Swordplay Uncloaked: Women Wielding Swords in Ana Caro’s Valor, agravio, y mujerand Lope de VegasLa pobreza estimada
Elizabeth Cruz Petersen, Florida Atlantic University
This essay examines swordplay scenes in Ana Caro’s Valor, agravio, y mujer (Courage, Outrage and Woman)andFelix Lope de Vega’s La pobreza estimada (Poverty Revered, c. 1597-1603) to demonstrate how both male and female actors had to build their physical skills even when they played characters considered inept in fencing. In order to ensure proper use of the sword and the safety of all actors involved in the scene, the players’ moves had to be carefully choreographed, whether their characters were skilled in swordplay or not. Relatedly, late 16th and early 17th century Spanish treatises on acting coached the actor on the importance of somatic awareness to develop internal and external performance techniques.