Monologue Monday

Monologue Monday: Laurencia in Fuenteovejuna (Lope de Vega)

And we’re back for Monologue Monday. This week’s monologue comes from the seriously prolific Lope de Vega. And prolific is an understatement – he’s credited with 500 plays on Anglo Wikipedia and his own museum credits him with up to 1,800 plays. FWIW Britannica gives him 431 extant plays. Lost works of his are still popping up.

At some point in the future we’ll probably profile him.

Meanwhile, Fuenteovejuna remains one of his most popular plays and is one of the few available in English. It is supposedly based on a true story and is set in a real town.

Summary: The Portuguese capture Ciudad Real. Two lovers from the nearby village of Fuenteovejuna, Laurencia and Frondoso, meet in the forest. The local Commander tries to rape Laurencia, but Frondoso takes the Commander’s crossbow and Laurencia.

The Commander demands Laurencia’s father allow him to have her. The dad refuses. Ciudad Real has been attacked. The Commander goes back there. Laurencia and Pascuala escape the village with a peasant, Mengo. They meet another peasant gal, Jacinta, who is escaping the Commander’s servants.

Soldiers capture Mengo and Jacinta. Mengo is whipped, Jacinta is raped. Pleasant stuff. Frondoso and Laurencia have a wedding, but the Commander interrupts it and arrests Frondoso, the dad and Laurencia.

The villagers decide what to do. Laurencia is beaten and nearly raped – she escapes and joins the villagers in disguise. She berates them for not trying to rescue her. The villagers plan to kill the Commander.

While Frondoso’s execution is being readied, the villagers kill the Commander and and one of his servants.

Flores, the surviving servant, escapes and rushes to the king and queen to tell what went down. The rulers order an investigation. The investigator tortures men, women, and young boys, but everyone just says “Fuenteovejuna” (i.e. the village) killed the Commander. The monarchs pardon the villagers when they tell their story.

Here is a TV adaptation from 1972:

Here is a site-specific production from Mexico in 2011. I wish I’d thought of restaging the play in the Mexican Revolution. Brilliant.

An adaptation by Thalia Hispanic Theatre in Queens, NY. In this version, set in modern Ciudad Juárez, Laurencia is one of the disappeared women of Juárez.

But we’re here for the monologues! This is a powerful monologue. After Laurencia has escaped the bad guys and returns to the village, she’s rightfully angry and tears into the so-called “men” of the village (you know, the ones who didn’t try to help her and stuff).

Note: In the beginning of the monologue her dad calls her  “my daughter” – she then replies with something like “Don’t call me daughter!” — then like a dork-face he says “Why?” Then she tells them off. Some of the monologues retain the beginning and some start after the dad has spoken. That’s why they’re different. And bear in mind that multiple English translations exist, so variation in text may occur.

I’m so excited…I’ll tell you why later.





So remember that part where I said I was excited? That’s because this is our first multilingual Monologue Monday – there are quite a few Spanish versions of this monologue. Let’s start!!










Those were intense. I really love studying theatre from outside the US and especially outside the Anglosphere. There’s really so much we can learn.

What do you think? Is there a difference in performance styles between languages? What can Anglophone theatre gain from studying foreign-language drama and performance?

Thanks again to all the brave actors who put themselves out there. Great stuff.

To conclude, here’s a nice video someone put up talking about the Spanish Golden Age of Theatre in general and Fuenteovejuna in particular. Join us on Thursday for an interesting playwright of years gone by.

For another Spanish playwright’s monologue, check here.

For a complete list of monologues, click here.