The Cardenio Project, Script

by Jesús Eguía Armenteros

Below is an excerpt of the English translation of the Spanish script. Click here to download the complete script in English, and
here for the Spanish version.
[Darkness. In THE AUTHOR's brain echoes a conversation with Harvard Professor Stephen GREENBLATT, coordinator of The Cardenio Project. The words of one and the other are to be heard simultaneously and become mixed.]

THE AUTHOR What is real? I don't know what is real. I don't want to deceive myself. I want to be happy. I don't want to suffer. I want a life worth living, that's it. To be naive, a hypocrite, a lunatic? I don't care about the others any more. I can't live with her any longer and I have been just asked to write a love story. I don't like her smell. Is that clear? It should be, because mustn't step back. I'm a coward. I don't want to hurt her.
GREENBLATT I think it could help you to understand the Cardenio Project. Shakespeare and Fletcher's plots were obviously inspired by Cardenio's story, as told in Cervantes's Don Quixote.
THE AUTHOR I've just been asked to write a story about Cardenio, because Shakespeare read Cervantes and wrote Cardenio about one part of the Quixote, however, it was lost or it was burned - I didn't understand very well - and now someone claims to have found it. The Royal Shakespeare Company? I don't know. I didn't really understand what they want me to write. Harvard University. Whatever I want? That's what he said. I didn't understand very well. My English isn't very good. Ten years ago I could speak the language a lot better. (in English): But I don't know what I must do: maybe I would write a piece, inspirited in it, an adaptation of Shakespeare, of Cervantes, of the both at the same time?
GREENBLATT I'm especially interested in an idea I call "cultural mobility".
THE AUTHOR Is it going to be published in Spanish? I don't know. I didn't understand very well. It's good money. I shouldn't say no. It's Harvard.
GREENBLATT ... That is, the transmission and transformation of cultural material through time and space. The text should derive its material from the basic source, Cervantes' story, and from our version of Cardenio, to then adapt it to the concerns and theatrical conventions of Spanish culture and society.
THE AUTHOR Cardenio is a character who fights for love. I don't know how to leave her. I don't want to hurt her. I'm such an asshole. What do they actually want me to do? I didn't understand very well. I don´t know what the "theatrical conventions of Spanish culture and society" are. I don't want to feel myself guilty.
GREENBLATT Your play will be the answer. I don't know what you have in mind. You're free to do with it as your imagination tells you.
THE AUTHOR Your play will be the answer. I don't know what you have in mind. You're free to do with it as your imagination sees fit.