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Usted también podrá disfrutar de ella (1973), Ana Diosdado

English title: Yours for the Asking
Notable variations on Spanish title: Usted también podrá disfrutar de ella: comedia dramática en dos actos, Yours for the Asking
Date written: 1973
First publication date: 1973
First production date: 28 November 1973
Keywords: love > relationships, violence > social, violence > suicide, identity > gender, identity > celebrity, power > media
Title information

The ‘de ella’ in the title has a double meaning. It refers to the perfume ‘Ella’ (‘She’) advertised by Fanny, and also to Fanny herself.


She! The hottest fragrance of the season. She! The hottest face of the season. Get the perfume, get the girl. Don’t you want her? You can have her! And when you realise we’ve cheated you out of your cash, you can crucify her on the cross of capitalism. She! Build her up, knock her down!


Usted podrá también disfrutar de ella (Yours for the Asking) is a play that explores the vagaries of fame and the role of the media in popular culture. The action, which unfolds in fragmented scenes that move back and forth in time, centres on the relationship between a jaded magazine journalist, Javier, and a young model, Fanny. Before these two meet, a prologue scene draws spectators into a world of glamour. In this, a beautiful, nearly-naked girl appears in an advertisement for the perfume ‘She’. The model in the advert is Fanny. It seems she has a successful modelling career. However, all is not well in Fanny’s life …

In act 1 the relationship between Fanny and Javier, that will eventually lead to the latter’s suicide, begins to take shape. Javier is tasked by his editor to try and obtain an interview with the model. Although Fanny has recently refused to give interviews, she now wants to talk to someone. And so, she invites Javier and his photographer Manolo to her apartment for an interview. The two men arrive at her apartment block and start making their way up to the model’s flat. However, on his way up, Javier gets stuck in the elevator just below the floor on which she lives. In order to help his colleague (and eager to meet the beautiful model) Manolo knocks on Fanny’s door so she can try and contact the supervisor. She is unable to get hold of him, so Manolo leaves to get help. In the confusion, Fanny locks herself out of her apartment. Thus begins the relationship between Fanny and Javier as they wait for assistance: the model stranded in the hall outside her door; the journalist stuck below in the lift. Neither character can see the other, but they nevertheless begin to talk to pass the time. They discuss loneliness, something Javier doubts that the beautiful model would know much about. Yet he soon learns that Fanny is very much alone. As the face of ‘She’, a perfume promoted by a company embroiled in scandal after an infant vaccine it produced proved fatal, Fanny has become a public figure of hate. She is a prisoner in her own home. In fact, while she is stranded outside her apartment, a neighbour comes along to see if he can help with the elevator. However, his desire to help disappears when he recognises Fanny’s face from billboards and verbally abuses her for her association with the company she works for – despite the fact that it is clear that she had nothing to do with the fatal vaccine. Despairing, Fanny admits to Javier that she is thinking of killing herself.

These conversations in act 1 between Fanny and Javier are interspersed by other scenes set before and after their encounter. At one point we see Javier furiously writing an article in his own apartment. He claims this article will make his name as a journalist. We also see the end of Javier’s relationship with Celia, his partner, which has been precipitated by the fact that Javier has spent a week with Fanny in her apartment … even though the two characters have not yet met face-to-face on stage. More ominously, a Coroner occasionally appears and discusses a mysterious case. Near the end of the act, the tension and complexity of the drama is heightened. Celia reads the article that Javier has written about Fanny for the magazine. To her horror, she discovers that the model intends to gas herself. Celia rushes off to save the girl, leaving Javier alone in his flat. Finally, the action jumps back to the encounter between Fanny in the hall outside her apartment and Javier in the lift. The supervisor has arrived with Manolo and they manage to fix the elevator which moves upwards so that it is level with the floor on which Fanny lives. Eventually, then, as this act ends, Fanny and Javier meet face-to-face for the first time.

Act 2 begins in Fanny’s apartment. Javier lies in her lap and the two are listening to Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 21. They have been alone together for many days. Exhilarated, Fanny paints a picture of Javier as a hero who has saved her from terrible harm. Javier, however, destroys her fantasy by resolving to leave. Before going, he decides to take a shower, leaving Fanny frustrated and alone on stage. She bangs on the walls of her apartment, symbolic of her psychological and physical imprisonment, forced to shut herself away because of the vaccine scandal.

While Javier takes his shower, Manolo arrives at Fanny’s apartment. He is confronted with the model’s anger at Javier’s imminent departure. She compares herself to Sleeping Beauty – awakened by her knight in shining armour … only to have this knight pack up and leave again. However, Manolo has important news. He has learnt that Fanny no longer has a job as a model for the company that produced ‘She’. In an attempt to win back customers and promote a child-friendly image, the company has replaced Fanny with a little boy. Incensed at having been so unceremoniously dismissed, Fanny wants to fight back. Javier, however, is unsupportive. Despite having once spent time in jail because he stood up against the system, Javier’s former public conscience has been beaten into submission by life. Crushed by the feeling that he has sold out his former ideals, Javier decides he cannot have a lasting relationship with Fanny. Fanny also makes a decision. Before Javier leaves she enlists his help to close all the windows in the apartment. Then she turns on the gas and waits for it to poison her.

As in act 1, the encounters between Javier and Fanny in act 2 are interspersed by others set in different times and places. One incident depicts how Fanny came to be the face of ‘She’. As she dances on stage she is approached by her Agent who suggests the advertising campaign job to her. Initially reluctant, it is clear that the prospect of fame and fortune eventually convinced her to take the job that would eventually ruin her modelling career. There are also more ominous appearances by the Coroner. At one point he and Manolo discuss a mysterious death that will be classed – officially only – as an accident rather than a suicide. This encounter, coupled with the fact that earlier in this act Fanny was preparing to gas herself, lead the audience to suppose that the model has indeed committed suicide. However, as the play reaches its conclusion, Fanny is shown wakening up in her gas-filled apartment. Realising she is still alive, Fanny telephones Javier’s magazine office to get his home address so she can go to him. Unfortunately, it is she who now gets stuck in the elevator, where she spends the night. During her imprisonment, the scene from act 1 in which Celia rushes out to save the model from suicide is repeated. Subsequently, Celia arrives at Fanny’s apartment along with Manolo who is looking for Javier. At first they cannot find either the journalist or the model, but finally find Fanny in the lift. She has spent the night struggling and calling out to Javier, and expresses to Celia and Manolo her new found hope that life is worth living … she only hopes she can convince Javier of this before it is too late. Realising the worrying implications of Fanny’s words, Celia and Manolo rush off to save Javier from harming himself. Crying and helpless, Fanny is left alone, still stranded in the elevator.

The play ends with the Coroner. He reveals that Javier committed suicide on 2 September 1973.


In act 2,  Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 21 (Andante) plays. Not knowing it is a classical piece, Fanny recognises it as the tune from the film Elvira Madigan (1967). This is a film about the Swedish tightrope walker, Elvira Madigan (1867-89). The film dramatises Madigan’s life and tragic early death at the hands of her lover. Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 21 was famously used in this film. Consequently, Fanny associates the music she loves with this film rather than with Mozart.

Critical response

Usted también podrá disfrutar de ella is a highly successful play. In 1973 it was awarded the Fastenrath Prize by the Real Académica Española (Spanish Royal Academy) and it has been performed over 500 times in Spain since its premiere in 1973.

Patricia O’Connor, who has translated the play, calls attention to its technical innovation and radical theme. She points out the irony in the fact that a play criticising the treatment of women as sexual objects was probably in part so successful because of the presence of a nearly nude female model:

Focusing on a beautiful model exploited by the cosmetics industry, this play alludes to women who are used as sex objects and who are oppressed by a patriarchal economy. This work also shows marked technical innovation over conventional dramatic forms of the period. The play opens with a visually impressive film clip of a nearly nude model running gracefully in slow motion as she endorses a brand of perfume. Rejecting the time-worn Spanish living room as set, Diosdado elects non-naturalistic multiple staging to facilitate rapid shifts in time and space. A stalled and jail-like elevator in an office building introduces the central metaphor of enclosure and suggests a lack of freedom in a stagnant, dehumanized society. The elevator complements other elements of the play that critique the ruthlessness of big business in sacrificing the powerless to its ambitions. Ironically, the play very likely sold many tickets because of word-of-mouth publicity about the introductory film with the scantily clad woman, even though this clip was ostensibly used to illustrate exploitation. (O’Connor 1990: 380)

  • O’Connor, Patricia. 1990. ‘Women Playwrights in Contemporary Spain and the Male-Dominated Canon’, Signs, 15.2, 376-90

  • Diosdado, Ana. 1973. Usted también podrá disfrutar de ella. Madrid, MK Ediciones y Publicaciones

  • Diosdado, Ana. 1975. Usted también podrá disfrutar de ella. Colección Escena, 7. Madrid, MK Ediciones y Publicaciones

  • Diosdado, Ana. 1975. ‘Usted también podrá disfrutar de ella; comedia dramática en dos actos’. In Teatro español 1973-1974, ed. Federico Carlos Sainz de Robles, pp. 3-78. Madrid, Aguilar

  • Diosdado, Ana. 2007. ‘Usted también podrá disfrutar de ella’. In Teatro escogido. Guadalajara, Asociación de Autores de Teatro

Information about the editions

The fact that so many of the male characters are to be performed by the ‘Man in the Street’ is said to reinforce the dehumanisation that results from mass culture and consumerism (Zatlin 1995: 129).

  • Zatlin, Phyllis. 1995. ‘El teatro de Ana Diosdado. ¿Conformista?’. In Teatro español contemporàneo: autores y tendendcias, eds. Alfonso de Toro and Wilfried Floeck, pp. 125-46. Kassel, Reichenberger (in Spanish)

Useful readings and websites
  • O’Connor, Patricia. 1990. ‘Women Playwrights in Contemporary Spain and the Male-Dominated Canon’, Signs, 15.2, 376-90

Entry written by Gwynneth Dowling. Last updated on 14 February 2011.

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