Cervantes' lost masterpiece to make debut at Stratford

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The Independent Online

A "lost masterpiece" by the Spanish author Cervantes is to receive its world premiere in Stratford-upon-Avon this autumn, nearly 400 years after it was written.

A "lost masterpiece" by the Spanish author Cervantes is to receive its world premiere in Stratford-upon-Avon this autumn, nearly 400 years after it was written.

Scholars said that they had been waiting for years to see Pedro de Urdemalas (Pedro, the Great Pretender), the final play in a Royal Shakespeare Company season dedicated to the Spanish Golden Age.

The author of Don Quixote wrote the play, his last, between 1613 and 1615 on his return to Spain after being captured by pirates and held captive by Turks in Algiers. But academics believe that its subversive, experimental nature meant that it was never staged.

Jack Sage, an emeritus professor of Spanish atLondon University and an adviser to the production, said: " Pedro will be seen as a great play, I've no doubt about that. I think it will put Cervantes back in the picture ... as the writer of many works."

Professor Sage said theatre managers might have felt that the play was too subversive. Pedro is a Robin Hood-type figure who mocks the social hierarchy with his trickery. The play was also quite experimental in its episodic form.

"Putting a rogue on stage as a hero was really daring, there were enough moralists objecting to the theatre as it was," he said.

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