Fall Drama Review
“The House of Bernarda Alba” is this fall’s theater production at George Fox. The play was written in 1936 by Spanish dramatist Frederico Garcia Lorca to critique the rise of fascism. It is a drama about village women in Spain at that time, and explores the ideas of conformity, passion, rebellion, and sexual tension.
The play centers on the lives of a widow and her five daughters as they mourn the loss of their husband and father. The mother commands her daughters to enter into mourning for eight years, keeping any of them from leaving the house. However, when a handsome young man appears, the sisters begin to rebel against their mother and each other. The play ends in tragedy as the family turns in on itself.
The actresses in this play did a very convincing job of becoming the characters. What was particularly interesting was the deliberate lack of any male characters, although the plot centers on one man’s effect on the family. Trinya Murray, playing Bernada Alba, came across as a cruel, hard-hearted mother. She never strayed from the strict matronly figure, even when her daughters pleaded with her to have compassion. Murray was very commanding in this role.
Alyssa Rands, who played the youngest daughter Adela, was a fitting naïve girl who becomes tortured in her rebellion toward her family. Brooke Flood, though not a main character, played Magdalena and did well creating a humorous contrast to the heavy drama of the plot. The arguing and dismal atmosphere was heavy at times, and Flood was successful and versatile in her part.
The entire play occurs during the mourning period, and the costumes are all black dresses. The dress is typical of the era, modest full-skirted black dresses. The green dress worn by Adela was the only noticeable change, representing her rebellion from her mother’s power. The costume was well-crafted to show the flamboyant contrast to her mourning dress.
The set was very well constructed. Though simple, it was convincingly replicated to show a typical home of the era. The architecture looked very realistic, and the wood was very lifelike. The arches underneath the stairs featured an iron fence that perfectly provided a walkway and view to the street, while still being understated.
The end of the play was very moving and unanticipated. The image of the dress falling from the ceiling to represent the death of Adela was heart-wrenching, and the emotions of the actresses following the tragedy were very convincing.
Though simple in cast and costume, this play highlighted emotion and was a touching experience. The actresses were very convincing in their actions toward each other and seemed natural. The surprising end left the audience in shock and left much to think about.