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Lewis Center for the Arts presents Fuente Ovejuna: A Disloyal Adaptation


Steve Runk    
Director of Communications
Lewis Center for the Arts

(Princeton, NJ)  The Lewis Center for the Arts Program in Theater presents Fuente Ovejuna: A Disloyal Adaptation by Cusi Cram, inspired by Lope de Vega’s play, and directed by faculty member Suzanne Agins with original music composed by Princeton senior Clayton Raithel.  Performances will be held on Friday and Saturday, November 11 and 12 and Thursday through Saturday, November 17, 18 and 19.  All performances are at 8:00 p.m. in the Berlind Theatre, McCarter Theatre Center.  The play will be performed in English.

Lope de Vega (1562-1635) wrote during Spain’s Golden Age and is often called “Spain’s Shakespeare.”  Fuente Ovejuna, his best-known work, is based on real events which took place in the late 15th Century, when the townspeople of Fuente Ovejuna banded together in solidarity to overthrow a cruel overlord.  “The play’s title and its ensemble-like nature suggest that the communal spirit of the town is its true protagonist,” notes director Agins, adding, “Cusi’s adaptation expands the focus of Lope’s classic to include themes of politics, love, and the nature of art.”

This new adaptation by Cram, commissioned by the Lewis Center’s Program in Theater and developed in collaboration this past summer with the LAByrinth Theater, adds yet another layer of Spanish history.  It is based on the fact that, in the early 1930’s, Spanish poet/playwright Federico Garcia Lorca directed his own version of the play with his theater troupe La Barraca, based at the University of Madrid.  In the highly charged political climate of the time, the troupe toured Lorca’s adaptation of Fuente Ovejuna throughout Spain, bringing it to rural towns and small villages that had never seen theater before.  Tim Vasen, Acting Director of the Theater Program states, “Cusi Cram’s version pays homage to that troupe and to Lorca, though it -- like all good history plays, including Lope’s original -- is not based on strict historical fact.  The creative team has worked deeply with the many layers of Lope’s play.  I believe audiences are in store for an evening of great theater.”

Suzanne Agins, a ’97 graduate of Princeton, has previously collaborated with Cram on Dusty and the Big Bad World at The Juilliard School and on the world premiere of the playwright’s Lucy and the Conquest, at the Williamstown Theatre Festival, where Agins served as Associate Artistic Director from 2005 through 2007.  Agins’ other recent directing projects include the world premiere of Jailbait by Deirdre O’Connor (Cherry Lane Theatre); Noel Coward's Fallen Angels at Dorset Theater Festival; three Maddy Mann stage shows created with Ryan Migge (Ars Nova, soloNOVA festival at the DR2, Dixon Place) and Maddy Mann's webseries QUADS!; Wing It, a new musical inspired by Aristophanes’ The Birds, by Gordon Cox and Kris Kukul, which also premiered at the Williamstown Theatre Festival; and The Secret Narrative of the Phone Book by Gordon Cox (World Premiere, Kraine Theater).  She was the recipient of the 2006 Princess Grace Directing Fellowship and of the KPBS Patté Award for Outstanding Direction and two San Diego Playbill Awards for Outstanding Direction while at the University of California, San Diego, where she received her MFA degree.

Cusi Cram is an award-winning playwright.  Her plays include: All the Bad Things (LAByrinth Theater Company at the Public Theatre), Fuente (Barrington Stage and O’Neill Playwrights Conference), The End of it All (South Coast Repertory), Landlocked (Miranda Theater), and A Lifetime Burning (Primary Stages).  She has received commissions from the Atlantic Theater Company, The Actors Theater of Louisville, and New Georges, and her work has been produced and developed by New York Theatre Workshop, The Public Theater, PS122, and the Dag Hammarskjold Theater at the United Nations.  Cram received the 2004 Herrick Theater Foundation New Play Prize and three Emmy nominations for her extensive work in children’s television.  She is currently a staff writer on the Showtime series, The Big C, starring Laura Linney and Oliver Platt.

The cast of Fuente Ovejuna: A Disloyal Adaptation includes Princeton undergraduates Dan Corica, Gabriel Crouse, Eamon Foley, Sandy Fong, Jenesis Fonseca-Ledezma, Gary Fox, Ava Geyer, Peter Giovine, Nick Hybel, Olivia Nice, Daniel Rattner, Carlie Robbins, Zack Salk, Arielle Sandor, and Carolyn Vasko.  Clayton Raithel, class of ’12 and a prolific composer and writer during his Princeton career, has composed original music for this production.  Student musicians Han Tran and Simon Segert will provide accompaniment on guitar.

Tickets for Fuente Ovejuna: A Disloyal Adaptation are $10 for students and seniors, and $15 general admission and may be ordered by calling the McCarter box office at 609.258.2787 or through Princeton University Ticket Office by calling 609.258.9220, on-line, or at any of the campus ticket offices.   Tickets are also available at $5 for high school groups of six or more.

The Lewis Center’s Program in Theater annually presents a major, professionally produced play in the fall, as well as a number of student senior thesis productions throughout the year.  To learn more about this event, the Program in Theatre, and other activities presented at the Lewis Center visit

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The Lewis Center for the Arts is part of a major initiative announced by President Shirley M. Tilghman in 2006 to fully embrace the arts as an essential part of the educational experience for all who study and teach at Princeton University. The Lewis Center for the Arts will have a significant impact on the University and the larger community it serves. The public is welcomed to a full range of lectures, exhibitions, concerts and performances at the Center. Many of the Center’s events are free or charge a nominal admission fee.

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