Lately, my interest is turning to drama produced in Spain during this period, especially the tradition of teatro breve or short theatre-pieces. In Madrid, one can see the transition from the rowdy entremeses (between-act pieces) of Cosme Pérez, the entremesil actor who went by the name of Juan Rana, and the sainetes (also short pieces incorporating music and dance) of Ramon de la Cruz, which were supposed to capture modern life in urban Spain. Between these performative poles, there lies the dramatic tradition known as tardebarroco, 'after the Baroque,' which is punctuated by the work of de Zamora and Cañizares (not to be confused with the witch of the same name from Cervantes' Ejemplares).
What I love most about Spanish Theatre Studies, aside from the high quality and exactitude of the available scholarly criticism, is what I perceive as its 'newness,' at least where I'm concerned. I never learned about Lope de Vega, Maria de Zayas, or Calderón de la Barca in high school, or university, or grad school, because programs in English literature don't tend to dwell upon 'foreign' writers, unless they're French (in the case of Congreve) or German (in the case of Goethe). And although a tremendous amount has been written already upon Spain's siglo de oro, which was inarguably the height of dramatic production, eighteenth-century dramatists have received far less articles and monographs. Of those available, 97% are in Spanish or Catalan, which suggests a bit of open territory for scholars writing in English.
Improving my Spanish has become a personal mission, but my problem is that I get bored with the level of books that I should probably be reading. So I read academic articles in Spanish instead, which is grueling and didactically counter-productive, but so interesting that I can't resist. In the fall, I'll be taking Spanish 200, which will hopefully do wonders for my halting verbal skills. It will be a bit strange to interact with undergraduates as another student, rather than as an instructor, which I've become accustomed to, but it will also be good for my ego. Wait, forget I said that. I'm as humble as Juan Rama, the gracioso (buffoon), although I don't share his fondness for young pages. Lately, I orient only towards books and food.