A battle-to-the-death between the instinctive honor-rooted justice of the Spanish peasant and the narrow, castebound justice of the military.
The Mayor of Zalamea Script
Calderen's play, in Mitchell's robust, down-to-earth rhyming translation, is an undoubted world masterpiece: a battle-to-the-death between the instinctive honor-rooted justice of the Spanish peasant and the narrow, castebound justice of the military. We are in a small Spanish town where Philip II's troops are billeted en route for Portugal. An arrogant captain falls obsessively in love with the daughter of Crespo, a rich peasant farmer. Having failed to win the girl openly, the captain whisks her off to a forest and rapes her. When Crespo becomes mayor, the stage is then set for a conflict between his desire for instant justice and the tribal code of the Spanish army, a deadlock that is resolved only by the arrival of the king himself. (Michael Billington, The Guardian) In The Mayor of Zalamea, which premiered at the National Theatre in London, Calderon challenges our preconceived ideas of honor, of individual responsibility and of personal dignity and asks us to examine the relationship between civil law and military authority. Area staging.