| 6.- The Eclogue by Francisco de Madrid, secretary of John II and of the Catholic Monarchs, was written ca. 1495 and performs a dialog between Evandro -Peace-, Danger -Charles VIII of France- and Fortunate -Fernando the Catholic. On a pastoral frame -as in the Coplas of Mingo Revulgo- this work introduces Fortunate, fighting for peace and Church, against Danger. Evandro warns the shepherds against the forthcoming disaster.|
Beginning of a castilian manuscript
of The Troyans by Seneca
| 7.- We are not sure about the texts that could have been actually performed. Many poems by Fray Íñigo de Mendoza could have been dramatical works as well as the Dialog between Love and an Old Man by Rodrigo de Cota; the Verses by Puertocarrero or the Query by Comendador Escrivá and even, the confusing notice about a love play that originated the Sad Delectation -all these works belonging to the second half of 15th century-. Even the Dance of Death, written at the end of the 14th. century, could have been performed.|
We cannot forget translations of latin classics like Plauto, Terencio or Seneca, who took part in the development of Theater.
Limits between performing and reading are not yet clear in a work as La Celestina.
8.- At the end of this century, Juan de Fermoselle, best known as Juan del Encina (Salamanca, 1469-1529) -a Nebrija's disciple-, published his representations. Encina could be the father of castilian theater: he served the Dukes of Alba who appeared eulogized in his plays.
| Juan prints in 1496 his Cancionero -collection of verses-. at the end of wich we can read eight plays.|
The structure of these plays will be more and more complex: from a first praise of the Alba Dukes by two characters to a Christmas play by four ones: the evangelists. In the third one, a father and his son introduce the Verónica and learn Christ's death. The fourth play is performed by Jesus manifest in four different ways.
The fifth and sixth plays deal with the theme of antruejo or carnival. The former regrets that the Duke of Alba had joined up for war; the latter includes a battle of Carnival against Lent. The seventh and eighth play form a unity: shepherdess Pascuala chooses the courtier Gil instead of shepherd Mingo, married to Menga. The jam, as those in medieval debate poems, is solved to the courtier benefit, who persuades the other characters to go to the Court.
Performings end with a villancico -little popular song- by the brilliant musician that was Juan del Encina.
Facsimile edition (1928)
of the Cancionero (1496)
by Juan del Encina
| Love's Triumph or Performing in the presence of Prince don Juan (1497) shows in wich way an uncultivated shepherd can be wounded by the arrows of love. |
The Long Rains Eclogue (1498) deals with torrential showers in that year and the author's failure in the public competion to the place of Salamanca's Cathedral Singer that was got by Lucas Fernández. The play ends with a Christmas Eclogue.
The Play of the hair crop, written about these years, is an example of the aggressive tricks to peasants by students: while Shortlegged and Johan tell in sayaguese dialect -a colloquial, rather artificial, variant of leones dialect- their deseases to each other, a student tries to make them again and is banished.
| Later eclogues by this author are influenced by his travel to Rome ca. 1499, where he learnt new techniques: |
Eclogue of Cristino and Febea deals with Cristino's punishment because of his decision of being a hermit, but he forgets religion after Febea makes him fall in love with her.
Eclogue of Fileno, Zambardo and Cardonio (prior to 1509) performs Fileno's suicide because of love, as he cannot get consolation from the part of lazy Zambardo. Cardonio is also unaware of him because he loves a shepherdess.
Encina's last work can be the most ambitious: Placida and Vitoriano's Eclogue (ca.1513) performs in 2.500 verses the loss of love in this couple and the lady's suicide. Placida, because of his repentant lover holysecular prayers, gets from Venus the prize of turning to life. This play is added with customs and manners scenes that point out to La Celestina.
Placida and Vitoriano
9.- A companion, rival and admirer of Encina was Lucas Fernández (Salamanca 1474-1542), whose work - though written ca. 1500- is difficult to be dated. His Farces and Ecglogues were printed in Salamanca, 1514.
Farces and Ecglogues
| This book includes three love comedies. Fernández introduces this word in our theater's history, perhaps because the first of them follows the story-line of the latin elegiac comedy. In the other two comedies he cites plays by Juan del Encina that don't let us stablish a clear chronology for them. He poses a debate betweewn shepherd and knight love. A reference to Celestina can be found in one of his two Eclogues or Farces on Birth. His literary production is complete with a short Dialogue to Sing and with the famous Play of the Passion, maybe the best in its gener. |
Lucas Fernández shares literary ideas similar to those of Juan del Encina. Anyway, Fernández' plays are composed with a larger number of verses and characters. He uses the word comedy and cultivates sayaguese dialect for his shepherds.
Page from the Codex
of Old Plays
10.- We fear we have lost many of the plays that could have been performed during the 15th century. A book written in the second half of 16th century -that we call Codex of Old Plays- contains many religious and even secular plays that were performed in different places along the Peninsula. Some of them could be remakes of medieval text that actually are apparently lost.
D.Miguel Pérez Rosado.
Ph. D. in Hispanic Philology.