Five Plays: Comedies and Tragicomedies
Federico Garcia Lorca
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Two additional comedies, published here in book form in English for the first time, are The Billy-Club Puppets ― a guignol-type farce with delicate wit; and The Butterfly’s Evil Spell, an "insect comedy" about a beetle-poet who aspires to be a butterfly.
Federico García Lorca’s position as one of the few geniuses of the modern theatre was firmly established in the English-speaking world with his Three Tragedies. Here, with an introduction by the dramatist’s brother, Francisco García Lorca, are five of his “comedies,” in the authorized translations, extensively revised to reflect recent Lorca scholarship and to convey the sparkle, freshness, and magic of the original Spanish. The Shoemaker’s Prodigious Wife tells of a young beauty married to an old man, a theme that often concerned Lorca. The resolution for the earnest shoemaker, who leaves home and comes back disguised as a puppeteer, is lighthearted, but there is underlying pathos. The Love of Don Perlimplin is again about a girl who weds someone much older, this time a bookish, 18th-century gentleman, who seeks an original but sardonic way out of the situation. According to Lorca himself, “Dona Rosita is the outer gentleness and inner scorching of a girl in Granada who, little by little, turns into that grotesque and moving thing ― an old maid in Spain.”
know? s a s h y o u t h , very near. Every minute I sigh that many times for you, for thee. w i f e , brusquely. Stop that. I can listen to you talk be cause I like it and it’s pretty—but that’s all, do you hear? A fine thing that would be! w if e . sash y o u t h . ACT ONE 75 s a s h y o u t h . But that cannot be. Is it that you’ve given your word elsewhere? w i f e . Now look here; go away. s a s h y o u t h . I won’t move from this spot until you say yes. Oh, my little Shoemaker’s'
goes out rapidly, leaving the door open. Through the left door the W ife appears. The Shoemaker’s Prodigious Wife 76 Supper’s ready. Do you hear me? Goes toward the door on the right. Do you hear me? Well, has he had the courage to go to the cafe, leaving the door open? And without finishing the boots? Well, when he returns he’ll listen to me! He’ll have to listen! How like men, men are! How abusive and how . . . how . . . well! Changing. Oh, what a nice little breeze. She lights the lamp and
it’s such an incomprehensible thing that . . . it doesn’t seem to be true. Disturbed. w i f e . You’re very right, but since then I haven’t been able to eat or sleep, or live; because he was my happiness, my defense. s h o e m a k e r . And, loving him as much as you did, did he abandon you? I can see from that your husband was not very understanding. w i f e . Please keep your tongue in your pocket. No one has given you permission to voice your opinion. s h o e m a k e r . You must excuse me; I
precautions . . . f i r s t s p r i t e . They would never be discovered. s e c o n d s p r i t e . And without this covering and uncover ing . . . f i r s t s p r i t e . What would the poor people do? s e c o n d s p r i t e , looking at the curtain. There must not even be a slit. f i r s t s p r i t e . For the slits of today are darkness to morrow. They laugh. s e c o n d s p r i t e . When things are quite evident . . . f i r s t s p r i t e . Man figures that he has no need to dis cover
But sometimes she sets my nerves on edge. The Spinsters are with Rosita, looking at some linens. Servants are impossible. mother. Cheeky. I have a girl who cleans the flat in the afternoons; she used to earn what they have always earned: one peseta a month and leftovers, which is enough in these times. Well, the other day she flew off the handle saying she wanted five pesetas, and I simply can’t afford that. aunt. I don’t know where it’s all going to end. The Ayola girls enter and greet Rosita