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A spanish family tragedy

Seniors Jenna Rubaii, Grace Douglas, Sara Gordon, and Valerie Roche share the stage during the first act of The House of Bernarda Alba. Ashley McKevitt//The Miami Hurricane

Five daughters under the control of their oppressive mother challenge tradition and test the limits of youthful rebellion. Does this sound familiar?

No, it’s not the latest TV show or film, it’s Federico Garcia Lorca’s “The House of Bernada Alba,” considered the greatest Spanish tragedy of the 20th century. In a professional collaboration with the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, UM’s Department of Theatre Arts will be producing a new translation of the play by Karen Coonrod and Nilo Cruz. The show is directed by Henry Fonte, chair of the theatre department.

“I loved and am loving directing ‘Bernada Alba,’” Fonte said. “It’s an emotional work of theatre that will attract audiences, especially younger people.”

Even though the play is set in the 1930s, much of the appeal of “Bernada Alba” comes from its contemporary themes.
“Headlines are always showing stories about domestic issues,” Fonte said. “The struggles of 1936 speak to today’s problems, which makes the play good.”

But the play’s effectiveness also has to do with the creative process. A successful production requires teamwork among actors, designers and management. Although UM faculty and students worked on much of the design, the students performed alongside Arsht Center union members.

“This experience has been absolutely amazing,” senior Sara Gordon said. “Watching the professional actresses work and being able to work with them has been eye-opening.”

Gordon plays Prudencia, Bernada’s friend who essentially waits for her to mess up, or, as Gordon called her, a “frenemy.” Through this role, Gordon has gained valuable insight about the acting process and the business end of theatre. Her role in the show prepared her to go to New York after graduation.

“Working on a professional stage has been so exciting and fulfilling,” Gordon said. “I enjoy my time onstage with my friends.”

Rehearsals at the Ring Theatre lasted six weeks, while the last two weeks were spent in the Arsht. Throughout the process, Cruz would visit rehearsals and discuss the play’s vision with Fonte.

“[Cruz] was always in constant touch with the translation,” Fonte said.

A story of jealousy, fear and beauty all within the backdrop of the Spanish Civil War, Bernada Alba will offer something for first-time theatre goers and experienced veterans as well.

“I am excited to see the new translation and how it illuminates and heightens poetic elements,” theatre arts lecturer Patricia Dolan said. “It’s Bernada Alba through a new lens.”

The Florida premiere of Bernada Alba had its final dress rehearsal on Wednesday. The show will be open to the general public starting Thursday until Oct. 30. General admission tickets and times are available online at arshtcenter.org, or at the Arsht box office for $40.

Rehearsals at the Ring Theatre lasted six weeks, while the last two weeks were spent in the Arsht. Throughout the process, Cruz would visit rehearsals and discuss the play’s vision with Fonte.

“[Cruz] was always in constant touch with the translation,” Fonte said.

A story of jealousy, fear and beauty all within the backdrop of the Spanish Civil War, Bernada Alba will offer something for first-time theatre goers and experienced veterans as well.

“I am excited to see the new translation and how it illuminates and heightens poetic elements,” theatre arts lecturer Patricia Dolan said. “It’s Bernada Alba through a new lens.”

The Florida premiere of Bernada Alba had its final dress rehearsal on Wednesday. The show will be open to the general public starting Thursday until Oct. 30. General admission tickets and times are available online at arshtcenter.org, or at the Arsht box office for $40.

The Arsht offers a Half-Off Ticket (H.O.T.) promotion for full-time students. To participate, students must present a current photo ID at the box office window on the same day of the performance. This is only valid for select “Adrienne Arsht Center Presents” shows and is subject to availability.

October 12, 2011

Reporters

Alexander Gonzalez

Assistant Editor


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