The Granny and the Heist / La estanquera de Vallecas

Translated with an introduction by Stuart Green / Teaching Resources designed by Lucy Meyer and Stuart Green

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ISBN: 9781786941060

Publication: March 19, 2018

Series: Aris & Phillips Hispanic Classics

In the USA? Buy the Paperback US edition
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.

Lucy Meyer is Head of Modern Foreign Languages at Bexley Grammar School, a language specialist school whose department offers 7 languages from KS3 to KS5, and where the study of two languages is compulsory to GCSE. An IB and AQA examiner, Lucy is also the Spanish Stream Designer for the Prince’s Teaching Institute, and in school has previously held positions as Lead Teacher of KS3 and KS4. Her main pedagogical interests lie in pupil use of Target Language, culture in the classroom, and the development of initiatives that raise the profile of languages.

Stuart Green is Senior Lecturer in Spanish at the University of Leeds, where he teaches and researches on the performing arts in modern Spain. He has published on a range of topics, including the ethics of racial humour and blackface performance, dialogues between cinema and theatre, and Afro-Spanish rap artists. He is interested in practical theatre and translation, and has attended a variety of courses in British and Spanish theatres to this end.


There’s no-one quite like Grandma 1

Vallecas: from village to neighbourhood and on stage 2

Plot summary 5

Alonso de Santos and the theatre of his time: playwriting

and politics 7

La estanquera de Vallecas: a blend of sainete and the picaresque 13

Characters 20

Premiere(s): critical and commercial reaction 28

Notes on the translation 32

Acknowledgements 35

Translator's Note 35

Bibliography 36

La estanquera de Vallecas / The Granny and the Heist 39

Teaching Resources

Introduction 138

Addressing any concerns 139

Teaching and learning objectives 140

Skills activities 142

Speaking 142

Listening 151

Reading 153

Writing 155

Research project 159

Performance 160

Lesson sequence 163

Entrevista con Beatriz Bergamín /

Interview with Beatriz Bergamín 166

Transcriptions of videoclips 172

Photographs from the 1985 stage production 176

Sample student work 178

Answers to questions 189

Format: Paperback

Size: 210 × 147 mm

198 Pages

15 B&W illustrations

ISBN: 9781786941060

Publication: March 19, 2018

Series: Aris & Phillips Hispanic Classics

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