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U.Va Drama Department Launches 2003-2004 Season with the Compelling
“The House of Bernarda Alba”

September 25, 2003 -- “The House of Bernarda Alb”a kicks off the U.Va Drama Department’s 2003-2004 season with flavorings of a distant—yet resonant—cultural dilemma. In this translation of Federico Garcia Lorca’s touching drama, audiences are brought back to turn-of-the-century Spain to realize the emotional experience of its socially repressed women. Running Oct. 2-4 and 7-10 in the Culbreth Theatre at 8 p.m., this production probes historic societal attitudes that the modern American theatergoer must continue to confront.

Completed in 1936, just months before Lorca’s death, “The House of Bernarda Alba” is the renowned playwright’s final work. This powerful drama depicts a recently widowed woman, Bernarda, who confines her daughters to their rural Spanish home for an oppressive eight-year mourning period. By honoring the community’s religious tradition, the tyrannical Bernarda—portrayed by M.F.A. candidate in acting Maura Malloy-- incites dangerous psychological tensions within her family, finally building to a dramatic climax. The all-female cast, which includes Howell Draper, Erin Stewart, Moira Fogarty, Anne Holt, Nadia Sepsenwol, and Megan Bengur, explores the emotional dynamics of a family wrenched apart by society’s sexual taboos.

This gripping play, which was not produced until 1945, has been hailed a tour de force of the modern theatre. Lorca himself has become the most translated Spanish writer in history, whose works are distinguished by their deep cultural consciousness and poetic impulse. “The House of Bernarda Alba”, his final play, closely examines the repercussions of Bernarda’s domineering control of her five daughters, who struggle to balance local customs with their desire for personal freedom. When Adela, the youngest, falls in love with her oldest sister’s fiancée, the entire household must defend and challenge their notions of female independence. Ultimately, these concerns thrust the Alba women into a startling moral—and mortal—crisis, which poses to cause irreparable harm.

J. Murphy Mason, an M.F.A. candidate in directing, heads this moving production. Last year she directed “Something Made Up”, a new play by Chicago playwright Barrie Cole, and Tennessee Williams’ “The Night of the Iguana” in the Helms Theatre.

“This play explores the deterioration of humanity when a people are oppressed,” Murphy said. “In Alba,” Lorca pits desire against codes of conduct, and youth against tradition. He questions society’s acceptance of the mores by which we live, and dares us to evaluate our own culpability.”

Tickets for “The House of Bernarda Alba” are $12 for adults, $10 for seniors and $7 for students; full-time U.Va students can use their ART$ Dollars to purchase tickets. Season tickets are also available. For more information, call the Drama Department Box Office at (434) 924-3376. The box office is open from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Contact: James Scales, (434) 982-5279

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Contact the Office of University Relations at (434) 924-7116. Television reporters should contact the TV News Office at (434) 924-7550.

SOURCE: U.Va. News Services


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