabajadores? ... ?No le llaman a esto el Estado del bienestar?, ?y hay mas bienestar que estar tumbao con la panza al sol sin dar palo al agua?

Usted perdone, jefe, ya lo se y me callo ... si puedo ... ?Pero puede uno callarse? ... ?Ante las cosas que estan pasando puede uno callarse?.. !Hay que ser muy cabron para tenerla muy quieta!.... Y yo cavilo y le doy al coco: ?tiene la culpa de lo que pasa el capitalismo internacional?.... ?La tiene o no la tiene? ... ?O la tienen los comunistas que no defienden al obrero? ... ?Pero es que hay comunistas en este pais....? ?O son senoritos vestidos de senoritos, que, ahora, el comunismo tiene que ser cosa de tios bien vestidos?.... ?Donde estan los hijos de Lenin? ... !Los herederos de la hoz y el martillo! (Martin Iniesta 117-118)


The selection that we have presented does not claim to be exhaustive, neither in the proposed issues nor in the selected plays. Regarding the matters we have discussed, they do not exhaust the current issues covered by dramatic Spanish plays. As we said before, this analysis has been focused on those topics presenting peculiarities in contemporary Spain. Relating to the plays, the small number of the aforementioned does not match with the total amount that understands its functions as pieces of art reflecting the reality of the time. However, the most significant have beer showcased, some in which the recreated aspects have a special capacity of enlightenment.

On the other hand, the chosen approach has always been one originating in the curren reality, rather than in past history, simply because the reflection of the past in drama has previously been studied by Romera Castillo, Jose and Francisco Gutierrez Carbajo and Perez Jimenez. Consequently, the study carried out in this analysis has been focused in a corpus of plays chosen as paradigms. Through them we have tried to reflect Spanish contemporary society and its aspects of reality which have produced the development of contemporary drama.

Works Cited

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Manuel Perez Jimenez

University de Alcala
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Author:Perez Jimenez, Manuel
Publication:West Virginia University Philological Papers
Article Type:Essay
Geographic Code:4EUSP
Date:Sep 22, 2012
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