Kate Herbert is theatre reviewer, Herald Sun, Melbourne & formerly for Melbourne Times. Kate is a director & produced playwright (20 plays). Scripts published by Currency Press. She worked as an actor, comedian, improviser & teacher of Acting, Improvisation & Playwriting. Kate is currently Convenor of Professional Writing & Editing, Swinburne University. Read her reviews here or at: www.heraldsun.com.au/entertainment/arts. NB Explorer Browser doesn't always work on blog.
Saturday, 1 June 2002
Casa d'Alba, June 1, 2002
By Federico Garcia Lorca School of Drama, Victorian College of the Arts Studio 45
Sturt St June 1 to 11, 2002
Lorca's play, Casa d'Alba (The
House of Bernarda Alba) is written for six older women. This makes it all the
more extraordinary that this production is so very successful. All six actors
are very young graduating actors from Victorian College of the Arts.
Playing so far above
one's age is difficult for professional actors but the exceptionally stylish
and tasteful direction by Tanya Gerstle brings out a maturity and passion in
these women that is inspiring.
the stillness, silence, the heat and sexual frustration of the women in Bernarda
Alba's house. She weaves amongst
Lorca's dialogue, snatches of exotic flamenco and abstracted movement.
The production is
beautiful both aesthetically and dramatically. The huge warehouse, designed by
Danielle Harrison, replicates a
stone courtyard with distressed stone wall at the rear.
The whole is steeped
in sepia tones enhanced by warm lighting ( Michael Jankie that seeps through peepholes to the
outside world.Under the voices
lies an evocative soundscape by Jacqueline Grenfell.
The story takes lace
after the death of Bernarda's husband. She incarcerates her four adult but
unmarried daughters in her Spanish home.
Angustias(Shelley Krape) is to marry the raffish young Pepe le Romero,.Adela, (Ming-Zhu Hii), the youngest sister, is already Pepe's secret lover.
Yet another love-starved
sister, Martiro,( Karissa Lane) is infatuated with Pepe, the man we
A calmer fourth
sister, Magdalena, ( Suzannah McDonald) and an old servant, Poncia, (Anica Koprivec) watch the tragedy
unfold.The stage is infused
with sexual repression and sexuality.
The performances are
strong from all six women. However, Melissa Chambers) as Bernarda is
exceptional. She plays the matriarch with composure and stateliness and a powerful
vocal and physical quality.
McDonald is engaging
and versatile as both Magdalena and the mad grandmother. Koprivec plays the
wise servant with great humour and earthiness.
This is a delightful
production of a passionate and provocative play.