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The Widow of Valencia: 'A woman’s pursuit for pleasure in a man’s world'

The Department of Theatre, Film, and Digital Production’s latest 2022-2023 season production opens on February 16th
By Alejandra Prado, Student Writer/CHASS Marketing and Communications |

Described as sexy, exciting, funny, and romantic, “The Widow of Valencia” is the Department of Theatre, Film, and Digital Production’s (TFDP) first showing of the winter quarter with opening night set for February 16th. 

UCR will stage a unique and unprecedented Spanglish adaptation of the 15th-century play, written by Félix Lope de Vega. It is based on the modern English translation by UCLA’s Diversifying the Classics while incorporating Spanish back into the script. A part of Diversifying the Classics, the Working Group on the Comedia in Translation and Performance has previously collaborated with UCR on translations of Spanish Golden Age plays in an effort to promote and strengthen the appreciation of Hispanic classical theater.

UCR alum Melanie Queponds will direct “The Widow of Valencia” with students Renee Fagan and Aaron Martinez set to play the two main lovers, Leonarda and Camilo.

Queponds describes the play as “a woman’s pursuit for pleasure in a man’s world.”

“As an alum of the UCR TFDP department, I am thrilled to be back where I first became a director, but in this new capacity,” she said. “I am excited to work with a new generation of students who are creating fantastic work for this production.”

Coming to UCR, Fagan set out to reconnect with her passion for acting. Now a second-year student, she saw the opportunity to do so during auditions last November. “I’ve come to love this, script, this cast, and these characters so much, and I can't wait for you to see it,” Fagan said. 

On stage, Fagan’s character will be joined by Lucenio, Leonarda’s uncle, played by fourth-year student, Ernesto Ibarra.

“I’m hopeful for a lot of excitement among the cast and crew and that we are all able to perform

our jobs to the best of our abilities,” Ibarra said. “I hope the audience has fun with the show and I’m hopeful that people can identify with some of the conflicts that the lead character deals with in the play.”

“Audiences should expect strong, fierce women, passionate men, and silly suitors with swords in hand,” Queponds said. “Expect a lot of intrigue, mystery, and danger lurking in the shadows.”

“The Widow of Valencia” will open on Thursday, Feb. 16, at 8 p.m. until Friday, Feb. 25, at 2:30 p.m. in the Studio Theatre, ARTS 113. 

Tickets are available online or at the University Theatre box office: $15 for general admission and $12 for non-UCR students, alumni, senior citizens, and children. It’s free to attend for UCR students, but everyone must acquire a ticket in advance online and pick it up at the box office window on the night of the show.

To learn more about “The Widow of Valencia” program, please visit

TWOV Cast Members
The Widow of Valencia cast members.