Abstract:

Staging female rivalry for today’s audiences presents a multiplicity of problems in producing Golden Age Spanish plays. In Lope de Vega’s El perro del hortelano, the lady Diana, Countess of Belflor, eventually wins out against her rival, her own lady-in-waiting, Marcela. A further complication arises since the love interest is the Countess’s low-born secretary, Teodoro. Stage action from Marcela’s perspective informs the main plot, the love game between Diana and Teodoro. Marcela questions: “When can honor and love ever meet” (112), a line recalling Donald Larson’s notion of feminine vergüenza that involves the Countess’s social status. I discuss David Johnston’s translation as an effort to unravel comedic enredos with contemporary language, along with the performance at the Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington, DC, in 2009. The bonds of matrimony serve to bring order out of delightful theatrical chaos that in the hands of this translator becomes witty comedic action.

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