… what Rita Barrenechea will never know is that she has gone down in history as the first female Spanish playwright to have her theatre piece published. It is a work that has been silenced for over two centuries and now comes to light and will be premiered at the Arriaga Theatre.
María Rita de Barrenechea, Marchioness of Solana and Countess of Carpio, (1757-1795) is a forgotten name in Spanish theatre and, surprisingly, in Basque literature. Born in Bilbao, she moved to Valladolid at an early age, where she married and later moved to Madrid, where she died at the age of 37. In the capital, she formed part of the best literary circles, became friends with Jovellanos and was portrayed by Goya. We have only preserved three of her plays: “La aya”, another without a title and “Catalin”.
Rita de Barrenechea throws a party at home for her illustrious friends: Goya, The Duchess of Alba, Jovellanos,… and will take advantage of the opportunity to present the theatre play that she has just written, with the title, “Catalin”, a pay that is set in a farmhouse and whose theme is unequal marriages. It is a neoclassical and sentimental comedy set in Portugalete at the end of the 18th century.
However, Rita has not only organised the party to reveal her play, but she also wants to propose the incorporation of women in the Maritrense Economic Society to Jovellanos.