The Andalusian faces of Spanishness: Myth, icons and identity in Andalusian theatre of the Second Republic
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In Spain during the 1930s, the democratically elected Second Republic government imposed progressive reforms designed to modernize the nation. However, conservative factions opposed these changes in favor of a return to the traditions and Catholic devotion that they viewed as the foundation of the country. As political conflict weakened Spain, regional identification within the country increased. In this dissertation, I identify playwrights who aimed to shape the collective identity of their southern region known as Andalusia. In order to do this, they chose an icon associated with the region and undermined its typical characteristics and the values that it represented. In this way, the authors communicated a political message through a form of entertainment. Their use of theater reached wide audiences and relied on a collective experience to urge spectators to consider the stance of the work. I analyze Manuel and Antonio Machado’s revision of Carmen in La duquesa de Benamejí, Pedro Muñoz Seca’s conservative portrayal of Don Juan in La plasmatoria and Federico García Lorca’s liberal depiction of the absence of the Virgin Mary in Yerma. Each of these plays illustrates the weakening of an icon and its cultural value through adaptation. Finally, I explore the contemporary iconization of Lorca himself in Miguel Hermoso’s film La luz prodigiosa. This contrast shows the modern-day utility of an icon to remember the horrors of the Spanish Civil War that ended the Second Republic.