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Spanish classic comes to Tampa

The Cervantes Theater Company has brought to Tampa a piece of classic literature that brings together cultures from around the world. The play, Don Juan Tenoria, is the company’s first Bay Area production.

According to USF Spanish professor Osiris Albrecht, who plays Brigida in the production, the countries represented include the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Brazil, Nigeria, Thailand, Venezuela and Uruguay.

Don Juan Tenorio is a romantic classic, performed entirely in Spanish and adapted from the 18th century script. The natural rhyme and rhythm of the piece carried throughout the performance.

“The most interesting thing is the international cast from different venues: high school students, USF students, other USF teachers,” Albrecht said.

And with the exception of the director, Luis Otero, all the actors are not professionals.

“The main purpose was to bring classics to everybody, the youth and the not so young, as a way to distribute culture,” Albrecht said.

The director, who first presented the play in Ocala, wanted to bring the play to Tampa because of its larger Spanish-speaking market.

According to Albrecht, the actors have been rehearsing since April.

“It took a lot of work and dedication,” Albrecht said, because they are working with All the money earned from ticket sales goes to the University Area Community Center, where the performance was held.

The characters Don Juan and Don Luis are rivals who engage in a yearlong competition that eventually costs them their loves. The wager is one of exploits: At the conclusion of the year, whichever of the two has racked up the most immoral acts wins.

After the passing of a year, and on the eve of both of their marriages, the two meet in a bar to compare deeds. As Don Juan reveals his and it becomes apparent that he has won the bet, Don Luis ups the ante, refusing to lose. But the fathers of the girls that both men are to wed are in the bar wearing disguises, and, hearing of the two men’s crooked exploits, they disown both Don Juan and Don Luis.

Unlike Cinderella, the characters do not live happily every after.

The performance touches on universal aspects of the human experience: love, romance, drama and competition. Because of these passions, the classics like Don Juan Tenorio will never die.