Plays by, about, 17th-century feminist activist Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz on Oct. 21, 24

Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz
Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz

Two plays, by and about the 17th-century feminist activist Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, will be staged on Oct. 21 and 24 at 4:30 p.m. in Tansill Theater. The performances are free and open to the public.

On Oct. 21, at 4:30 p.m., students in Connecticut College’s American Drama class will be performing “The Loa” by Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz (1689), the first play in the Americas to ask questions about race, religion and power in the American colonies.

“The short play by Sor Juana, a feminist and subtle activist, riffs on the use of force and religion on the colonized Aztecs of Mexico, people who chose to sacrifice to the God of Seeds instead of an imported Son of God,” describes Kenneth Prestininzi, associate professor of theater.

Julia A. Kushigian, Hanna Hafkesbrink Professor of Hispanic Studies, will lead a discussion before the performance.

On Oct. 24, at 4:30 p.m., four professional New York City actors will present “Impure Thoughts (without apology),” a new play by Prestininzi, also in Tansill Theater. Actors include April Mathis, Christina Pumariega, Chandra Thomas and Liam Torres.

Winner of a MetLife new play award, Prestininzi’s work is based on the life of Sor Juana, known as one of the greatest prescient and poetic voices of the colonial Americas. To win a high stakes argument, Sor Juana must confront the men empowered by the Church while examining her relationship to God and the institution of slavery. “Her poetry, plays and feminist arguments ring as true today as they did in 17th-century New Spain,” comments Prestininzi.

The play was originally directed by Jose Zayas of Repertorio Español in New York City as part of the MetLife Nuestras Voces new play festival.

A discussion and response will follow the performance.

October 19, 2016