Lope de Vega's Countess Diana and her servant MarcelaDOG IN THE MANGER

Tristan gossips with Teodoro and Marcela.  Diana listens.(El Perro Del Hortelano)

a comedy in three acts

translated from Spanish by

Kico Gonzalez-Risso


The Countess Diana has caught her secretary Teodoro sneaking into the ladies' chambers to court her maidservant Marcela. After admonishing them, Diana realizes she has a crush on Teodoro, but there are two problems: first, Teodoro is betrothed to Marcela; second, Teodoro is of a lower class and could not possibly be considered marriage material for a Countess. Jealousy, however, takes hold of Diana and she begins to diabolically work her way into Teodoro's heart - even if love is impossible between them. One thing for sure: if she can't have him, no one will.

In three scintillating acts, DOG IN THE MANGER presents sophisticated comedy, farce, mystery and bittersweet drama. Along with the three aforementioned characters, the play introduces Tristan, one of the most brilliant comic servants ever created, along with the hilarious duo of Count Federico and Marquis Ricardo. The surprise ending was considered radical in its day and still causes controversy among Spanish scholars and critics.

Lope Félix de Vega Carpio was born in 1562, about two years before Marlowe and Shakespeare. The first Spanish dramatist to make a living as a playwright -and now considered the greatest of all Spanish playwrights -Lope is said to have written over 1,500 plays, over 500 of which have survived. Written in 1613, DOG IN THE MANGER (El Perro del Hortelano) is one of the great comedies of the classical repertoire.

Playwright and director Kico Gonzalez-Risso has crafted a superb new prose translation of Lope's most popular comedy. He first directed the play in 1989, then took a new production to the El Chamizal Golden Age Festival in El Paso, Texas in 1994 where the production - the only English language play that year - received a standing ovation. When asked to direct the play yet again in Vancouver, B.C., Gonzalez-Risso took the opportunity to finalize his translation which received raves from both the English and Spanish community.

This English version is now available through The Playwrights Union of Canada

4F/14 M (Can be cast with 4F/7M)


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