Auditions for a play at The Edge Center in Bigfork will be on August 19 and 20 4:30 to 7:00PM. The play is “The House of Bernarda Alba” written by Federico Garcia Lorca in 1936 and is this poet’s most performed play. The story is about women living under the iron fist of the family matriarch, Bernarda, and is set in Spain in the original. An updated version done in London’s Almeida Theater moves the play setting from rural Spain in the 1930’s to rural Iran right after the revolution in Iran in 1988. The Almeida’s setting is the one being performed in Bigfork later this year.
There is a need for 10 women for speaking roles and twenty women for non-speaking roles. The EdgeWild Players invite anyone who would like a chance to be in the play to try out…especially if you’ve toyed with the idea of being onstage and would just like to see what it like without having to say a word. The finished play will be performed on November 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, but the auditions are coming Monday and Tuesday, so please come and see what is going on. Above cast and Shohreh Aghdashloo (Bernarda Alba). Photo Johan Persson
To find out what this is all about here are nine questions answered by Patricia Feld (above), who is the Director of this play and the Artistic Director for The Edge Center.
What is a brief history of this play and its change to a modern setting?
“As said earlier, Federico Garcia Lorca wrote this play in 1936, completing, what has been called his rural trilogy. “Blood Wedding” and “Yerma” were the other two in the group, but this one is his most performed work. Emily Mann adapted the play in 2012 to a modern setting of contemporary Iran. The new version lets audiences appreciate and sympathize with oppression even within a household. The play’s powerful dialogue translates well over the years to still move an audience’s emotions. The revised play opened in London’s Almeida Theatre last year.” Below Vintage photo of Minerva Mena in La casa de Bernarda Alba.
Why is this production being done at The Edge Center?
“After doing a comedy last November last year and again in April of this year, I felt that the audience could appreciate a drama that examines universal themes of honor, status, secrecy, freedom and passion. In this story of a family, we are also seeing the story of a state where power is held not shared, where individuals are ruled not respected, where change is too threatening to contemplate.”
What does it provide to the community?
“Our community’s audiences will have the opportunity to experience the power of the dramatic art to excite the mind, challenge stereotypes, and enrich our hearts.”
What will the performers bring away from the experience?
“Our community’s artists will interpret a great work of world literature, immerse themselves in a foreign culture, and act, design, build and run a high quality theatre experience.”
Why should they want to participate?
“Doing community theatre is one of the best ways to have fun with like-minded people. It is a team sport with cooperation and collaboration not competition. And for the 20 women with non-speaking roles, it’s a great way to “get their feet wet” in community theatre (costumes, lights, make-up, six rehearsals, three performances (plus a great cast and crew party!)”
What will the challenges be?
“This will be the first play done at The Edge that involves the actors improvising during rehearsals in order to get the Alba family’s shared “back story”. These are the incidents that every family has and affects their future interactions.” Below Asmina Daniel (Amina). Photo Johan Persson
How successful has the new version been elsewhere?
“The Edge Center will be the first Minnesota production of this play to use the modern day Iranian setting. It might even be the first in the U.S. I’m trying to find out.”
Who are the characters in the play?
“Needed are ten speaking roles and twenty non-speaking. Ten women needed to play the speaking roles are for Bernarda age 60; her mother age 80; her daughter’s ages 39, 30, 27, 24, & 20; two maids 50 & 60; and Farzaneh, a neighbor around 50. Non-speaking roles: what are we looking for in candidates? They have to women of ANY age! And they don’t have to audition. Just call me 218-743-3118. They’re on stage for one scene, very early on, and they can go home after their scene has rehearsed or been performed if they wish. They are also welcome to stay and watch the rest. And of course they get to come to the Cast and Crew and Significant Others Potluck at my house after the last show!” Below Amanda Hale (Elmira), Seline Hizli (Anahita), Sarah Solemani (Maryam) and Pandora Colin (Asieh). Photo Johan Persson.
How much of a time commitment will be necessary for the various characters?
“We plan our rehearsals around the work, school, and family lives of the actors until “tech week.” There will be 6 techs in the final 8 days before the opening, and all the actors need to rehearse the whole show together then. There will be a full run through, and each rehearsal will add another technical element; props, set, lights, costumes, make-up and a final dress rehearsal.” Below Shohreh Aghdashloo (Bernarda Alba) and cast Photo Johan Persson
So, if all of this has piqued your interest, why not show up during one of the auditions and see what is going on?