The Arts

Stratford Festival 2008 – Lope de Vega's Fuente Ovejuna

Stratford Festival 2008 – Lope de Vega's Fuente Ovejuna featured image

by Paula Citron.
Fuente Ovejuna
Stratford Festival
Written by Lope de Vega
Directed and adapted by Laurence Boswell
Starring Scott Wentworth, Sara Topham, Jonathan Goad, Severn Thompson, James Blendick and Robert Perischini
At the Tom Patterson Theatre until Oct. 4

The Stratford production of Lope de Vega’s Fuente Ovejuna is masterful. The mark of a classic is that the play can still resonate after hundreds of years. The mark of a great director is that he or she can bring a play written in 1619 during Spain’s Golden Age to brilliant life.

British director Laurence Boswell has clearly understood the play’s inner workings and the Tom Patterson’s thrust stage. Peter Hartwell has given him a simple and elegant design, while both Edward Henderson’s music and Michael J. Whitfield’s lighting are superb.

The story is based on a true incident. In 1476, the townspeople of Fuente Ovejuna rebelled against their tyrannical feudal lord and killed him. While the incident itself is chilling, Lope has included genuine humour and wonderful philosophical turns.

The irritating Scott Wentworth as the villain thinks he’s in a B movie, but everyone else is absolutely marvellous.

Do not miss this production.

Fuente Ovejuna continues at Stratford’s Tom Patterson Theatre until Oct. 4.

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