GALA Hispanic Theatre continues its 43rd season with the world premiere of "El viejo, el joven y el mar" by Irma Correa, which was commissioned by GALA. Directed by 2016 Helen Hayes Award winner José Luis Arellano from Spain, 'El viejo, el joven y el mar' is performed in Spanish with English subtitles from February 7 through March 3, 2019 at GALA Theatre, 3333 14th Street, NW, Washington, D.C.

          Forced into exile for political reasons, Spain’s renowned philosopher Miguel de Unamuno, confronts a young fisherman, a general, and a journalist about their beliefs regarding freedom, reason, and faith while he plans his escape from the island of Fuerteventura. Based on historic events, this new play by one of Spain’s rising young playwrights explores conflicting loyalties to one’s country and one’s morality in the battle for a just society. Given the rise of nationalism in the world today, questions of truth, freedom of speech, and political liberty have greater resonance.

          “Today the world is collapsing,” states playwright Correa. “Flashpoints of brutality explode in any corner, in any country, every minute, every day. We stand by unflinching as acts are carried out to curtail freedom and tolerance, incited by people who hold power and occupy posts filled with ranting and violence. Reason, tolerance, and empathy are ideas relegated to memory’s most obscure box.”

          “I feel,” Correa adds, “it is time to revive the thoughts that save us from barbarity. It is time to revive Unamuno. For his feminist stance and his humanist essence, an essence that defends thought as a powerful weapon and the human soul as the guarantor of our place in the infinite. In The Old Man, the Youth and the SeaUnamuno represents the power of reason and empathy, and the young fisherman Cisco, the dream of tomorrow, the drive of being alive, the truth of the now.


Miguel de Unamuno (1864-1936) was an author, poet, scholar, journalist, philosopher, end  educator whose essays were influential in early 20th century Spain. Born in Bilbao, Spain, he was a member of the “Generation of 1898”, a literary group dedicated to the renewal of Spain. His first published work was the essay published in En torno al casticismo (Around Reason, 1895), and his most famous novel is Abel Sánchez, a modern re-creation of the biblical story of Cain and Abel. His other novels include Niebla (Mist, 1914); and San Manuel Bueno, mártir (Saint Manuel the Good, Martyr, 1933). Unamuno’s El Cristo de Velázquez (The Christ of Velázquez, 1920), a study in poetic form of the great Spanish painter, is considered a superb example of modern Spanish verse.

              An early existentialist, Unamuno concerned himself with the tension between intellect and emotion, faith and reason. At the heart of his view of life was the need to preserve one’s personal integrity in the face of social conformity, fanaticism, and hypocrisy. Jean Claude Rabaté, hispanist and respected biographer of the writer, asserts that “Unamuno was not a revolutionary, but he consistently spoke out against those in power.”

          Unamuno served as rector of the University of Salamanca twice. He was first dismissed in 1914 for political reasons, and in 1924 he was exiled to Fuerteventura in the Canary Islands for his opposition to the dictator General Miguel Primo de Rivera. He left Fuerteventura for France in voluntary exile, where he stayed for six years writing scathing commentary about the Spanish King and Primo de Rivera. After the fall of the dictatorship, he returned to the University of Salamanca and was elected rector again in 1931. This time he served until October 1936 when he denounced General Franco’s Falangists and was removed from the position. Franco placed Unamuno under house arrest, where he died of a heart attack on December 31, 1936.


          Irma Correa* is a Spanish playwright, director, educator, screenwriter, and actor. Among her plays are Hablando (Ultimo aliento), Un burro volando, Mariana, El tiempo de Bernardo P., Desde lo invisible (Max Award for Best New Play (Spain), Friday (19th Sociedad General de Autores y Escritores Theatre Award), and Los mares habitados (Premio Réplica for Best Production). She taught History of Dramatic Art in Bogotá, Colombia, and has led various workshops in dramaturgy and playwriting.


          El viejo, el joven y el mar is directed by José Luis Arellano*, an acclaimed stage and television director from Madrid who won the 2016 Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Direction of Yerma at GALA. Since 2009, he


Last modified onSaturday, 09 February 2019 19:57
  • Subtitle: Absorbing Powerful Timely.

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