Forms of Short Modernist-Symbolist Theatre in Spain


  • Javier Cuesta Guadaño Complutense of Madrid University



The crisis of fin de siècle was for all of Europe an authentic theatrical revolution which – inspired by Belgian playwright Maurice Maeterlinck’s earliest pieces – set out to transmogrify the traditional forms of Naturalism and projected itself across all the arts as a réaction idéaliste to Positivism. Spanish Modernism also responded to this renovated perspective on drama by means of a kind of localized Symbolism which promoted the phenomenon of ‘poetization’ of the theatrical event along with a new conception of the stage. This new kind of drama responded to an interconnected relationship between poetry and theatre, gesturing towards idealism in the treatment of certain themes or atmospheres, and finding in the one-act structure, which replaced the category of action with dramatic situation, the most suitable conditions to develop. Amongst the examples of brief Modernist-Symbolist theatre in Spain, we encounter Jacinto Benavente’s Teatro fantástico (1892-1905), Gregorio Martínez Sierra’s Teatro de ensueño (1905), Santiago Rusiñol’s and Adrià Gual’s Symbolist works, the several texts published in journals by Valle-Inclán or Pérez de Ayala, as well as other less known plays authored by the Millares Cubas brothers, Zozaya, Francés, Goy de Silva and López Aydillo.






Monographic Section