Last week I taught reflexivity to my Intro to Drama class, as part of our final lecture on the Spanish Golden Age. Reflexivity, you see, is self-consciousness and self-reflection. In this context, it is art that is aware of itself as art, and that draws our attention to itself as artifice. It is art that represents itself and its processes, like Don Quixote or Las Meninas.
The best way to explain this, I sometimes find, is the simplest: the grammatical route.
"What," I asked my students, "is a reflexive verb?" [Pause. Sporadic answers, some dead-on. Widespread perplexity.] "Look, who's seen ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT?"
And that's how I came to teach Velasquez and Calderon under the aegis of the immortal Tobias Funke.