Play recounts revolt by a Spanish village

Cal Lutheran production features action, music, humor

(THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – Oct. 29, 2019) California Lutheran University is staging a historical play by Spain’s most popular Golden Age playwright that speaks to the power of people to overcome oppression, both then and now. 

The Theatre Arts and Dance Department will present seven performances of “Fuenteovejuna, or Like Sheep to Water…” at 8 p.m. Nov. 14-16 and 21-23 and at 2 p.m. Nov. 24 in the Black Box Theatre on the Thousand Oaks campus.

In the tradition of Spanish “comedias,” “Fuenteovejuna” is filled with action, music and humor. Set in 1476 Spain, it is based on the true story of the people of the village of Fuenteovejuna, which still exists today. A commander with a feudal holy order took over the town and ruled brutally, leading it into poverty and abusing and raping the women. Ultimately, the women led the town to rise up and kill the commander. When King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella asked townspeople who had committed the murder, each one answered only, “Fuenteovejuna did it,” even under torture. The king and queen, unable to prove guilt, pardoned the town. 

“This play has long been on my directing bucket list,” said director Michael J. Arndt, chair of the Theatre Arts and Dance Department. “In a modern culture of abuse of power in business and in government, the story rings truer than ever. It speaks to the power of the average citizen in changing their circumstances and fighting oppression. The modern #MeToo movement is an echo of this 15th-century rebellion of women to oppose unjust and corrupt leadership.” 

Félix Lope de Vega y Carpio, the author of the 1614 play, is often called the Spanish Shakespeare. He was extremely prolific, with at least 800 plays to his credit.  

Curt Columbus translated the play into English. Languages and Cultures Department Chair Rafaela Fiore Urizar translated some dialogue back into Spanish to enhance the bilingual aspect of the production. Kingsmen Shakespeare Festival composer Christopher Hoag provided an original score featuring classical Spanish guitar music. 

The set designed by assistant professor Andrea Heilman and constructed by technical director Josh Clabaugh converts the Black Box Theatre into a replica of a 17th-century Spanish “corral,” or courtyard. The audience will be seated around three sides on two levels of the courtyard. 

Katarina Lopez, a Chatsworth resident majoring in theater arts and criminal justice, plays Laurencia, the woman who leads the town’s rebellion. Will Peña, a theater arts major from Santa Maria, plays the commander.

Admission is $10. Tickets are available online at For more information, call 805-493-3452.


  • Cal Lutheran to offer public health minor
    Fri November 13, 2020

    California Lutheran University is launching a minor in public health to help fill the growing need for professionals skilled at promoting well-being, particularly in diverse communities. 

  • Equity, inclusion drive curriculum changes
    Wed September 23, 2020

    Fall semester at California Lutheran University brought curriculum changes that address issues of equity and inclusion and the beginning of additional efforts.

  • Cal Lutheran won't require SAT or ACT
    Wed April 15, 2020

    In a major shift, California Lutheran University is adopting a test-optional policy for undergraduate admissions.

  • Cal Lutheran CERF gives 2019 VC forecast
    Thu October 31, 2019

    The 2019 Ventura County Economic Forecast Conference will feature analyses of local data and a panel discussion of innovative ideas for improving the region’s economy. The event will also include the Ventura County release of the 2019 Latino Development Collaborative U.S. Latino GDP Report. 

  • Play recounts revolt by a Spanish village
    Tue October 29, 2019

    California Lutheran University is staging a historical play by Spain’s most popular Golden Age playwright that speaks to the power of people to overcome oppression, both then and now. 

  • State's former poet laureate to read verse
    Mon October 7, 2019

    A free Oct. 23 event at California Lutheran University will feature a reading and lecture by California’s most recent poet laureate and a choral performance of one of his poems.

  • Latinos' economic output quantified
    Thu September 26, 2019

    Researchers from California Lutheran University’s Center for Economic Research and Forecasting and the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine released the 2019 Latino Development Collaborative U.S. Latino GDP Report today. 

  • Cal Lutheran students to present research
    Wed September 25, 2019

    More than 60 of California Lutheran University’s top undergraduates will present their findings at the 16th Annual Student Research Symposium on Saturday, Oct. 12.

  • University adds ethnic/race studies major
    Tue September 17, 2019

    California Lutheran University is adding an ethnic and race studies major to help students gain a deeper understanding of communities of color in the United States and build cultural competence in working with diverse groups.

  • US News ranks Cal Lutheran 9th in West
    Mon September 9, 2019

    California Lutheran University has jumped to its highest spot ever in the U.S. News Best Colleges rankings, ninth among regional universities in the West.