The Life & Works of Paloma Pedrero

Paloma Pedrero is considered to be one of the most important and innovative contemporary Spanish playwrights - a must read or see for anyone who wants to study Spanish ! She is also an actress and director, both in the world of theatre and television. Her works have been translated and published across the world, while within Spain she has won many prizes for her works.

Paloma Pedrero - Life

Paloma Pedrero was born in the Spanish capital of Madrid in 1957. At the age of 14, she began pursuing her career in acting, participating in some theatrical works at a boys' school. While she was carrying out her studies in Sociology at the University of Madrid, she also studied Dramatic Arts in workshops with both Spanish and international teachers like Zulema Katz, Dominic de Facio, John Strasberg, and Alberto Wainer.

From 1978 to 1981, she co-wrote and interpreted theatrical works in the theatre company, 'Cachivache', mainly in the areas of children's plays and experimental theatre, in which they used realist language in order to appeal to a younger audience. During this transitional period in Spain, Pedrero urged her ex-husband, the playwright Fermín Cabal, to start writing social theatre, which later led to Paloma writing Imagen doble in 1984. The play was staged the following year, revised and under the name Besos de Lobo.

In 1984, the one act play, La llamada de Lauren, ended up as a finalist for the Teatro Breve of Valladolid Prize. A year later, a much larger version of the play was staged in Madrid which was met with significant success. This led Paloma Pedrero to dedicate herself solely to writing and directing. In 1987, Pedrero won the Tirso de Molina Prize for her work Invierno de luna alegre.

Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Paloma Pedrero continued to write theatrical works, developing her style even further. She also founded and is currently the president of the non-profit organization 'Caidos del Cielo', which helps people who are at risk of social exclusion through the medium of theatre. She is also a teacher at the script writing school run by her ex-husband.

Paloma Pedrero - Works

The works of Paloma Pedrero tend to be short, comedy-like plays that deal with the issues of identity, the subversion of the roles played by the different genders, and the concept of individual freedom in post-modern society, often based on a neorealist form.

Pedrero's plots are generally simple in terms of structure, many having just one scene, and her plays tend to be relatively short in length. Scenes tend to be dramatized versions of daily life and characters are easily recognizable. Often, they are based on stories and experiences that the author herself has experienced or observed. Her writing is very focused and realistic; something which can be seen in the one-act plays that form the Noches de amor efímero series. This series is a collection of night time encounters between a man and a woman with life-changing consequences. The action of each play takes place in real time for just a few minutes, and is then followed by the next.

The settings of Paloma Pedrero's plays are typical, everyday locations such as an apartment, a metro station or a park. Simple settings that do not need complex scenery or equipment to create. However, despite their simplicity, the settings can often play a significant, symbolic role within the play. For example, the claustrophobic, restricted space of the apartment used in La llamada de Lauren is juxtaposed to the freedom of the carnival which is happening on the street outside.

Her realistic and innovative style of theatrical writing has awarded Paloma Pedrero a lot of attention over the years, and as a result, a good handful of literary prizes. Among her many awards, one has to highlight the Tirso de Molina Prize in 1987, the prize for the best author at the VI Muestra Alternativa de Teatro del Festival de Otoño de Madrid in 1997, the Critics Prize in 2003 for En el túnel un pájaro, and a medal from the Centro Latinoamericano de Creación e Investigación Teatral in 2010. This is also the reason why she is one of the most studied contemporary Spanish playwrights in Spanish language schools.

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