chapter  3
32 Pages

Sociopolitics of the Spanish Woman Actor: Building Character

During the seventeenth century, it was the woman who presented both an object of “desire” and a “threat” to those who controlled and frequented the corrales. Women’s constant presence in the theater threatened the status quo of the hegemonic state that controlled the theater and its constituents. Departing from Julia Kristeva’s notion of the abject, and Homi Bhabha’s theorization of stereotyping, one can claim women used the ambiguity of being an “object” to their advantage: instead of simply submitting to the role of an object easily controlled, women of the stage performed a major role contributing to the new form of Spanish plays and the theater space, despite threats from those who opposed it. Working their way up the hierarchies of the theater community, many actors, such as Mariana Vaca, Ángela Dido, Bárbara Coronel and Jusepa Vaca, gained status as masters of their craft, thereby playing a critical part in the world of the theater.