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Federico García Lorca’s theory of Duende has influenced generations of playwrights and artists, including Julián Mesri. Famously hard to define, Duende refers to a form of artistic inspiration that comes from within—one that is essential to theater. In this seminar, Julián examines playwriting through the lens of Duende. Students will gain a deeper understanding of Lorca’s aesthetics and their reflections in contemporary theater while also exploring how to think about Duende in their own theatrical work.

This class is for you if you:

  • Love or would like to get to know Lorca’s work.
  • Want to gain an appreciation for theater that goes beyond plot/character/theme.
  • Are searching for new forms of artistic inspiration.
  • Are interested in the poetics of playwriting.
  • Are interested in Spanish theater.
  • Are interested in learning more about Julián Mesri’s work and approach to writing.

What to expect:

  • Engage with Lorca’s “Theory and play of duende”.
  • Discover contemporary examples from film, theater, and music of ‘duende’.
  • In-class writing exercises for how playwrights can access duende in their writing.
  • In-class reading and discussion of excerpts of plays using various forms of inspiration.
From Julián

Understanding not only duende, but Lorca’s distinctions between the other form is a novel way to think about the work one encounters, and especially what makes theater such a unique form.

Julián Mesri

The playwright
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based inBrooklyn, NY
Julián Mesri is a New York-based Argentinean-American composer and writer who makes multilingual plays and musicals in the US and around the world. He is a current member of the Public Theater Emerging Writers Group and received a 2020-2021 EST/Sloan Commission for his musical Favaloro: A Heart in Pieces. He was the composer, co-adapter, co-lyricist and translator for Public Mobile Unit’s musical adaptation for Comedy of Errors directed by Rebecca Martinez. Recent productions include Telo (Live and In Color Finalist, O’Neill NMTC Finalist), Bartolomé de las Casas Ruins My Pool (O’Neill NPC Finalist)Immersion (Ingenio Festival at Milagro Theater, Columbia/Roundabout Finalist, BAPF Semi-Finalist. Mesri has been an Emerging Artist of Color Fellow and Usual Suspect at NYTW, a Van Lier fellow at Repertorio Español, and the recipient of an ASCAP Scholarship. His adaptation of Fuenteovejuna received the HOLA Outstanding production award. He has also translated dramatic works for the Lark US/Mexico Exchange and PEN World Voices. He received his MFA from Columbia University.

Instagram @jmesri