Written by Fermín de Reygadas
Translated by Olga Sanchez Saltveit
Translation supervised by Dr. Pedro García-Caro
Directed by Olga Sanchez Saltveit
ASTUCIAS POR HEREDAR UN SOBRINO A UN TIO (Tricks for a Nephew to Inherit from his Uncle) is a delightful Spanish Enlightenment comedy, written in Mexico City in 1789 by Fermín de Reygadas. The satirical comedy about a miserly uncle, his love-struck nephew, and their wily servants, was banned in 1790 by the Church censor for its social critique and strong language.
Friday & Saturday @ 7:30 pm:
May 25 & 26 / June 1 & 2 / June 8 & 9
MATINEE: Sunday, June 3 @2:00 pm
The play centers on a rich, miserly old uncle, Don Lucas. With no direct heirs, he is surrounded by relatives wanting to be named in his will. None is more desperate than his nephew, Don Pedro, who needs the inheritance in order to court and marry Doña Isabel, whom he adores. Don Pedro’s wily manservant, Crispín vows to help his master, with the assistance of Don Lucas’ clever housemaid, Lucía. Of course, there are twists and turns in the plot that put the plans at risk and threaten the lives of the schemers!
The comedy’s characters owe their formation to commedia dell’arte, the Italian improvisational form whose highly physical performances by characters such as Arlecchino (Harlequin), Colombina, Pantalone, and il Dottore, have influenced Western theatre since the Renaissance. However, this play departs from commedia with the presence of its strong-willed women who are intellectual equals to the men at all levels of society.
Spirited north to Alta California, the play was performed once at the Villa de Branciforte by “los voluntarios de Cataluña,” sometime before 1821, and eventually archived by Herbert Bancroft at the University of California, Berkeley. In A History of Hispanic Theatre in the United States: Origins to 1940, historian Nicolás Kanellos cites the play as the “first drama staged in California.”
The script was recently unearthed and transcribed by Dr. Pedro García-Caro (Romance Languages & Latin American Studies), and translated by Olga Sanchez Saltveit (PhDc, Theatre Arts).
TRICKS TO INHERIT is its first English-language translation.