Miguel de Cervantes (1547-1616) is Spain's most famous author, primarily because of his celebrated novel Don Quixote. His first love, however, was the theater, for which he wrote extensively. His Interludes, published 400 years ago in 1615, are short, comic plays that explore the underbelly of Renaissance Spanish society. Their characters include hillbillies and con artists, pimps and prostitutes, adulterous wives and jealous husbands, and an array of other comical figures. Cervantes's treatment of them is simultaneously critical and sympathetic. Although interludes tend to be works of light comedy, Cervantes often imbues his with deeper themes.
Charles Patterson, a scholar of Hispanic theater, has created translations of the Interludes that are true to the earthiness of the originals but designed to be readily playable for today's actors and accessible to modern audiences. This book includes an introduction that places the plays in context, briefly describing the life of Cervantes, theater in early modern Spain, Cervantes's interludes, and Patterson's approach to translating them. Casual readers, theater and literature students, and professional actors alike will delight in these comedic gems that reveal a less familiar side of one of history's greatest writers.