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MENTIDERO The Golden Age Drama Festival of 1999 The Twenty-Fourth Golden Age Drama Festival took place at the Chamizal National Memorial in El Paso, Texas, and Juárez, Mexico, from February 26 through March 6, 1999. Two international conferences, one sponsored by the Association for Hispanic Classical Theater in El Paso and the other by the Asociación Internacional del Teatro Español y Novo-Hispano de los Siglos de Oro in Juárez, were held concurrently. The new superintendent of the Chamizal, Cordell J. Roy, with the very able assistance of Virginia Nesse and Paul Ronai, was the very gracious host for eight very large theatrical companies, for numerous scholars from Europe, Latin and North America, and for big, multi-national audiences from Texas and Mexico. The Park Service took special care to involve an even wider and newer audience by inviting the companies to give matinee performances at several schools in El Paso. In addition to the plays at the Chamizal, the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Mexico, Ciudad Juárez, with their Teatro Clásico under the direction of Francisco Portes, presented Moreto's ?? puede ser el guardar una mujer so that, for the first time, comedia enthusiasts had the luxury of choice between two different works on the same night, a pleasant dilemma quite rare in the twentieth century. At the Chamizal, Ms. Betty Jaraba very skillfully directed the audience's attention to the salient points in the biography of each playwright. The result was that, with greater understanding, the interest of both experienced and inexperienced spectators was sustained from the opening scenes to the fin de fiesta ofeach play. On February 26, the Real Escuela Superior de Arte Dramático ofMadrid brought the little-known play by Francisco de Rojas Zorrilla, Obligados y ofendidos y gorrón de Salamanca, to the Chamizal. Director Juanjo Granda directed eighteen actors through a brilliant text in which the main characters struggled to solve dilemmas which would lead most people to resigned silence or to madness. The two main characters kill one another's brothers, 115 116BCom, Vol. 51, No. 1 & 2 (1999) save one another's lives, and fall in love with one another's sisters, to the effect that they are mutually, as the title states, mortally offended and nobly obliged. At no time was the audience confused by the complex plot because the cast developed their roles completely: the gracioso typified the mediocre student from Salamanca, slothful, gross mannered, fun-loving, poor, easily aroused yet engaging in his youthful innocence; the aristocrat was arrogant , abusive, generous, jealous ofhis honor, brave to the point oftemerity , but ultimately morally responsible for his actions; the galán because of his personal integrity and bravery was easily eclipsed by the more extravagant characters; the dama, deceived by her aristocratic suitor, was obedient to her father and because of her intelligence could control her emotions by analyzing her moral dilemma and psychological distress in verses almost equal to the sonnets of Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz. The second dama was more aristocratic and aloof in her analyses of the events transpiring before her. The father watched helplessly as his children entered a sea of tumultuous passions and possible ruin through dishonor. This play was unique in its journey through the underworld of the picaresque novel in the final scenes. There, the themes of the physical abuse of women, of homoeroticism, of endemic hunger, of drunkenness and obscene language demonstrated how close the dangers of the socially marginalized are to everyone's life. The play was realistic and optimistic in demonstrating that a series ofsmall, correct decisions to recognize one's duty and to postpone indefinitely one's response to the urging of personal honor towards revenge can lead to a resolution of the most difficult dilemmas—an excellent lesson for violent societies . The audience was guided skillfully through this complex play by masterful direction and superb acting. Teatro Ibérico's staging of Gil Vicente's O Velho da Horta on February 27 was dream-like in its costuming, movement, music, set, and obsessively repetitive verses. The theme of May-December love was poignantly portrayed by an ingenuous young...


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