September 2008, Volume 12, Number 7

Cultural Spotlight

Exhibition at Freedom Tower Explores 100 Years of Spanish Theater

In Calderón de la Barca’s seminal work, Life Is a Dream, Crown Prince Segismund experiences both the extreme deprivation of imprisonment and the grand splendor of royalty.

We experience some of the latter in A Hundred Years of Dressing Calderón, an exhibition celebrating the opulent costumes that thespians have donned through the years while bringing the Spanish playwright’s works to life.

Shown at the historic Freedom Tower at Miami Dade College, the exhibition highlights the evolution of de la Barca’s plays over the course of a century. The exhibition takes the audience on a trip through time, from the very first avant-garde movements that arrived from central Europe through the Baroque bridges to present day.

“The MDC Art Gallery System aspires to cultivate culturally literate, inquisitive and independent thinkers who synthesize the greater world through the Arts,” said Jorge Luis Gutiérrez, director of the Art Gallery System.

The College presented the exhibition in collaboration with the State Society for Foreign Cultural Action, the Museo Nacional del Teatro, the Spanish Ministry of Foreign and Cooperative Affairs and the Spanish Ministry of Culture.

De la Barca is widely known as the major exponent of a genre called sacramental acts, theatrical religious pieces of Spanish drama generally written between the 16th and 18th centuries. They were performed outdoors as part of Corpus Christi feast day celebrations.

“Calderón de la Barca stands head and shoulders above other authors from the Golden Age and has served as a catalyst for scenic renovation during the last several years,” said Andrés Peláez, director of the Museo Nacional del Teatro. “He is revered as a master of experimentation throughout Europe and Latin America.”

— Barbara Bickel

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