Latin American Theatre
Translations by Prof Charles Philip Thomas

The Secret Friendship of Juana and Dorothy) (La Secreta Amistad de Juana y Dorotea )

Country :Mexico

translated by Prof. Charles Philip Thomas

La Secreta Amistad de Juana y Dorotea (The Secret Friendship of Juana and Dorothy) presents the true story of Dorothy Schons (1898-1961), a professor of Spanish at the University of Texas at Austin, and critic who was a pioneer as a woman in academia and specialized in the literary works of another woman.

 In this case it was the Mexican nun, Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, the greatest writer of the Spanish Colonial era.  Dorothy's daily life, her relation with her sister, the impossibility of receiving tenure and the difficult relationship with her misogynist colleagues, is merged in Dorothy's mind with the life of Sor Juana, who appears as a character and who also suffered rejection from the masculine world. Their parallel lives are shown on stage using the same actors: Dorothy's sister takes on the persona of Sor Juana in other scenes, the chairman of the university department personifies that of Sor Juana's confessor, etc.

The problems that Sor Juana suffered at the end of her life are compared with the final denial of the awarding of tenure, just as Sor Juan's death is compared in connection to Dorothy's suicide.  The last scene portrays a meeting between Sor Juana and Dorothy in the afterlife following Dorothy's suicide.  Throughout the play phrases from Sor Juana's poetry are used to illustrate the incredible bond felt by the 20th century academic with the ideas expressed by the brilliant 17th century poet.  

Country :Mexico

Guillermo Schmidhuber
Works  in Translation by
Prof. Charles Philip Thomas