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  • Writer's pictureKimberly Laberge

West Allis takes Spain to Verona

Originally written as La Casa de Bernarda Alba by Federico García Lorca, director Erico Ortiz is bringing his fresh one-act translation of the Spanish drama to the American stage; first, at the Village Playhouse in West Allis, and then off to the 2019 Wisconsin AACTFest in Verona, Wisconsin.

AACT, or the American Association of Community Theatre, hosts a biannual competition for area companies to bring one act productions before a panel of expert adjudicators. The adjudicators provide intricate insights on the performance, and selected pieces continue on to perform regionally, nationally, and even internationally. The House of Bernarda Alba squeaks in just underneath the one hour time limit. It is dense with content, due to being boiled down from a three-act play, having debuted in April.

Following the death of her husband, Bernarda Alba's five daughters are itching more than ever to escape the confines of the home and step into the roles of wives and mistresses themselves. When a man comes to ask for Angustias's hand in marriage, new sibling rivalries and resentments form, and secrets run rampant.

Judy Pirelli-Wambach and Anne Gorski.

Anne Gorski is a formidable force as matriarch and title character Bernarda. The cane she carries is no crutch, but rather a scepter, a manifestation of her power and position. Gorski subtly reveals Bernarda's underlying insecurity throughout the performance. Her desperation to maintain control masks a greater fear that she has already lost that battle.

Jackie Benka, Bividiana Murguia, and Caroline Miller.

Adela (Bividiana Murguia), the youngest and most free-willed of the daughters, provides a strong source of life in the play. While others are in mourning, she puts on a green dress and dances for the hens (and the boys) outside. As the play progresses, Murguia grows Adela from her girlish tendencies to a more destructive naiveté. She follows her desires without consideration of the harsh realities of her circumstances. Murguia brings all of the hope that audiences feel for change in the Alba house, and despair for what remains to be true.

The company of The House of Bernarda Alba.

"[The House of Bernarda Alba] is not a 'feel good' play," says director Erico Ortiz. It is, however, a juicy taste of Spanish drama, and a first foray into the works of Federico García Lorca for English-speaking audiences. This limited run, raising funds for the AACTFest trip, closes at 2:00 on January 6th.


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