GALA Hispanic Theatre presents THE OLD MAN, THE YOUTH AND THE SEA / El Viejo, El Joven y El Mar

 Entertainment   Thu, January 03, 2019 03:33 PM

Washington, DC – GALA Hispanic Theatre continues its 43rd season with the world premiere of El viejo, el joven y el mar by Irma Correa, which was commissioned by GALA. Directed by 2016 Helen Hayes Award winner José Luis Arellano from Spain, El viejo, el joven y el mar is performed in Spanish with English surtitles from February 7 through March 3, 2019 at GALA Theatre, 3333 14th Street, NW, Washington, D.C. The theater is one block from the Columbia Heights metro station on the Green/Yellow lines. Discounted parking is available behind the theater at the Giant Food garage.

Forced into exile for political reasons, Spain’s renowned philosopher Miguel de Unamuno, confronts a young fisherman, a general, and a journalist about their beliefs regarding freedom, reason, and faith while he plans his escape from the island of Fuerteventura. Based on historic events, this new play by one of Spain’s rising young playwrights explores conflicting loyalties to one’s country and one’s morality in the battle for a just society. Given the rise of nationalism in the world today, questions of truth, freedom of speech, and political liberty have greater resonance.

“Today the world is collapsing,” states playwright Correa. “Flashpoints of brutality explode in any corner, in any country, every minute, every day. We stand by unflinching as acts are carried out to curtail freedom and tolerance, incited by people who hold power and occupy posts filled with ranting and violence. Reason, tolerance, and empathy are ideas relegated to memory’s most obscure box.”

“I feel,” Correa adds, “it is time to revive the thoughts that save us from barbarity. It is time to revive Unamuno. For his feminist stance and his humanist essence, an essence that defends thought as a powerful weapon and the human soul as the guarantor of our place in the infinite. In The Old Man, the Youth and the Sea, Unamuno represents the power of reason and empathy, and the young fisherman Cisco, the dream of tomorrow, the drive of being alive, the truth of the now. Facing them, the General defends the fulfillment of duty; he is wrought iron, unbreakable morality. He is Trump’s wall.”

Press Night and Noche de GALA is Saturday, February 9, 2019, under the gracious patronage of the Ambassador of Spain Santiago Cabanas Ansorena. This production is produced with Acción Sur and made possible with support from the Embassy of Spain in Washington, DC, SPAIN arts & culture, Programa de Internacionalización de la Cultura Española of Acción Cultural Española (AC/E), the National Endowment for the Arts, and the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities.

Student matinees are on February 14, February 15, February 28, and March 1 at 10:30 am.


Miguel de Unamuno (1864-1936) was an author, poet, scholar, journalist, philosopher, end educator whose essays were influential in early 20th century Spain. Born in Bilbao, Spain, he was a member of the “Generation of 1898”, a literary group dedicated to the renewal of Spain. His first published work was the essay published in En torno al casticismo (Around Reason, 1895), and his most famous novel is Abel Sánchez, a modern re-creation of the biblical story of Cain and Abel. His other novels include Niebla (Mist, 1914); and San Manuel Bueno, mártir (Saint Manuel the Good, Martyr, 1933).  Unamuno’s El Cristo de Velázquez (The Christ of Velázquez, 1920), a study in poetic form of the great Spanish painter, is considered a superb example of modern Spanish verse.

An early existentialist, Unamuno concerned himself with the tension between intellect and emotion, faith and reason. At the heart of his view of life was the need to preserve one’s personal integrity in the face of social conformity, fanaticism, and hypocrisy. Jean Claude Rabaté, hispanist and respected biographer of the writer, asserts that “Unamuno was not a revolutionary, but he consistently spoke out against those in power.”

Unamuno served as rector of the University of Salamanca twice.  He was first dismissed in 1914 for political reasons, and in 1924 he was exiled to Fuerteventura in the Canary Islands for his opposition to the dictator General Miguel Primo de Rivera. He left Fuerteventura for France in voluntary exile, where he stayed for six years writing scathing commentary about the Spanish King and Primo de Rivera.  After the fall of the dictatorship, he returned to the University of Salamanca and was elected rector again in 1931. This time he served until October 1936 when he denounced General Franco’s Falangists and was removed from the position.  Franco placed Unamuno under house arrest, where he died of a heart attack on December 31, 1936.


Irma Correa* is a Spanish playwright, director, educator, screenwriter, and actor. Among her plays are Hablando (Ultimo aliento), Un burro volando, Mariana, El tiempo de Bernardo P., Desde lo invisible (Max Award for Best New Play (Spain), Friday (19th Sociedad General de Autores y Escritores Theatre Award), and Los mares habitados (Premio Réplica for Best Production). She taught History of Dramatic Art in Bogotá, Colombia, and has led various workshops in dramaturgy and playwriting.


El viejo, el joven y el mar is directed by José Luis Arellano*, an acclaimed stage and television director from Madrid who won the 2016 Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Direction of Yerma at GALA. Since 2009, he
has directed El caballero de Olmedo, Ay, Carmela!, Cabaret Barroco, and Cervantes: El Último Quijote at GALA.,which was nominated for five Helen Hayes Awards. He is the director of the of the Theater School of the City of Parla and co-founder of La Joven Compañia, which is in  residence at the Teatro Conde Duque in Madrid.

Featured in the cast are Horacio Peña as Unamuno from Buenos Aires, Argentina, and Victor De La Fuente* as Cisco from Madrid, Spain. An internationally acclaimed actor, Peña has performed in Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, Colombia, Spain, France, England, and Germany in productions of Ceremony of Absence, La muerte y la doncella, Henry IV, Part 2, and La Biblioteca de Babel, among others. De La Fuente has appeared in numerous plays in Spain, including Barro, Punk Rock, Fuenteovejuna, and Metamorfosis. Both actors are making their GALA debut.

Also appearing in El viejo, el joven y el mar are GALA company members Luz Nicolás and Delbis Cardona, who were recently seen in Como agua para chocolate. Nicolás also appeared in Cervantes: El Último Quijote and Yerma, for which she received a 2016 Helen Hayes Awards nomination. Cardona was also seen in En el tiempo de la mariposas last season.

Scenic and Costume designs are by Silvia de Marta* from Madrid, who won a 2016 Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Set Design for Yerma. Lighting design is by Rodrigo Ortega*. Sound Design and Music Composition are by Alberto Granados. Video Design is by Elvira Zorita and Properties are by Alicia Tessari. Catherine Nunez is Stage Manager; Tony Koehler is Production Coordinator; and Devin Mahoney is Technical Director. Hugo Medrano is Producer and David Peralto* is Production Coordinator in Spain.

*The participation of these artists is made possible with support from the Programa de Internacionalización de la Cultura Española (PICE) of Acción Cultural Española (AC/E).


Regular tickets are $48 on Thursdays through Sundays. Tickets for students, military, seniors (65+) are $30. Additional discounts are available for groups of 10 or more. To purchase tickets, call 202-234-7174 or visit

Dubraska Vale 202-234-7174