chapter
8 Pages

Introduction

As early modern Spanish women actors interpreted their role in society in relation to their own experience, they effectively moved from object to subject to establish their subjectivity.1 Some actors made a reasonably comfortable living in the theater, such as Josefa Laura and Andrea de Salazar who earned enough to support their families (McKendrick “Representing” 75). Others maneuvered themselves into roles of authority and inuence. Some either took over their husband’s company at his death or worked their way up the hierarchies of the theater community to become successful autoras,2 company managers/directors, such as Inés Gallo.3 Some took on roles of alguaciles, law ofcers or of arrendadoras, lessees/managers of playhouses, such as the arrendadora of la Montería in Seville, Laura de Herrera. Still others went on to own and run businesses outside of the theater acquired with earnings gained throughout their acting careers, such as Francisca Fernández who started a grocery business, and Josefa Guzmán who went on to own and run a tobacco shop (82). By developing somatic practices in a profession that was both psychologically and physically demanding, early modern Spanish women actors attained status as masters of their craft, enabling them to more easily cross social and economic boundaries, both inside and outside the theater community.