| Home

Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Seton Hill production of 'The House of Bernarda Alba' designed to give pause

The cast of Seton Hill University's 'The House of Bernarda Alba' rehearse a scene. Credit: Seton Hill University

Email Newsletters

Sign up for one of our email newsletters.

‘The House of Bernarda Alba'

Presented by: Seton Hill University Theatre and Dance Program

When: Friday-Nov. 17 at 8 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays, 2 p.m. this Saturday and 10:30 a.m. Nov. 14

Admission: $16; student and group rates available

Where: William Granger Ryan Theatre, Performing Arts Center, 100 Harrison Ave., Greensburg

Details: 724-552-2929 or

Daily Photo Galleries

Thursday, Nov. 8, 2012, 8:53 p.m.

In “The House of Bernarda Alba,” listening to what the characters are not saying is almost more important than the dialogue, according to Lisa Ann Goldsmith, director of Seton Hill University's Theatre and Dance Program production.

The drama by Spanish playwright Federico Garcia Lorca, which opens this weekend in Greensburg, explores the repression of passion and the repression of women by society — and by other women. The all-female cast features Natalie Spanner of Bethel Park, a junior theater-performance major at Seton Hill, as Bernarda Alba, the mother of five grown women in Andalusia, Spain, during the 1930s.

“At the beginning of the play, she is widowed for the second time, and the audience witnesses her dealing with being the definitive matriarch of her household,” Spanner says. “She is a tough woman, authoritative and unyielding.”

Spanner says she has struggled to find sympathy for her character in all that she does to herself and to her family.

“The most difficult part of this play, for me, was finding and, then, using the ugliest parts of myself to bring truth to this character. Bernarda has been a hard woman to maneuver,” she says.

Anna McDunn of McCandless, a sophomore dance major, plays Angustias, the oldest of Alba's five daughters and the only child from her mother's first marriage. This, combined with the fact that both husbands left the majority of their inheritance to her, creates a great deal of tension between Angustias and her sisters.

“Tension evolves into outright animosity when the sisters learn of Angustias' engagement to a much younger and more eligible man,” McDunn says.

Emily Urbaniak of Pittsburgh portrays another daughter, Magdalena, and says the drama includes some intense moments and it should make people think.

“We can all relate to issues within a family, the bond of sisters, or friends, and how we interact with each other, but more importantly, the secrets we keep and what we try to hide from each other. I think that this play will make everyone reflect on their own relationships, especially the women who come to see the show,” Urbaniak says.

Goldsmith says one of her most important goals as director of the Seton Hill production is to help the young women in the play to understand how the repression of passion can have a profound effect on the soul. She hopes that audiences will take away “at least one concept that makes them each think, and pause, perhaps a little longer, the next time their words or actions affect more than just them.”

Candy Williams is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.



Show commenting policy

Most-Read Stories

  1. Decisions backfire in Steelers’ loss in Seattle
  2. Penn State coach fires offensive coordinator
  3. Marshall’s Fluhme Glam Bar hopes to take beauty concept nationwide
  4. French and Indian War re-enactor Wilson commits to pioneer lifestyle in Murrysville cabin
  5. Police charge New Florence man in St. Clair officer’s killing
  6. Woman found in Carrick died of multiple wounds, autopsy results say
  7. 24,000 hours of volunteer service, 112 debutantes add up to Pittsburgh’s 2015 Medallion Ball
  8. Auction watch: High-quality artwork highlights Dec. 5 sale in Regent Square
  9. North Allegheny 7th best school in national ranking, moves up 2 spots
  10. Baldwin Santa gets the reality-show treatment
  11. Sale of doll clothes to benefit Harrison library