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Occidental College

Publication Date

Spring 2004

Program Name

Spain: Cultural Landscapes and the Arts


I did not choose this play, it chose me. My focus for the Independent Study period of my SIT study abroad semester during the spring of 2004 in Granada, Spain, was, from the very beginning, one of theater. As a theater major at Occidental College in Los Angeles, California, the choice to extend this passion to Spain was a logical one. I had planned, initially, to study the role of women in Spanish theater, particularly women in contemporary Granadino Theater, perhaps working with a director, actors, and even a theatrical company, to view and participate in the production and realization of a theatrical piece. In the end, I did in fact get to observe and participate in this process, but in a way that I had not expected, through a journey I would never have predicted, and perhaps would never have chosen. I was living in southern Spain on the morning of March 11, 2004. The morning that thirteen bombs on four trains were detonated in a Madrid train station, killing two hundred and wounding almost two thousand commuters, workers, and civilians. In the days and weeks that followed this brutal and sudden terrorism, Spain tumbled through an extremely important and utterly definitive historical moment. A moment in which the action and reaction of the Spanish people in both the political and social realms of the country moved me so greatly that it inspired all facets of my curiosity and creativity. I was specifically interested, as an American living in Spain, in the differences and similarities between September 11th, 2001 in New York and (911 days later) March 11th, 2004 in Madrid. After much reading, extensive investigating and numerous interviews, I began to focus on the theme of nationalism – that is, the unshakable identification and intensified pride in one’s own country and the subsequent vilification and devaluazation of all other countries that are not one’s own. I wanted to explore this theme and develop my ideas through a creative medium, that is, I did not want to analyze the nationalistic reactions of Spain and The United States within the bounds of a formal research paper or otherwise rigid academic structure. Thus, I decided to write a play. A monologue, of sorts, that would be eight to ten pages long and translate to about thirty minutes of acted material. After writing the text, I would then work with a Spanish director to interpret, block, and perform the work, which would be presented in front of my American peers here in Spain as well as my Spanish professors and academic directors. Yes, I was indeed crazy. In this completed Independent Study Project, you will find the full and final text as well as descriptions and outlines of my own reflections and intentions throughout the process of writing, developing, and rehearsing the work. You will find a list of my works consulted, including newspaper articles, as well as an outline of typical interview questions and the information of the persons whose answers helped me to compile this essay and complete this play. In the beginning, I had no idea how emotionally, intellectually, and physically taxing this process would be. I had no idea how difficult and rewarding, how complicated and beautifully simple this project could simultaneously be. That is what I have begun to discover, as I have just started to discover the beauty of what this play has, and will continue to, discover in me.



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