Part comedy, part thriller, part social critique, The Granny and the Heist (La estanquera de Vallecas) is the play with which José Luis Alonso de Santos reinvigorated the Spanish stage during a period of uncertainty upon the death of Francisco Franco and the end of theatre censorship. Premiered in 1981, it established Alonso de Santos as the most important playwright in Spain at a time when the country was emerging from decades of relative isolation from the rest of Europe.
Set in a working class area of Madrid, the play tells the story of Leandro and Tocho, two out of work builders whose plan to rob a tobacconists goes awry due to the refusal of its owner, feisty grandmother Justa, to hand over the money. Barricading themselves in the shop as the forces of order arrive, the men take Justa and her granddaughter Ángeles hostage. In the stand-off that ensues, Alonso de Santos deftly interweaves tense excitement, comic banter and moments of great tenderness, eliciting our sympathy for the residents of the Vallecas neighbourhood, equally ignored by Spain’s nascent democracy as they had been under the dictatorship.
This edition features Stuart Green’s facing page translation, as well as a critical introduction that provides readers with knowledge of the historical and cultural context in which the play was written and performed. The edition also includes an extensive collection of classroom activities especially designed by Lucy Meyer and Stuart Green to enable secondary school and university teachers to use the play, its translation and other authentic materials to teach a variety of linguistic and grammatical features of Spanish in all four skills areas in language learning.