Program Information for Fuenteovejuna

February 25, 26 + 27, 2022, at Berlind Theatre, McCarter Theatre Center

Presented by the Program in Theater and cosponsored by Princeton’s Medieval Studies Program.

Fuenteovejuna by Lope de Vega | English Translation by G.J. Racz

Run Time

90 minutes with no intermission.


The events take place in Spain during the year 1476. This time was one of intense tumult for the Iberian Peninsula: The Reconquista was in its last and most intense years, and at the same time a war of succession for the throne of Castile was underway, triggered by the death of Henry IV. Fuenteovejuna found itself at the crux of both conflicts, being near the Muslim remnant in Spain and being part of the territories controlled by the Order of Calatrava, which rebelled against the Catholic Monarchs. The villagers of Fuenteovejuna sought to portray their struggle as part of the larger narrative of the events that surrounded them. Their loyalty to Ferdinand and Isabella might seem unusual, but the figure of the monarch was of great importance in the social and religious imagination of the Middle Ages. They show their loyalty toward the Catholic Monarchs to communicate a deep desire for the restoration of justice in their town and in Spain.

Content Warnings

This play involves violence, attempted rape, and discussion of sexual assault. Strobe lights and haze are used in the production.

Special Note

Please note the actors will be unmasked while performing on stage. Please silence all electronic devices including cellular phones and watches, and refrain from text messaging for the duration of the performance.


A talkback focusing on theatrical translation and Golden Age Spanish drama will immediately follow the February 25 performance with special guest G.J. Racz, Associate Professor of professor of English, Philosophy and Languages at Long Island University-Brooklyn and author of the English supertitles provided for the production, moderated by Princeton senior Juan José López Haddad.


Barrildo, Jacinta, Queen Isabela: Kaelani Burja ’23*
Pascuala: Emily A. Cruz ’22
Laurencia: Erica de Lacerda ’22
Frondoso: Dominic Dominguez ’25
Esteban: Juan José López Haddad ’22*
Mengo, Juez, Niño: Mahalia Norton ’24
Juan Rojo, Townswoman, Maestre, Soldier, Alderman: Raquel Ramirez ’24*
Flores, King Ferdinand: John Venegas Juarez ’25*
Fernán Gómez [Comendador]: Aaron Ventresca ’24*


Bass: Ed Horan ’22*
Drums: Tommy Kim ’23
Guitar: Rohit Oomman ’24
Bassist/Music Director (for 2/26): Diego Zamalloa-Chion ’22

Production Team

Director: Estefanía Fadul
Music Director: Ed Horan ’22*
Original Music and Songs: Julián Mesri
Lyric Translations: Julián Mesri
Set Designer: Raul Abrego Jr.
Costume Designer: Juan José López Haddad ’22*
Lighting Designer: Kerstin Fagerstrom ’24
Sound Designer: Nathan Leigh
Dramaturg: Juan José López Haddad ’22*
Fight & Intimacy Director: Cristina (Cha) Ramos
Stage Manager: Milan Eldridge
Run Crew Intern, CCS Program at The College of New Jersey: Liliana Bohon**
Sound Engineer: Neil Jernigan
Assistant Stage Manager: Alex Griner
Wardrobe Consultant: Kasey Gillete
Stitchers: Denise Carr, Wyatt Kim
Student Stitchers: Tanaka Ngwara ’24*, Maddie Lausted ’24, Jasmyn Dobson ’24, Titi Sodimu ’23
Light Board Operator: James Lewis, Maya Kranz
Rail: Phoenix Edmond
Follow Spot Operator: Lana Holgado
A2/deck: Michelle Poulaille
Supertitles: Annika Perez-Krikorian
Spanish Language Coach: Dylan Blau Edelstein

*denotes a certificate student in the Program in Theater

**Princeton University Program in Theater is excited to have had a partnership with The College of New Jersey’s CCS senior internship program for this production. The Career & Community Studies Program (CCS) at The College of New Jersey is a four year inclusive, college-based certificate program for young adults with intellectual disabilities. CCS is one of the oldest inclusive post secondary/transition programs in the country and received CTP (Comprehensive Transition Program) status by the U.S. Department of Education. The program is designed to prepare students for adult life through academic rigor, career discovery/readiness, and peer socialization as part of a diverse community of learners at The College of New Jersey.

Faculty Advisors

Sarita Fellows, Costume Advisor


A Note from the Student Thesis Proposer

I was introduced to Fuenteovejuna in one of my high school Spanish literature classes. Our discussion of the play was brief, and though we acknowledged its importance within the literary canon, at the time all I could think was how funny the name was: Fuenteovejuna, literally “sheep-fountain” or “sheep-like fountain.” In retrospect, having lived in Venezuela at the height of political instability and oppression, it is astonishing that the themes of struggle and liberation did not become apparent to me. I suppose we all got used to it, having never known anything different. We quickly moved on to more famous—and more recent—authors, leaving this quirky seventeenth-century play behind.

Faculty member John Doyle asked me to propose a play that “represented who I was,” and suddenly, without much thought, Fuenteovejuna came back from its years-long exile in my memories as a schoolboy. The epiphany was immediate, and like St. Augustine, nec ultra volui legere, “I did not wish to read any further.” The struggle the villagers of Fuenteovejuna faced and conquered, especially through the leadership of the town women, seemed so current in a world where injustice only appeared to grow. It had taken me a journey of over two thousand miles away from the injustices I experienced to realize that injustice did not have to be the norm. I did not want anyone in my audience to think that.

Fuenteovejuna does not tell the story of great men of myth and history, but of the collective action of a united people. What is most striking about the play is that the events depicted did happen. Fuenteovejuna was—and still is—a picturesque small town in Córdoba, whose inhabitants carried out in 1476 one of the few successful peasant revolts in the history of the Middle Ages. The fact that the story is genuine, and that it occurred during the Middle Ages, is deeply important to the message of the play, and ultimately to who I am. As you may have noted from my quoting of Augustine unprompted, I am a medievalist. The popular view of the Middle Ages is of a time when darkness consumed society, the general public was servile, and their individual agency was removed. I wish to show this was not the case. Not only was the period one of beautiful art and literature, it was a profound moment of social change. The actions of the people of Fuenteovejuna showcase the immortality of the human free spirit, which transcends time, societies, and hierarchies of power.

The only way to tell such an important story is in its original voice. I am thankful to the Lewis Center for the Arts and the Program in Theater for empowering that voice to speak. I also give thanks for the opportunity that this Spanish language production created: a space where Hispanic and Latinx theatermakers could feel at home and in ownership of their art, without appealing to the often alienating Anglo-centric paradigms of most theater that surrounds us.

I am grateful for my fellow cast members, who boldly gave a body and soul to this work; and to Estefanía, our director, who breathed life into this body and taught it to speak, move and dance. I give thanks to Milan and our production team, who supported us and taught us many special and valuable skills. My deepest gratitude lies with Jane and the LCA faculty, who from day one of freshman year believed in me and encouraged me. I am also thankful for William Chester Jordan, Jack Tannous, Helmut Reimitz, and Beatrice Kitzinger, who showed me the beauty of the Middle Ages and helped me discern my vocation. I give thanks to Zenaida, my high school literature teacher, for planting the seed that would grow into this project. Finally, I am grateful for the people of Fuenteovejuna, who despite their earthly departure still live on through their story, and through our shared faith.

— Juan José López Haddad


Land Acknowledgement

An estimated 10 million Native Americans lived in North America before the arrival of European colonizers. Many thousands lived in Lenapehoking, the vast homeland of the Lenni-Lenape, who were the first inhabitants of what is now called eastern Pennsylvania and parts of New York, New Jersey, Maryland, and Delaware.

Princeton stands on part of the ancient homeland and traditional territory of the Lenape people. In 1756, the College of New Jersey erected Nassau Hall with no recorded consultation with the Lenni-Lenape peoples.

Treaties and forced relocation dispersed Lenape-Delaware to Ohio, Kansas, and Oklahoma. We acknowledge the violence of settler colonialism and pay respect to Lenape peoples past, present, and future and their continuing presence in the homeland and throughout the Lenape diaspora.

Current Princeton student activists and alumni are advocating for Indigenous students and studies at the University. For more information, see the websites of Natives at Princeton and Princeton Indigenous Advocacy Coalition.


Lewis Center for the Arts

Interim Chair: Michael Cadden
Executive Director: Marion Friedman Young

Director of Program in Theater: Jane Cox
Producing Artistic Director, Theater And Music Theater Season: Elena Araoz

View a full list of the Program in Theater Faculty & Guest Artists

For a look at all the people working behind the scenes to bring you this event, View a full list of LCA staff members  »

The programs of the Peter B. Lewis Center for the Arts are made possible through the generous support of many alumni and other donors. View a full list of LCA Supporters »

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