Representation in ‘Fuenteoveojuna’ at Cal Lutheran


Gbemi Abon

Bridget De Maria and Maya De la Torre take center stage at the final dress rehearsal before opening night.

Gbemi Abon, Reporter

“Fuenteoveojuna,” or “Like Sheep To Water,” opened in the Blackbox theatre at California Lutheran University on Thursday, Nov. 14. The play is based on a true story in Spain from 1476. Directed by Michael Arndt, Theatre and Dance department chair and professor of Theatre Arts. The play spotlights female leads fighting the injustice of Commander Fernan Gomez, played by junior Will Pena. 

Junior Katarina “Kat” Lopez plays the lead, Laurencia. Lopez said she was drawn to the show because of the opportunity it allows for diversity. 

“That’s always been one of my passions, to try to bring representation to the screen for people of color because it is severely lacking, and I think that we need to bring more representation if we want to portray the real world,” Lopez said. 

Lopez performed “Dos Corazones” in the 10-Minute Play Festival last semester, where she was one of the first actresses at Cal Lutheran to speak Spanish throughout the entirety of the play.

Arndt said he enjoyed directing “Fuenteoveojuna” because he learned a lot about Spanish culture. Arndt said his favorite part about directing the play was collaborating and working with students to make the play come to life.

“I’ve liked this show for many years. I taught it in my theatre history class. I saw a production in London and was really impressed by it. I thought the show spoke to a lot of issues in our society today and has a lot of resonance with issues that are happening and are affecting men and women in our country,” Arndt said. 

Arndt said he brought Samuel Claussen, an assistant professor of history who specializes in medieval European history, to give a history lesson on Spain in the 1400s to the actors. 

“I hope they [the audience] feel a connection with a group of people many, many years ago that rose up against injustice and sort of get a sense that the individuals still [have] the power to resist to fight against things that are wrong,” Arndt said. 

Julianne Marmer and Mckenna Levasseur-Tripp, audience members at the Friday, Nov. 15 show said they had a personal connection with the theme of women empowerment, and said they gained insight from watching the characters stand up to injustice. 

“One of my favorite parts was the women empowerment [and] how the women stood up to the men, and definitely seeing [and] letting women take a stance and using their voice,” Marmer said.  

Fuenteoveojuna is showing at the Blackbox theatre until Nov. 24. Admission is free with a Cal Lutheran ID and $10 without.