The Curtain Opens on ‘The House of Bernarda Alba’

By Purnell T. Cropper | April 15, 2013

Arcadia University Theater, which earned two awards at the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival last year, presents Chay Yew’s new adaptation of Federico Garcia Lorca’s The House of Bernarda Alba, running April 18-28 on Arcadia’s MainStage at the Spruance Fine Arts Center.

Directed by Kathryn Peterson, Assistant Professor of English and Theater at Arcadia, and Mark Wade, Assistant Professor and Director of Arcadia University’s Theater program, the play explores what happens when tensions take hold of the five daughters of Bernarda Alba, a twice-widowed strict matriarch who has imposed an eight-year mourning period after the death of her second husband. The family’s eldest daughter, Angustias, is to receive a large inheritance from her father, attracting the attentions of her eventual fiancé, the handsome Pepe el Romano. Suspicion, jealousy, and gossip mount as the four younger sisters—Magdalena, Amelia, Martirio and Adela—react to their father’s death by finding any outlet from their mother’s domineering repression. La Poncia, Bernarda’s personal maid of more than 30 years, tries to warn Bernarda of the building frustration that is splitting the loyalties of her five daughters. Martirio and Adela, both in love with Pepe el Romano, enviously clash until Martirio uncovers suspicions about Adela and Pepe in a volatile, somber and defiant climax. The House of Bernarda Alba addresses themes of sexual repression, tradition and honor, and a mutual yearning for freedom from confining ideals.


  • April 18, 19, 20, 25 and 27 at 8 p.m.
  • April 20, 21, 27 and 28 at 2 p.m.

Note: There will be no 8 p.m. show on Friday, April 26.


Tickets for the show are $15 for general admission and $12 for non-Arcadia students, senior citizens and Arcadia alumni. Arcadia students, faculty and staff with ID are admitted free of charge. For more information or tickets, call 215-572-2112 or email Last year, Arcadia Theater productions earned Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival awards for costume design (for a 2011 production of Club California) and direction (for a production of Actual Magic).

Photo by Pedro Leal ’13