Written and Performed by Sarah Cuneo, based on the writings of Infanta Eulalia of Spain;
Directed by Brad Wilson
Part of the 2018 New York International Fringe Festival
Off Off Broadway, Solo Show
Runs through 10.22.18
FringeHUB, 685 Washington Street
by Jacob Goldbas on 10.13.18
Sarah Cuneo in Eulalia: A Bedtime Story. Photo by Anthony Cuneo.
BOTTOM LINE: A fascinating look at how Princess Eulalia of Spain must break out of her social roles to become a writer.
Eulalia: A Bedtime Story, a solo play written and performed by Sarah Cuneo, is about the eponymous princess of Spain, who lived from 1864 to 1958—an astounding 94 years. Eulalia focuses on how the princess must reconcile the social constraints and responsibilities of being 19th century royalty with the urge to travel and become a writer.
in Eulalia, Princess Eulalia’s biography is framed as a bedtime story to children, with Cuneo as the storyteller. This allows director Brad Wilson to tell the story using toys and other things found in a kid's bedroom. So at times, the toys symbolize inundation, as when Cuneo loads toys representing people and unceremoniously dumps them. The device also allows for more intricate metaphoric storytelling, as when Cuneo uses a parrot puppet to explain the complicated somersaults of the tumultuous Spanish monarchy, which was dismantled and then reinstated.
Because of its foundational concern with Princess Eulalia as a public intellectual, Eulalia takes on additional resonance against the backdrop of the #MeToo movement. In this play, and in her life, Princess Eulalia is trapped by an arranged marriage to her cousin, Infante Antonio. In addition to the incest factor (admittedly not uncommon in royal families), Cuneo sees the royal marriage as purely political—only for the purpose of having children—and therefore a waste of a brilliant mind. Eulalia eventually escapes her social confines, allowing this play to have a delightful twist at its end—not to be spoiled here.
Cuneo’s work is historical fiction, based on letters, accounts, and Princess Eulalia’s own writings. Like other epistolary works that draw from historical letters and other first-hand accounts, like Jackie Sibblies Drury's We Are Proud to Present a Presentation... (which played at Soho Rep in 2012), Cuneo's inspirational account reminds us just how relevant the past can be, both now and in the future. Given the general disappearance of letter-writing and the handwritten word, and the intimacy this invites, one can only wonder how this will change how future historians and dramatists capture our current moment.
(Eulalia: A Bedtime Story plays at FringeHUB, 685 Washington Street at Charles Street, through October 22, 2018. Meet at the YELLOW FringeNYC flag. The running time is 45 minutes. Performances are Fri 10/12 at 8:45, Tue 10/16 at 3:45, Wed 10/17 at 8:45, Sat 10/20 at 4:15, and Mon 10/22 at 3:30. There is no late seating at FringeNYC. Tickets are $22 (plus $3.69 ticketing fee), $16 (plus $3.51) for seniors, and are ONLY available online at fringenyc.org. For more information visit eulaliashow.com.)
Eulalia: A Bedtime Story is written and performed by Sarah Cuneo, based on the writings of Infanta Eulalia of Spain. Directed and Dramaturgy by Brad Wilson. Lighting Design by Vittoria J. Orlando.