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Spanish Theater Group Offers Tragicomedy Set In 1898 Spain

Feb. 23, 1999 -- The University of Virginia Spanish Theater Group, now in its 19th year, will present its annual spring play at the Helms Theater March 4-7. This year's performance will be

"Bodas que Fueron Famosas del Pingajo y la Fandanga," by Spanish playwright Jose Maria Rodriguez Mendez.

The drama revolves around a group of gypsies in Madrid in 1898, the year Spain was defeated in the Spanish-American War and lost its empire. Beginning as a comedy, the play ends as a tragedy. The performance will be in Spanish, with English summaries available.

One of the challenges in putting on these popular, amateur productions has been to find plays with enough characters to give most of the group members a role, said Spanish professor Fernando Opere, director and founder of the theater group. "One of the pleasures has been to work with people without theater experience and discover dramatic talent," he said.

With participating faculty members and students from throughout the Spanish-speaking world, the group performs plays from different Spanish-speaking countries. Last year's was from Mexico; the previous year's was from Argentina.

Spanish faculty at the University make an effort to incorporate the play into their curriculum for upper-level classes. Spanish classes in high schools and colleges throughout Virginia also take advantage of the opportunity and send buses full of students to the production.

U.Va.'s Drama Department is providing welcome technical support to the production, allowing the Spanish theater group -- about 20 faculty members, students, former students and staff members -- to focus on their lines. Opere and his son, Philip, an undergraduate at the University, will both be on stage for the performance this year.

In recent years, the play has gone on tour after its run in Charlottesville. When "Bodas" closes here this year, the theater group will take the production to the University of Richmond, Mary Washington College, Wake Forest University and Washington and Lee University.

Performances on March 4, 5, and 6 will be at 8 p.m. The matinee performance on March 7 is at 3 p.m. Tickets are on sale now at the Spanish Department office, 115 Wilson Hall, and, if not sold out before show time, will be on sale at the door (performances have sold out in advance in the past). Tickets are $6 for students; $8 for the general public.

For more information, call Fernando Opere at (804) 924-4653, or Tico Braun, long-time theater group member, at (804) 924-6406. Television reporters should contact the TV News Office at (804) 924-7550.

Contact: Charlotte Crystal, (804) 924-6858.

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: please contact the Office of University Relations at (804) 924-7116. Television reporters should contact the TV News Office at (804) 924-7550.
SOURCE: U.Va. News Services

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Top news site edited by Jane Ford (jford@virginia.edu); maintained by Karen Asher (kac@virginia.edu); releases posted by Suzanne Raileanu (sr3r@virginia.edu).
Last Modified: Wednesday, 02-Jun-1999 11:58:04 EDT
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