Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Free Spanish-language performances to come to Amherst

The performances are part of a larger conference on marginality

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(Collegian File Photo)

(Collegian File Photo)

(Collegian File Photo)

By Michael Connors, Assistant News Editor

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Two professional theater companies from Spain will provide free Spanish-language performances during “Theaters of Marginality,” a two-day conference of scholars at Amherst College and the University of Massachusetts Amherst on Sept. 21 and 22.

The first of the two performances, a play entitled “Desde lo invisible (From the Invisible),” dives into a conversation about how people with intellectual disabilities are treated in society and will play at UMass’ Rand Theater on Sept. 21 at 7:30 p.m.

The second show, “De algún tiempo a esta parte (From Sometime to Now),” is a monologue that explores the experience of a Jewish woman in Vienna before the second world war and will be performed at Amherst College’s Holden Theater on Sept. 22 at 5 p.m.

According to a press release, the conference will also “include panels on Spanish, Catalan and Galician theater and performances dealing with topics of exile, gender, sexuality, religion, translation, adaptation and performance traditions.”

University of Massachusetts Amherst assistant professor of Spanish and Portuguese studies David Rodríguez-Solás co-organized the conference and explained that theater can help to bring a better understanding of the underlying topics of marginalization in society.

“The topic of the conference is a topic that is very current for many different reasons, first because we will be addressing issues that are current and issues that are in all of the debates like gender, sexuality and religion,” Rodríguez-Solás said.

Organized by the Iberian Theater and Performance Network, this gathering marks the second in a biennial series of conferences that invites scholars of Spanish culture and theater. According to the ITPN website, the organization is “devoted to the study of Iberian theater and performance from a trans-historical perspective…”

Rodríguez-Solás explained that he expects there to be around 20 scholars of Spanish theater and performance that will come to the conference. One of these scholars, María Delgado, a professor from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in London, England, will be the keynote speaker at 4:30 p.m. on Sept. 21 in room S240 of the Integrative Learning Center.

The performances will not have any English subtitles, but Rodríguez-Solás said that the message of these plays will still be accessible to those who may not speak Spanish.

“When we are talking about theater, it is not only about the text, but it is how different directors make this text come alive,” Rodríguez-Solás said. “They have to respond to different preconceptions in the audience’s minds.”

And even if there is a language barrier, Rodríguez-Solás is certain that the major themes of the conference will transcend and build upon the discussions students have either already had in class or have had with their peers regarding the topic of marginalization.

“I think we will be giving the opportunity for the audiences to reflect on different topics that are on the agenda in humanities classes,” Rodríguez-Solás explained. “The topics of identity are timely, the very important role of students as citizens and how they have to come up with a reflection to topics of exile and immigration or sexuality or gender are conversations on American campuses right now.”

“If we are creating this academic platform so that students can not only attend panels but see performances, I think that is very important.”

Michael Connors can be reached at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @mikepconnors.

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