The Burlesque Comedy of the Spanish Golden Age: Parody, Nonsense, and Carnival
This paper offers an approach to the main features and conventions of the burlesque comedy of the Spanish Golden Age, a corpus formed by about fifty parodic plays that were performed during Carnival and on St. John's Day as part of the court festivals celebrated in the Royal Palace or in the Buen Retiro palace complex. These two features (theatre of Carnival and courtier theatre) are the main key when analyzing these plays. The primary function of these pieces is to provoke laughter within the aulic audience - the king and his noblemen. To achieve this goal, authors of burlesque comedies use all of the resources at hand, including both scenic and verbal humor. The plays are marked by an absurd wit, and they bring on stage a carnivalesque world turned upside-down in which everything (including characters, plots, literary motifs, and dramatic conventions) is grotesquely parodied, brutally degraded, and made comical.