The story begins shortly after the death of Bernarda Alba's second husband. She insists that her five daughters, the oldest the product of a previous marriage who was abused by her stepfather, mourn their father by wearing black and staying in the darkened shut up house. The young women chafe against the restraints in different ways. The oldest is being courted buy a handsome young man who is after her money, and some of her sisters are jealous or in love with him themselves, leading to division and tragedy. Also in the house is Bernarda's elderly mother Maria Josepha, whom she keeps a locked in her room as a way to deal with her dementia, but she keeps breaking out and wandering the house, talking about how she's going to get married and have babies. The 90-minute show is really more of a character study of these very different and complex women, as well as the women that serve them.
|Regina Marie Williams as Bernarda with Aimee K. Bryant|
as Poncia (photo by Dan Norman)
|sisters Meghan Kreidler, Stephanie Bertumen, Nora Montañez,|
Kate Beahen, and Britta Ollmann (photo by Dan Norman)
The score (by Michael John LaChiusa) is truly unique and effectively adds to the emotions of the story. There are several a capella sections, almost chanting or wailing. It all sounds gorgeous and flawless as performed by these ten talented women, with accompaniment by a five-piece off-stage band led by music director Jason Hansen (the Twin Cities Theater Bloggers' favorite music director for two years running),
Just when it seems like there are no new musicals, and companies keep producing the same ones ever and over again, something like Bernarda Alba comes along. Not only has this specific show never been produced in #TCTheater before, but it's a truly unique creation. It's no surprise that it's Theater Latte Da, masters of doing theater musically, who bring it to us. It's simply stunning. (Click here for more info and tickets.)
I'll leave you with a few words from the director:
So why here, and now? What can Lorca's words, about "women in the provinces of Spain," teach us about where we came from and where we came from and where we are? Lorca shows us that these truths have existed for nillennia all over the world. The isolation of Bernarda's house reminds us that some voices have been squashed for too long at a cost. My hope is that you will leave the theater emotionally affected by this cautionary tale, and yet simultaneously feel a sense of hope for how we can repair the damaging influences of the past.
|photo by Dan Norman|
*To learn more about this piece and the creators, you can attend Theater Latte Da's "Pin Spot" series, hosted by Max Wojtanowicz, on January 27 (it's free!).