Seton Hill production of 'The House of Bernarda Alba' designed to give pause
By Candy Williams
Published: 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.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Analysis: Steelers could fill needs with free agents while not spending big bucks
- Steelers to release LaMarr Woodley; Taylor restructures contract
- Crosby lifts Penguins over Capitals in last game of road trip
- Stage volunteer dies following collapse at Pine-Richland High School
- Supreme Court ruling to affect few bicycle trails in Pennsylvania
- Top pitching prospect Taillon’s time with Pirates must wait a bit
- Missing hikers found in McConnells Mill State Park
- Fear of building collapse closes Tarentum road
- Hempfield couple charged in thefts
- Penguins notebook: Heralded Russian Evgeny Kuznetsov debuts with Capitals
- Pirates notebook: Martin finding power stroke