United Players of Vancouver

Another Part of the House

by Migdalia Cruz

Jericho Arts Centre

February 20-March 1



Ed Farolan

Young director Bobby Garcia, who is doing his MFA at UBC, put on an interesting staging of Migdalia Cruz’s adaptation of Federico Garcia Lorca’s House of Bernarda Alba. I spoke to United Players’ Artistic Director, Andree Karas, before last February 20th’s show, and she said that Lorca’s play was originally slated for production. However, when Bobby Garcia presented her this adaptation, she liked it better. Garcia who has directed Film, Television and Theatre in both Asia and the USA was impressed by this adaptation which he saw in LA, and brought it to the attention of Karas to premiere here in Canada.

Migdalia Cruz, who was born and raised in the Bronx, New York, has written over 28 plays which were produced in the USA and abroad. What she has done with Lorca’s La Casa de Bernarda Alba is enhanced the play by adding other aspects of Lorca’s output, particularly his poetry, music and puppetry. In one scene, Adela is in green and she sings Lorca’s popular poem “Verde que te quiero verde”. In another scene, she incorporates puppetry, and Director Garcia goes one step further and uses the Bali shadow-play technique in doing it in this adaptation. Cruz also sets her adaptation in 1895 Cuba bringing in the revolutionary leadership and death of Cuba’s national poet and hero, Jose Marti, who wrote the popular lyrics of the song Guantanamera.

I was impressed particularly by the creative mise-en-scene which Bobby Garcia put on: a donut-like stage platform where the actors walked, sat and slept on; the “Venetian” blinds that protected them from the hot Cuban or Andalusian “lead” sun; the Brechtian approach where actors sat on the sidelines while waiting for their cue to go on stage; the scene outside the house, in the garden of dust (and you could see real dust) and wilted flowers, where Adela did many of her scenes; and finally, the deaths of Maria Josefa and Adela which happened on scene as opposed to the more traditional Aristotelian off-scene deaths in the original Lorca play. Cruz again in her adaptation goes further and gets Maria Josefa and Adela resurrected at the he play’s conclusion putting in the message of women’s liberation from repression which reflects the main theme of the Lorca play. Garcia’s use of of bright spotlighting on both these women in the last scene to convey this message was commendable, and an almost full house appreciated this production with their warm applause.

United Players has published their line up of ther 1998/99 season in the February issue of Playboard: The Rover, by Aphra Behn (Sept. 11-Oct. 4), The Sisters Rosensweig by Wendy Wasserstein (Nov. 13-Dec. 6), The Herbal Bed by Peter Whelan (Feb. 5-28), Shadowlands by William Nicholson (Apr. 2-26), and The Frogs by Aristophanes (June 4-27).

The 1997/98 season ends with 2 more plays: An Ideal Husband by Oscar Wilde (April 3-26), and Electra by Sophocles (June 5-28). For more information , phone 224-8007.


Copyright Ed Farolan. 1998