chapter  4
39 Pages

Building a Character for the Seventeenth-Century

BySpanish Stage

Seventeenth-century Spanish philosopher González de Salas deemed that the success of a comedia depends heavily on the quality of the acting, the “valentía” (213). The talents of a good actor qualify as a pure, clear voice, a steadfast memory, and dynamic action. As many plays include metatheatrical comments, they can guide us as to the actor’s preparation at the time. For instance, in Lope’s El guante de doña Blanca (1627-1635), “que ha de tener el buen representante … acción, memoria, lengua y osadía” [what a good actor should have are/action, memory, diction, and boldness] (228), echoing González de Salas’s treatise. From the viewpoint of somaesthetics, therefore, those metatheatrical comments help prove how in the process of preparing for a role, a skilled actor renes her embodied somatic experiences in theater using representational, experiential, and performative somaesthetic techniques.