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Freedom And Marriage In 'The House Of Bernarda Alba'

Saint Mary of the Woods College presents Federico Garcia Lorca's The House of Bernarda Alba. Lorca describes the play as "a drama of women in the villages of Spain."

The play focuses on the house of the strict matriarch, Bernarda Alba, whose frustrated daughters long for freedom and marriage. The director of theater and drama at Saint Mary of the Woods, Sharon Ammen, spoke with WFIU's George Walker about the show.

A Student Assumes The Role Of Director

"The House of Bernarda Alba wasn't my choice of play," Ammen says. "We read it in class, and one of my students, senior Danielle O'Connor, was really taken by it. Frankly, the show doesn't play to my strengths as a director, so I was at first put off. But Danielle was so enthusiastic that I made her my first student to direct a full main stage show. Frankly, it's been wonderful . She is doing a terrific job and I couldn't be more proud of her."

An Ideal Fit, Accessorized

Although the play's all-female cast would seem to make it an ideal fit for Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, a women's college, it has some special opportunities and challenges beyond that. Ammen has come up with special ways to use the resources of the college and of the world of professional theater.

"It is true that it's an all-female cast, and we certainly have that at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods. But these are demanding roles. Fortunately, we did have just the right number of successful students at the casting call, so we had our basic cast of daughters."

For the title character, Ammen utilized other resources. "For both the show itself and the education process, I decided to bring in an old friend and colleague, Delia Taylor, to play the part of the mother Bernarda Alba. Delia is a wonderful actress and she works very well with the students. Her being on stage with them raises the level of everyone's performance."

Words And Music!

Ammen's use of the college's resources was not to the theater department. "Music Professor John McIntyre composed some original music for the production."

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