The Theater Classroom of the University of Cantabria has released its last two productions in online format, for the enjoyment of anyone interested from the Campus Cultural YouTube channel.

These are the works ‘The betrayal in friendship’ by María de Zayas, staged by the UC Theater Group, and ‘Manumitio’, a piece by Alberto Iglesias that won the 2019 ‘Isaac Cuende’ Short Theater Award from the Council University Social.

The vice-rector for Culture, Social Projection and Institutional Relations, Tomás Mantecón, explained that the performances have been made “behind closed doors but filming the works to be able to offer them to the general public in a virtual format, with totally free access.” These are proposals “of great importance for the training of actors and actresses and to continue creating this theater school,” he stressed.

Like other areas of university life, theatrical activity on campus has been affected by the pandemic with suspensions of workshops, rehearsals and presentations of stage works.

The safety distance and the use of masks have disrupted the cultural programming and, in particular, that of the live arts. For this reason, the Aula de Teatro has adapted to the new circumstances by modifying the times and formats of the productions whose premiere was scheduled for spring 2020.

In this sense, the UC Theater Group has converted its initial stage proposal into an abbreviated dramatized reading, the rehearsals of which have been carried out with special transparent masks and keeping safe distances.

The objective of choosing a text in verse by female authorship was to investigate different theatrical genres, this time one written by María de Zayas, one of the forgotten playwrights of the Spanish Golden Age.

Combative and innovative, María de Zayas was born in Madrid in 1590 and died around 1660. A contemporary of authors such as Lope, Cervantes or Quevedo, she stands out as a novelist, being the first Spanish woman to write and publish a fiction book with her name. His short novels were very successful and continued to be reprinted until the Inquisition decided to ban them in the 18th century.

‘The betrayal in friendship’, the only dramatic text of his that remains, is a comedy of entanglement, in which a game of crossed amorous conquests takes place. The interesting thing about this comedy is that these themes are manifested in the realm of the female characters, that is, friendship and honor between the ladies.

The proposal has the artistic direction of Rita Cofiño, the lighting design of Víctor Lorenzo, and the participation in the cast of Pilar Sainz, Adelina Calvo, Juan Antonio Sanz, Andrés Fernández, Christian C. Paris, Rita Cofiño, Beatriz Gutiérrez, Cecilia Ribalaygua and the voice-over of Rosa Gil.

“Manumitio”

The UC Theater Classroom has also staged the winning text of the 2019 “Isaac Cuende” Short Theater Award convened by the UC Social Council, whose premiere had also been suspended. With text and direction by Alberto Iglesias and the acting work of Álvaro Díaz Martínez and Christian C. París, “Manumitio” takes advantage of the field of university life to present a scene in which, while millions of people demonstrate in the streets the day After a general strike against the government of the nation, a professor and a student find themselves alone in the magna lecture hall of a college.

For different reasons, both have decided not to support the strike proposed by their respective unions and go to class. They are alone, without security personnel, or colleagues who can come in case of a call for help. In other words, an ideal moment to settle scores and honor the word justice.

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