Saturday, August 30, 2008

Q and A: Choose Your Own Adventure

QUESTION – Red Tape’s Adaptation of Dog in a Manger has gone through multiple endings in the writing process. How did Lope de Vega end the original?

ANSWER – I’ll keep the Red Tape production spoiler free. If you don’t want de Vega’s original ending revealed, read no further.

Still with me? The central conflict of de Vega's The Dog in the Manger involves a Countess who falls for her secretary, Teodoro. The Countess can not have the lower class man for herself but cannot abide his engagement to another. Teodoro’s servant Tristan cons an old nobleman, Ludovico, into claiming Teodoro as his long lost son. The Countess sees through the deception and must decide whether or not to play along.

Lope de Vega was able to claim his Deux Ex Machina and mock it too. In a different play Teodoro’s noble parentage would be true, but in de Vega’s play it is blatantly contrived and few believe it. Through Ludovico the playwright mocks the shallowness of social prestige as well as the impossibility of theatrical happy endings.

In Red Tape’s adaptation the Countess has the Inquisition and her own pride to deal with along with class prejudice. While the character of Ludovico was experimented with in the workshops he has since been cut from our script, leaving our protagonists with no easy solutions.

Paul G. Miller
Season Dramaturge

For more information on Dog in a Manger visit

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