Essays in Honor of Matthew D. Stroud
Three Productions of El condenado por desconfiado: The Devil’s Polymorphism in Our Time
MARYRICA ORTIZ LOTTMAN The University of North Carolina, Charlotte
El condenado por desconfiado [Damned by Despair] is a canonical play of the Spanish Golden Age but one that presents special challenges to the modern director, given its heady theological themes. Three recent productions have tried to make this comedia more accessible, in part by altering the character of its Devil. All three productions have a striking number of features in common. They unanimously treat the Devil as a comic character, experiment with the Devil’s gender, and convert the character into a guide for the audience, sometimes greatly enlarging the role. While the productions of El condenado by Colombia’s Teatro del Valle (2003) and by Spain’s Centro Nacional de Teatro Clásico (2010) scored successes with their audiences, the Devil of Damned by Despair, an adaptation at London’s National Theatre (2012) showcased a multifaceted Devil who was no less terrifying for exercising a wicked sense of humor.1
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