We are so close to opening The House of Bernarda Alba!
It is always so strange to see a show fully teched after being with it from its beginning in a rehearsal studio. In our case, it seems to be a completely different show. The tangible house that traps Bernarda’s daughters is such an important physical element that it affects the actresses’ performances in every way. Throughout the rehearsal process, our director Ann spoke frequently about the material: the physical matter that the women of the play interact with (in this case, the props, the furniture, the set) as well as the bodies of the women in space themselves. We focused on the physical elements of the show as extensions of the women’s characters—the fans the sisters tout, the rags the maid uses to endlessly scrub the floor, or the threatening cane Bernarda wields. Finally being in the space with the incredible designs of our faculty has added even more nuance to the actresses’ performances.
I wrote about the Spanish dance flamenco in my last entry, but I could not leave it out of this post. After a talk by Fr. George Drance (who happens to be a flamenco expert), we have been incorporating not only the style of the dance into Lorca’s play, but the soul of it. Father Drance talked to us about cante jondo, the “deep song” that resonates under the surface of the dance. Our actresses have incorporated this concept of “deep song” into their performances, knowing that beneath every line lies a deep river of meaning and experience that the women of Bernarda Alba have kept inside them. This has ties to the concept of duende that Lorca infused into all of his work, “a heightened state of emotion, expression and authenticity.”
In my humble opinion, I truly believe our production overflows with duende. To see for yourself, buy tickets here!
A confrontation between Bernarda (Anna George) and Poncia (Clara Flaherty).