The Valparaiso University Department of Theatre will be performing Federico Garcia Lorca’s masterpiece “The House of Bernarda Alba.” Although originally written in Spanish and set in Spain, Valpo will modernize the classic using a new adaptation by Emily Mann and setting the action in the present-day, rural Iran.
The play opens Nov. 7 in the University Theatre at the Center for the Arts and runs through Nov. 11. Performances on Nov. 7, 8, 9 will be at 8 p.m. and Nov. 10 and 11 will be at 2 p.m.
Students will have the unique chance to work with theatre artists from the Chicago-based theatre group Silk Road Rising, who have collaborated in the past with both the Department of Theatre and the Graduate School at Valpo, and are now involved with this production. In the last week of November, the show will extend beyond the Valpo community with performances at the Silk Road Rising’s Chicago venue at 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 28 and 29.
“This classic play poses an artistic challenge that is relevant to students,” said director Lee Orchard, chair of the Department of Theatre. “The exploration of the theme of tyranny versus freedom is particularly relevant with what is going on politically — with regard to power and money — both nationally and internationally.”
The play begins after the death of Bernarda Alba’s second husband. Alba demands that her household mourn the death for eight years. However, the five daughters quickly become entranced with the eldest daughter’s handsome fiancÃ©, Parviz Rumani. As the decision to wed the eldest daughter is a strictly financial one, the youngest daughter is the one who steals the heart of the young man. When the truth inevitably comes out, Bernarda Alba must try to maintain control — with tragic consequences.
It is rare that Valparaiso University produces a play where its cast is comprised of all strong female roles. This provides an opportunity to showcase a particular portion of the department’s population. In addition, all the designs for the play were done by Valpo students, supervised by faculty: set design, junior Sara Hill; lighting design, sophomore Renee Eisenhour; and costume design, senior Becca Shelor. The production will be a participating entry in the American College Theatre Festival.
Tickets for Valpo performances are $15 for adults and $10 for senior citizens and non-Valpo students. Admission is free for Valpo students, faculty, and staff with ID card. Visit valpo.edu/TheArts or call 219-464-5162 for more information and to purchase tickets.