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Remembering Why Women Empowerment: Dulaang UP’s 'The House Of Bernarda Alba'

Dulaang UP’s ‘The House of Bernarda Alba’ is a wonderfully and effectively staged staged drama, and a timely reminder of why we need women empowerment

In the midst of all the media buzz surrounding the big musicals being staged in various Makati venues; it’s good to be reminded about the power of dramas, and how good, tight directing can produce ensemble work of a high order. The traffic one endures to originate from the south and reach UP Diliman can be formidable, but expect to be amply rewarded when one catches Dulaang UP’s Ang Tahanan ni Bernarda Alba.


As is the custom with DUP stagings, the company will perform in both English and Pilipino, seeking out works that have quality translations in said versions. The House of Bernarda Alba is written by the great 20th century Spanish poet and dramatist Federico Garcia Lorca. With a life cut short at 38 years of age when he was classified as a dangerous intellectual and assassinated by Franco forces in 1936; Lorca is credited with having resurrected and revitalized the most basic strains of Spanish poetry and theatre. This he accomplished in the scant 19 years of his career. 







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Five days left! The House of / Ang Tahanan ni Bernarda Alba
 by Federico Garcia Lorca Bernarda Alba, a domineering matriarch who imposes an eight-year mourning period on her household after her second husband’s death in accordance with her family’s tradition. Bernarda has five daughters aged between 20 to 39, whom she has controlled inexorably and forbids them from any form of relationship. The mourning period further isolates the family and builds the tension within the household as the daughters rival against each other on marriage, inheritance and command. The show will run from September 6 to 29, 2019 at the Wilfrido Ma. Guerrero Theater, 2nd floor, Palma Hall, UP Diliman, Quezon City. Direction and Filipino translation by Alexander C. Cortez
English translation by Daisy Lopez
Dramaturgy by Judy Ick
Production Design by Gino Gonzales
Sound Design by Jethro Joaquin
Light Design by D. Cortezano
Choreography by Jm Cabling
Music by Katz Jakosalem Trangco
Photography by Jojit Lorenzo
Graphics by Steven Tansiongco
Assistant Director Joy Cerro
Technical Director Arnel Paguyo
Stage Manager Camilo P. De Guzman
Production Manager Jamee Stevana Vega Starring: Frances Makil Ignacio, Gigi Escalante, Stella Cañete Balucas Mendoza, Sheryll Villamor Ceasico, Rica Nepomuceno, Ronnie Martinez, Paulina Maxine Ignacio, Sarina Sasaki, Opaline Santos, Liway Gabo, Gel Basa, Iris Montesclaros, Mikaella Coruña, Camille Abaya, Jacqueline Amper, Lei Ann Oro Quinquilleria, Bea Racoma, Ani Africa, Jeremy Bravo Cabansag, Ana Isabela Lumain, Marjeorie Peleño and Marga Lugue ENGLISH SHOWS: Sept. 06 - 7pm Sept. 07 - 3pm & 7pm
 Sept. 08 - 3pm & 7pm Sept. 21 - 3pm Sept. 22 - 7pm Sept. 27 - 7pm Sept. 28 - 7pm 
Sept. 29 - 3pm FILIPINO SHOWS:
 Sept. 13 - 7pm
 Sept. 14 - 3pm & 7pm Sept. 15 - 3pm & 7pm 
Sept. 20 - 7pm Sept. 21 - 7pm Sept. 22 - 3pm Sept. 28 - 3pm Sept. 29 - 7pm Get your tickets conveniently and securely thru Ticket2Me by clicking this link:
https://www.ticket2me.net/e/3172/BernardaAlba For more information, please do not hesitate to contact our marketing manager, Nico Varona at 09175198879 or at dupbernardaalbamarketing@gmail.com. Thank you and hope t

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Bernarda Alba is the last play written by Lorca before his untimely death. Subtitled as “a drama of women in the villages of Spain,” it’s set in a rural village during a time of mourning of a well-regarded local family. At the tragedy’s center is the matriarch, twice-married and new widow Bernarda Alba (aged 60), who has her family of five daughters in a vise grip of dominion and control. The daughters range in age from 39 (Angustias) down to 20 (Adela). There’s also the trusted housekeeper, La Poncia, and Bernarda’s eccentric elderly mother, living in the house. 


As can be noted, it’s a cast solely comprised of women. And while men definitely impinge on the lives of these women, they’re purposely kept off-stage to heighten the sexual tension, and more effectively explore the themes of repression, passion and conformity. The wonder of works such as Bernarda Alba is how it may have originally been set in a ranch home in Andalusia in the 1930’s; but the concept of a tyrannical matriarch smothering her daughters in the name of public opinion and neighborhood gossip is as real in Spain as it is in Manila, Bacolod, or Davao.


The uneasy laughter, and involuntary exclamations from the audience is one of recognition—the scenes on the stage perhaps painfully evoking memories of one’s Lola, or one’s mother. Frances Makil Ignacio and Gigi Escalante alternate in the title role of Bernarda Alba, and it’s a role any actress of a certain age would literally kill for, and stamp their own attack and approach. On the night I watched, it was the imperious Gigi Escalante, physically leading with her stomach, as she moved around the stage—practically waddling like some Mother Goose, but doing so with a manner and voice that spoke volumes about who was in control.







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"Just arrived from a most exhilirating ‘date’ at the UP Wilfrido Ma. Guerrero Theater - a rehearsal ‘preview’ of ‘The House of Bernarda Alba’ directed by Dr. Alex Cortez. Tonight’s performance is riveting as it builds up to a powerful gut wrenching final scene hitting you with the full weight of the tyranny of repression. There are still rough edges ( it is a rehearsal!) - in the delivery of lines of some of the actors, a few notches more in ‘tension’ to convey the ‘hunger’ of the daughters for ‘freedom’ is desired, so is some parsimony in movements in a few scenes; the lighting( as warned) - is yet to be finessed... but all in all .. it was powerful. To think it was just a rehearsal! The state in the family? the family as the state? The regular run begins on the first week of September! Go see it!" - Review by Atty. Marilyn Barua Yap during the first preview, last August 26, 2019. THE HOUSE OF/ANG TAHANAN NI BERNARDA ALBA By Federico Garcia Lorca Direction and Filipino Translation: Alexander Cortez English Translation: Daisy Lopez September 6-29, 2019 Wilfrido Ma. Guerrero Theater 2nd. floor, Palma Hall, UP Diliman. ENGLISH SHOWS: Sept. 06 - 7pm Sept. 07 - 3pm & 7pm Sept. 08 - 3pm & 7pm Sept. 21 - 3pm Sept. 22 - 7pm Sept. 27 - 7pm Sept. 28 - 7pm Sept. 29 - 3pm FILIPINO SHOWS: Sept. 13 - 7pm Sept. 14 - 3pm & 7pm Sept. 15 - 3pm & 7pm Sept. 20 - 7pm Sept. 21 - 7pm Sept. 22 - 3pm Sept. 28 - 3pm Sept. 29 - 7pm Get your tickets conveniently and securely thru Ticket2Me by clicking this link: https://www.ticket2me.net/e/3172/BernardaAlba You may also buy your tickets at our booth near Room 3100, Pavilion 3, Palma Hall, UP Diliman, every weekdays, 8AM-5PM. For more information, please do not hesitate to contact our marketing manager, Nico Varona at 09175198879 or at dupbernardaalbamarketing@gmail.com. Thank you and hope to see you at the theater! #DUPBernardaAlba #DUP44Daluhong

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I knew nothing about this particular Lorca work, so it was the joy of discovery as the plot points revealed themselves—a sordid mess of sisters seeking escape via marriage, and finding release from repressed sexual desires through the one man brave enough to visit the house, even if under the shadow of malicious intent. How Bernarda discovers this, and what she resorts to upon finding out, make up the action of this drama.


Directed by Alexander Cortez, Bernarda Alba is a wonderful display of a director’s clear vision and intent, how an ensemble responds to said direction; and how a play dealing with seemingly staid and domestic matters elevates to one of high drama and everyday tragedy. Not to be missed, and there’s one more weekend of performances.


The House of Bernarda Alba is running from September 6 to 29 at the Wilfrido Ma. Guerrero Theater, 2F Palma, UP Diliman, Quezon City. Tickets are available here.


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