An interactive discussion of Sor Juana's Love is the Greater Labyrinth (Amor es más laberinto) and its history and themes with directors Melia Bensussen and Leyma López; scholars Barbara Fuchs, Rhonda Sharrah, and Aina Soley; and members of the companies. The conversation will be held in both English and Spanish.
This event is supported by the Cultural Office of the Embassy of Spain.
ABOUT THE PANELISTS
Melia Bensussen is an award-winning director and artistic leader who has directed extensively at leading theatres throughout the country since 1984, including productions at the Huntington Theatre Company, Sleeping Weazel, Shakespeare & Company, Actors’ Shakespeare Project, La Jolla Playhouse, Baltimore Center Stage, Hartford Stage, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, the New York Shakespeare Festival, Manhattan Class Company, Primary Stages, Long Wharf Theatre, Cincinnati Playhouse, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Merrimack Repertory Theatre, People’s Light and Theatre Company, Bay Street Theatre and Playwrights Horizons, among others.
Raised in Mexico City, Bensussen is fluent in Spanish and has translated and adapted a variety of texts, including her edition of the Langston Hughes translation of Federico Garcia Lorca’s Blood Wedding. She is currently working on commissions and productions at the Huntington Theatre Company and ArtsEmerson in Boston.
Her acclaimed work with new plays has taken her to the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, New York Stage and Film, PlayPenn, The Playwrights’ Center, Sundance, and other new play programs across the United States. Ongoing collaborations with playwrights include such distinguished writers as Kirsten Greenidge, Melinda Lopez, Jeffrey Hatcher, Masha Obolensky, Charlotte Meehan, and Kate Snodgrass. She has been lucky to have the opportunity to collaborate with a range of American playwrights, including Annie Baker, Mat Smart, Edwin Sanchez, Nick Gandiello, Eduardo Machado, Jose Rivera, Lee Blessing, Richard Dresser, and Willy Holtzman.
A graduate of Brown University, Bensussen currently serves as the Chair of the Arts Advisory Board for the Princess Grace Foundation and for the past eleven years has chaired the Performing Arts Department at Emerson College. She also serves on the executive board of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (SDC).
Barbara Fuchs is Professor of Spanish and English at UCLA. She is the founder and director of the Working Group on the Comedia in Translation and Performance and its Diversifying the Classics initiative, which has been working to promote Hispanic classical theater since 2014. With Jon Rivera of Playwrights’ Arena, she launched Golden Tongues, an adaptation initiative connecting Los Angeles playwrights with comedia to produce brand-new plays. In 2018, she founded LA Escena, Los Angeles’ festival of Hispanic classical theater.
Professor Fuchs has published widely on early modern literature and culture and contemporary performance. She has also translated a wide range of early modern Hispanic classics, including seven comedias with the Working Group, now available on the Diversifying the Classics open-access website or in print from Juan de la Cuesta press. Recent projects include a translation of Lope de Vega’s rediscovered Women and Servants (Juan de la Cuesta 2016); The Golden Age of Spanish Drama, with Gregary Racz (Norton Critical Editions 2018); and 90 Monologues from Classical Spanish Theater, translated and edited with Laura Muñoz and Jennifer Monti (Juan de la Cuesta 2018).
Fuchs’s most recent book is Theater of Lockdown: Digital and Distanced Performance in a Time of Pandemic (Bloomsbury/Methuen 2021), informed by her experience with the 2020 edition of LA Escena. In 2020-21, she served as the UCLA Clark Professor, directing a program on “Resituating the Comedia” at the UCLA Clark Memorial Library and Center for 17th and 18th-Century Studies.
Leyma López is a Cuban-American stage director based in New York City. She holds a Pedagogy and Theater Direction degree from the Superior Institute of the Arts in Havana, 2008. She founded the group "Rompecalle" in Cuba in 2007, a theatrical research and development project focused on classical texts. López is the Resident Director at Repertorio Español. She received the Van Lier Award for Young Directors in 2012 and her credits with the company include “Aire Frío”; “Valor Agravio y Mujer”; “Filomena Marturano, un Matrimonio a la Caribeña”; “La Celestina”, “La Paz perpetua”, among others. She has also collaborated with different other companies such as Pregones/PRTT, ID Studio, Two River Theater, and Teátrica, among others. From 2012-2019 Leyma has directed more than fifteen shows in the city and several staged readings.
Rhonda Sharrah is a Ph.D. candidate in the UCLA Department of English studying translation and book history in the early modern period. She has been a member of Diversifying the Classics since 2018 and collaborated on the group's translations of To Love Beyond Death by Calderón de la Barca, The Courage to Right a Woman’s Wrongs by Ana Caro, and Love is the Greater Labyrinth by Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, to which she will also be writing the introduction. With Diversifying the Classics, she has coordinated the 2018 and 2020 LA Escena Hispanic Theater Festival and served as an editor on the UCLA publication series The Comedia in Translation and Performance, from Juan de la Cuesta.
Aina Soley is a Ph.D. student with a research interest in the portrayal of violent conflicts and state repression in national minorities literatures, with diversified teaching experience and expertise in digital pedagogical material creation as well as data visualization, analysis, and storytelling. She has been a part of Diversifying the Classics since 2018. She has collaborated in three play translations, as well as organizing LA Escena 2020 and serving as a dramaturg for the Golden Tongues initiative.