Performing Spanishness

History, Cultural Identity & Censorship in the Theatre of José María Rodríguez Méndez

Michael Thompson

Performing Spanishness

Michael Thompson

Distributed for Intellect Ltd

224 pages | 8 halftones | 6 3/4 x 9
Paper $35.50 ISBN: 9781841501345 Published February 2007 Not for sale in the United Kingdom or Europe

José María Rodríguez Méndez is a noted playwright, an acerbic cultural critic, and a political dissident under Franco. In Performing Spanishness, the first English-language examination of Méndez’s life and work, Michael Thompson sets the playwright’s lifelong struggle against censorship in the context of Spain’s shifting national identity. Méndez’s work presents “Spanishness” not as a static trait, but as an ongoing performance; Performing Spanishness is an indispensable resource to those interested in theater, Spain, and the relationship between art and activism.

List of illustrations


1. Dramatizing Spanishness 

2. Rodríguez Méndez’s essays: realism, machismo español, inteligencia española and historical theatre
Inteligencia española
Machismo español
Historical theatre
Summing up: the continuous ‘play’ of history, culture and power 

3. History from below (1): enclosed spaces
Vagones de madera
En las esquinas, banderas
La Mano Negra
El vano ayer 

4. History from below (2): open spaces
El círculo de tiza de Cartagena
Bodas que fueron famosas del Pingajo y la Fandanga
Historia de unos cuantos
La Chispa

5. Leading roles in history
Flor de Otoño
El pájaro solitario
Literatura española
Teresa de ávila
Isabelita tiene ángel
Soy madrileño

6. Fading echoes of the past in contemporary Spain
Última batalla en El Pardo
Contemporary Spain: the decline of machismo español
Disillusionment and disorientation after Franco 


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