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Abstract

This dissertation examines the theater of Spanish actor, director and author Rafael Álvarez El Brujo through the analysis of three of his major monologues. El Brujo constitutes a rather unique case in Spanish theater following the emergence of the teatro di narrazione italiano in the 1980’s. His work emphasizes the oral quality of Golden Age texts and provides an original insight on this period. Furthermore, the study of these plays within the context in which they were premiered reveals key aspects about the Spanish cultural scene during the past twenty five years, from the encouragement of Golden Age-related productions to the importance of commemorations and events such as the Festival de Almagro. , The first chapter focuses on his iconic play Lazarillo de Tormes (1990), which initiates his lasting and complicated relationship with institutional theater. By comparing the first and last representations, we can identify the strategies that El Brujo uses to create humor, primarily through his rich gestural work, and trace the evolution of his theater as he becomes a storyteller or performer in the style of Italian actor Dario Fo. The second chapter is dedicated to Los misterios del Quijote (2005), which El Brujo creates in collaboration with Emilio Pascual. This play coincides with the growth of the musical and the comic monologues crafted after the TV show El Club de la Comedia. In the process of distancing himself from these products, El Brujo masters the introduction of autobiographical episodes and dedicates this monologue to the spoken word, leaning toward other theater-related alternatives which have acquired popularity since the beginning of the democratic period. In the third and last chapter, we take Teresa o el sol por dentro (2015) as an example of the actor’s work with the mystics. El Brujo proposes a multidisciplinary approach to Saint Teresa of Ávila, which starts with a long prologue and continues with a detailed account of her childhood and adolescence. By alternating episodes of the Saint’s life with the recitation of some of her poems, the actor prioritizes her work as a writer and addresses the manipulations around this figure which spread from the 17th-century till the end of Franco’s dictatorship. , Since premiering Lazarillo de Tormes, El Brujo has actively contributed to the circulation and dissemination of the classics in post-Franco Spain along with the Compañía Nacional de Teatro Clásico, created in 1986, and other private theater companies. Nevertheless, the actor attracts all kinds of spectators as he creates very personal versions of canonical texts, establishing connections with contemporary issues and adding comments in a pedagogical tone. Moreover, his work on a relatively empty stage has become one of the main characteristics of his theater as well as a sign of his flexible attitude toward the classics. Through focusing on his videos and live performances, we cultivate an alternative approach to studying theater and the actor’s art.

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