El Español en Camino (Taking Spanish on the Road)

Students and faculty attend Spanish-language theater production in New York

On Nov. 21, a group of 39 Holy Cross students hit the road with their professors to attend a live theatrical performance of Federico García Lorca's  “La casa de Bernarda Alba” (“The House of Bernarda Alba”) in New York City.

Before traveling to the Spanish Repertory Theater (Repetorio Español) in Manhattan to see the play, students studied the script in a seminar on Federico García Lorca, instructed by Helen Freear-Papio, lecturer in Spanish, as well as in Introduction to Textual Analysis classes taught by Bridget Franco, assistant professor of Spanish, and Ellen Lokos, visiting associate professor of Spanish.

Lorca's last drama was written right before the Spanish Civil War and is considered a masterpiece of modern theater. “La casa de Bernarda Alba” explores universal themes of repression, gender roles, and societal power structures.

After watching the live Spanish-language performance of the work, Kara Donahue '15, a psychology and Spanish double major from Fairfield Conn., observed that she better understood the symbolism and subtleties of the written text that she and her classmates had analyzed in the more traditional academic setting.

Lizzie Carroll '15, a Spanish major from Andover, Mass., recalled when the actors walked through the audience, breaking the “fourth wall” and creating an unscripted moment that helped bring the decades-old play to life.

Ivan Pérez '16, a sociology and Spanish major and Puerto Rican native, is a Kent Family Scholarship recipient, which honors high merit among juniors studying Spanish. He noted, "Fue enriquecedor poder ver una interpretación en vivo porque cuando lees la obra, las palabras crean una imagen en tu mente, pero en vivo tienes una experiencia tridimensional con la escenografía, la iluminación, los efectos de sonido, y las voces y los gestos de los actores. Para mí, creó una nueva perspectiva del teatro en EEUU y un interesante intercambio cultural."

(Translation: “Seeing a live interpretation was enriching because when you read the play, the words create an image in your mind. But a live performance, with the staging, lighting, sound effects, and the actors’ voices and gestures, gives you a three-dimensional experience. For me, it created a new perspective on theater in the U.S. and an interesting cultural exchange.”)

The trip has also reaffirmed the strong interest among students in Holy Cross' own Bilingual Theater Troupe which will begin rehearsals in the upcoming spring semester, according to Freear-Papio.

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