I was so sad when an incident involving an angry duck, nine parking tickets, and an industrial size jar of mayonnaise made me miss KCDC’s original run of The House of Bernarda Alba a few months ago. I was obviously ecstatic when I found out they were bringing the show back for one night and one night only! I finally saw the show last night, but to be honest? It wasn’t what I was expecting at all and I was pretty let down.
Initial thoughts? Moving it to the Black Box—kind of a weird choice. That space is usually for musical theatre, not dramatic plays exploring the repression, passion, forced conformity of women during the Spanish Civil War. But you know what, the Black Box is a speedy walk from my NCA, so who am I to complain about a shorter walk in the cold?
Right off the bat, the first scene is all women. Exactly what I expected. They kept saying “oh my god” which is an appropriate response to the sociopolitical climate of Spanish fascism, so at this point I’m still in it.
But you know what? A few songs in, some guy shows up! Excuse me? Of course I assume this is the infamous Pepe “el Romano” but I’m not really getting the hype. He’s being kind of dick and won’t let the girl in pink, who I’m assuming is Adela, finish a sentence.
Halfway through they did sing a song about Ireland which is close enough to Spain I guess? Same geographic quadrant of the globe? I’m starting to think that KCDC made some serious edits before bringing this show back.
Finally we get two characters that are theoretically Spanish, and they’re also men! Where is María Josefa? Where is Magdalena? Where is BERNARDA ALBA?
Final thoughts? As a fun, high-energy musical about a girl who learns to succeed without sacrificing who she is, with a very cute actual dog peppered in? Totally fun. As a story of five unmarried daughters trapped in an estate for eight years being forced to mourn their father by their domineering widowed mother? Pretty unconvincing.
PS: This post is inspired by this one by the great Kate Lindsay of original Thrill staff fame :)