THE HOUSE OF BERNARDA ALBA

Angustias, Magdalena, Amelia, Martirio, Adela. The five daughters of Bernarda Alba have been sentenced to eight years of seclusion, mourning the recent death of their father. But erotic intrigues and exquisite longings cannot be contained in a house of cloistered daughters. These youthful, unmarried women are not to be held back, and each cultivates her own avenue of escape from the literal to the imagined. A poetic drama by Federico García Lorca, one of the 20th century's greatest dramatists, permeates this tragic masterpiece of matriarchal despotism. This new adaptation by Chay Yew was nominated for Outstanding Adaptation by the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle. 

PRODUCTION INFO

This adaptation of The House of Bernarda Alba was first presented at the National Asian American Theatre Company in New York on December 6, 2000. It was directed by Chay Yew.

Maria Josefa: Gusti Bogard

Poncia: Kati Kuroda

Blanca: Michi Barall

Beggar Woman: Jo Yang

Bernarda Alba: Ching Valdes-Aran

Adela: Eunice Wong

Angustias: Natsuko Ohama

Amelia: Julienne Kim

Martirio: Julyana Soelistyo

Magdalena: Sophia Morae

Prudencia: Jo Yang

The production was revived by National Asian American Theatre Company in New York on June 1, 2007. 

Maria Josefa: Mia Katigbak

Poncia: Kati Kuroda

Blanca: Sophia Skiles

Beggar Woman: Jeanne Sakata

Bernarda Alba: Ching Valdes-Aran

Adela: Ali Ahn

Angustias: Natsuko Ohama

Amelia: Sue Jean Kim

Martirio: Carmen M. Herlihy

Magdalena: Maile Holck

Prudencia: Jeanne Sakata

The House of Bernarda Alba was presented by Center Theatre Group / Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles on July 14, 2002. It was directed by Lisa Peterson.

Maria Josefa: Tsai Chin

Poncia: Camille Saviola

Blanca: Shaheen Vaaz

Beggar Woman: Jeanne Sakata

Bernarda Alba: Chita Rivera

Adela: Sandra Oh

Angustias: Marissa Chibas

Amelia: Lydia Look

Martirio: Rita Wolf

Magdalena: Eileen Galindo

Prudencia: Jeanne Sakata

REVIEW QUOTES

Spare yet unsparing... Yew has been smart about handling Lorca's text. For the most part, Yew's work is a loose translation of the play; there aren't any structural changes to the piece, but the language has been modernized to avoid the stiffness of the "authorized" translations. What Yew has done most successfully of all is to clarify the thematic elements of the play - this is where he has most "adapted" the work as opposed to translating it. To Yew. the play is clearly about how the oppressed can so easily become the oppressor. And yet, despite this crisp focus, the adaptation remains a faithful one. In a bolder choice, Yew also seeks to give the tyrannical title character a bit of a soul, allowing her a tragic epiphany that undoes Lorca's intentional depiction of the coldest of characters, who can repress even the most intense of feelings. A clear-eyed adaptation." - Daily Variety

"[Bernarda] comes alive. Yew's text is not only more lyrical but more explicit than the authorized English translation by Richard L. O'Connell and James Graham-Luján. The daughters' personalities are individuated more fully, with on even becoming a budding, book-taught - albeit ineffective - feminist. Yew's text also enables Rivera to express a human pang of sentiment, missing from the authorized translation, about the fate of her youngest and most rebellious daughter. This Bernarda is not a witch." - Los Angeles Times. 

"A triumph... visually beautiful, viscerally compelling, theatrically thrilling... adapter Chay Yew has added his own touches to Federico García Lorca's classic without disturbing the integrity of Lorca's vision or diluting the lyricism of Lorca's distinctive voice." - Back Stage

"Chay Yew has adapted this piece into an almost Sophocles-like lyrical formality. Without so many of the usual trappings of place and history, the images in Bernarda Alba become starker and more profound. [The play], as reworked here, is profound, many-layered and moving. The bleak view of the world of women echoes into more modern life as a debate between self-control and self-expression, between pride and human connection, and as such becomes significantly timeless." - Pasadena Star News

"[A] new and intense adaptation... Yew's version includes more attention to minor characters, an overt sexuality and more lyrical dialogue." - Downtown News

"[An] arresting adaptation... Yew has made Lorca's beautiful but sometimes unplayable work sing with a dulcet new freedom of expression, amplified by placing the setting somewhere between Spain and the Philippines. Fresh and innovative... Chay Yew's gloriously unfettered adaptation is the true star of this presentation." - Entertainment Today 

"Chay Yew's adaptation is a vigorous Latin-Pacific fusion that retains the plays' repressive gravity while leavening with bawdy laghter. Yew spotlights some of the minor characters and stresses each daughter's personalities, while resisting any urges to thoroughly modernize the period's language or outlook." - LA Weekly

"Chay Yew adapts Lorca's tragedy of repression and desire, refining it into a terse and elegant one-act." - Village Voice

"A bold new adaptation by Chay Yew... provides Rivera with an additional opportunity, unimagined by García Lorca, to show the vulnerability of Bernarda." - Art Voice

"Chay Yew's taut reimagining of the erotic intrigues and longings in a house of cloistered daughters and their maternal jailer is indelible in its intensity." - Variety

"Chay Yew brings new life to Lorca's House of Bernarda Alba. [He] has taken this unwieldy, oppressive 1936 masterwork, which can be such theatrical heavy weather, and transformed it into something utterly fresh and real." New York Blade

"Honoring this classical treasure with the stature it deserves... Yew's adaptation, gently contemporized but exceedingly faithful, gets under way, it is Lorca's essential Andalusian sensibility that permeates throughout. Perhaps the end-product reveals a more universal Lorca, but it remains his "Spanish Earth" that we can practically taste. Beautifully realized." - CurtainUp 

"Chay Yew's new adaptation infuses an energetic roughness into this traditional piece. This 90-minute tragedy is a transcendent experience in two cultures that is not to be missed.

- OffOffOff.com

"In his new adaptation, Chay Yew takes the original work by Spanish poet and playwright Federico García Lorca and makes the text more lyrical than Lorca originally intended, giving it the feel of Lorca's other two great plays, Blood Wedding and Yerma... with more relevance to the plight of women than one might expect." (Back Stage)

"Both Lorca and Yew have stated they felt like outsiders, but the women are insiders, virtual prisoners in their mother's claustrophobic house. Yew has managed to make the language simultaneously realistic and poetic. The intensity builds unbroken from beginning to end." - Claremont Courier 


 

ARCHIVE

"House Feels Like A Home: At last working on the Taper mainstage, playwright Chay Yew recognized the thwarted women of Bernarda Alba" - Backstage

"Classics In A New Context: Outside Voices Are Finding Mainstream Exposure When They Put Their Stamp On Works From The Canon" - Los Angeles Times

"The House of Yew"  - TheatreMania

"Where Do We Go From Here" - Performances 

Los Angeles Reviews

New York Reviews

Bernarda program and fliers (New York)

PRODUCTION PHOTOS