- A Play for Branciforte: Early California and the Survival of Astucias por heredar un sobrino a un tío, a Banned Comedia from Bourbon New Spain
- Early American Literature
- The University of North Carolina Press
- Volume 53, Number 3, 2018
- pp. 773-834
- View Citation
- Additional Information
This article traces the provenance of a recently recovered literary manuscript from the Bancroft Library in California: Astucias por heredar un sobrino a un tío. This original text written in Spanish by Fermín de Reygadas is considered to be the earliest secular play performed in a European language in California. Authored in 1789 by a Spanish colonist in Mexico, and banned from the stage by the censor's office in the spring of 1790, this satirical family drama was never printed, and was only performed (circa 1797) in the newly settled secular town of Branciforte (East Santa Cruz). It was preserved there in private archives, and then briefly rescued by Guadalupe Vallejo and Hubert H. Bancroft to be stored away again, having thus received almost no critical or scholarly attention until now. I consider here some aspects of the textual origins as well as some recent performances of the play.