Outside, Inside, Aside.
Dialoguing with the Gracioso in Spanish Golden Age Theatre
Monica Leoni (University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada)
Though much has been written about the stock type of the comic servant in Golden Age Theatre, traditional analysis has tended to reify the scope of this character's role as secondary, dictated by more principle figures whose sphere of influence he establishes from the margins. However, this limited view of the Gracioso does little to shed light on the possible ramifications of a more developed persona capable of multifaceted significance beyond that of a mere formulaic, comedic cog in the plot's machinations.
In this study Monica Leoni attempts to update the traditional view held of this underestimated purveyor of humour. Tracing the Gracioso's theatrical trajectory, the author argues for a relationship between the character's movement from the peripheries to centre-stage and the growing political importance of the historical court jester. When considered as theatrical bridge between audience and stage, Leoni suggests that the laughter provoked by the Gracioso does more than deliver moments of comedic respite. Rather, she contends that the Spanish comic type uses his foolery to communicate with those beyond the stage, coaxing the spectator to cross the dramatic threshold and join him in the resolution of the comic plot.
Monica Leoni is Professor of Spanish Language and Literature in the Department of Spanish and Latin American Studies, at the University of Waterloo (Ontario, Canada).