Reviews - What do customers think about La venganza de don mendo?
burlesque medieval farce May 8, 2008
This theatre play is an absurdity, a comical play, paradigm of what in Spanish is known as an "Astracanada". Probably this work is the best example of these genre, made with the only purpose to make laughing no matter what means employed. You can vaguely compare with parodies as, "A Yankee in the court of King Arthur" or some else, but this is more corrosive and an absolute madness. And so, "Vengeance of Don Mendo" is a farce of the terrible big amount of serious poems or epics about Middle Age in Spain: fights of honor, duels, battles against the Moors, loves, vengeances, storms, wars... All topics about these historical times are treated. Muñoz Seca was a secondary author but in this case he attained to write a farce so foolish, that being from 1919 still has comical success. The plot imitates at bottom the very serious, usually tragic medieval romances and dramas, but the form is a burlesque parody: Don Mendo, a poor noble cavalier -ever played by an ugly or physical disfavoured actor- is betrayed by his bride with another lover of the noblesse and jailed by the guards in a castle tower prison. He escapes and swears to take a tremendous vengeance, and for that he disguises as a wandering troubadour. The personage of Don Mendo is supposed to be a young passionate man, but what we see at the stage is an ugly aged man who, from these moment provokes incendiary passions in all beautiful women, noble or not, Moor, Christian or Jewish, as truly existed in Spain at times of the Reconquista against the Moors.
The extreme absurdity of the verses and rhymes, carried to paroxysm by Muñoz Seca, as the extreme utilitarianism in the phrases of the noblesse of Middle Age mixed with the horrors of fake fights and destroyed honors make of this work a small masterpiece of the comical and the absurd. No doubt, Muñoz Seca, although being a modest popular writer, mastered very well Spanish language and poetry, as you can't do a good joke if you don't know the right, serious language, poems, epics, etc. Laughing is very important in life. This play, logically, can only be understood in original version.