THE HOUSE OF BERNARDA ALBA
by Federico García Lorca, Adaptation by Javier Vilalta
About the Play
The father of a prominent family is dead. Five women are forced by their mother to live inside their house for eight years and mourn their loss without having any outside contact. In the intense heat of summer, the conflicts, repression , and secrets of the house are unchained, while the walls collapse in fear.
Written in 1936, The House of Bernarda Alba is considered one of the masterpieces of Spanish theatre. Queer playwright Federico Garcia Lorca wrote this all-female play as an analogy of the sexual and emotional repression he experienced throughout his life.
In this new exciting production, the text is modernized for a cast of all 2SLGBTQIA+ performers to give life to Lorca’s characters. Sage Theatre’s production of ‘The House of Bernarda Alba’ is a relevant and riveting examination of the oppression and marginalization that members of the queer community continue to bravely battle in today’s society.
On August 19, 1936, 37-year-old Spanish writer Federico García Lorca was assassinated. His socialist views created tension with the Civil Guard and the rise of General Francisco Franco, who would become the infamous leader of Spain from 1939 to 1975. The reason Lorca was given before he was shot was for engaging in “homosexual and abnormal practices”.
Lorca is best known as a playwright for three texts that make up what is best known as his Rural Trilogy: Blood Wedding, Yerma and The House of Bernarda Alba. Themes of oppression, strict societal norms, and the imposition of roles for women in society were all portrayed through the lens of strong female leads. Lorca was not only known world-wide as a playwright and poet, but he was also one of the few public figures of the time who was openly gay. Some think that the characters in Lorca’s plays are representing the playwright’s desires; that is, acknowledging that the women in Lorca’s plays came from the passion, desires and needs of a queer voice that was silenced in the closet.
The closet, in this case, is a symbolic place that limits the freedom of discourse. The theory is that Lorca coded a series of messages to communicate with the queer audience. The meaning behind the 2SLGBTQIA+ cast playing Lorca’s female characters in this production is symbolic. They embody the queer playwright’s desires and needs through the female figure. They also reveal and expose the real oppression experienced by the women of the time. We explore the reconcilement of the oppression faced by the play’s females along with the playwright’s silenced passions. This is an exercise of vindication, of transgression, of pride, of awareness. This is the physicality, the theatricality.
The performer’s exploration of queer matters within the text is the production’s core, its soul.
cSPACE, for letting us transform the heritage windows (they belonged to the original version of the building) and for hosting us!
Stagewest and The Costume Collective for the use of their space to accommodate wardrobe for this production.
CYPT for supporting rehearsals.
Theatre Calgary, Vertigo Theatre for set and props assistance.
Haysam Kadri for stage fight assistance.
Callum, Abby, Marlo, for moving us into the House.
Meet the Cast
Conrad Belau - Angustias
Conrad is a non-binary, hard-of-hearing award-winning queer director and actor. AcCng credits include THE VIRGIN TRIAL (Alberta Theatre Projects), AS YOU LIKE IT (Theatre Calgary), WALT WHITMAN’S SECRET (Frank Theatre), and CHRISTMAS CAROL: A DRAG STORY (Blue Jeans Theatre). They are the creator and performer of the Instagram Livestream phenomenon MONO MAN MIA, for which they won Broadway World’s “Vocalist of the Decade” Recently their play, LOVE STRUCK, was chosen as part of Stage One Festival of New Canadian Work at Lunchbox Theatre.
Ben Gaudet - Amelia
Ben Gaudet is an emerging theatre artist in Calgary. Past acting credits include Love and Information, A Play About A Dragon (CYPT), He Leaves No Trace (Mind the Gap Collective), and sound design for Much Ado About Nothing, Friends of Mine/The Tuesday Crew, and A Little Princess (CYPT). Ben had also had the chance to work behind the scenes for A More Sparkling Version of Ourselves (Verb Theatre), and USS Artemis (Boathaus Studios). He would like to thank his family for their support, and Jamie Dunsdon, Kristin Eveliegh and Zoë Arthur for their mentorship.
Jaime Cesar - Adela
Jaime Cesar is a Venezuelan singer/songwriter, scientist and author with a passion for theatre and storytelling. After moving to Calgary in 2019, Jaime has ventured into acting at StoryBook Theatre (The Smartest Girl in the World, Singers at Sunset, The SpongeBob Musical), Hispanic Arts Society (A place that no longer exists), and the theatre clubs ExpresARTe and Gato Negro (Camino a Belen, Peregrinos). Jaime also performs with Cantares Venezuelan Cultural Foundation, Youth Singers of Calgary and RAW Artists Canada. The fascinating intersection of science and arts is what makes Jaime’s work shine! Find him on IG as @jaimecesarofficial.
Jason Hardwick - Magdalena
Jason is thrilled to return to Calgary after many years making his Sage Theatre Debut. He is an award winning actor, choreographer, burlesque performer, and improviser/Co-Artistic Director of Die-Nasty (the Live Improvised Soap Opera).
Some favourite credits: Crack in the Mirror, Don’t Frown at the Gown, Puck Bunnies (Guys in Disguise), Elf: The Musical (WCT), Cinderella: A Pantomime (Capitol Theatre); All Shook Up, Hairspray, Chicago (Mayfield Theatre); Mary Poppins (Globe Theatre); Get Happy Revue, Ah, Romance!, A New Brain, Drat The Cat, Little Fish (Plain Jane Theatre). Much love to his husband, his cat, and anyone who needs it.
Trevor Schmidt - La Poncia/Maria Josefa
Trevor is an award-winning actor, director, set and costume designer, and playwright and the Artistic Director of Northern Light Theatre in Edmonton. He is happy to be making his debut at SAGE. He is a graduate of the UofC and the Banff MasterClass program, whose work has been seen on stages in Calgary such as Theatre Calgary, Vertigo Mystery Theatre, Lunchbox, and One Yellow Rabbit’s High Performance Rodeo. He has been nominated multiple times and has been honoured with several awards at both the Elizabeth Sterling Haynes and Betty Mitchell Awards, as well as the Calgary Critic’s “Critter” awards.
Tiffany Thomas - Martirio
Tiffany Thomas (Previously known as Zach Running Coyote) is a songstress and theatre maker who creates and performs oral histories for the lost kids of fragmented diasporas.
Marshall Vielle - Bernarda Alba
Marshall (they/them) is an Actor, Director, Podcaster, and Drag Performer from the Kainai Nation. They are a graduate from the University of Lethbridge where they received their Bachelors of Fine Arts, specializing in Theatre Performance. They are especially interested in using theatre for community development, having been involved in various projects both locally and internationally aimed at using artistic practices to encourage social change. They work as an advocate for equity, diversity, and inclusion in the performance sector, while also lending their creativity to several queer youth initiatives. Marshall is the recipient of the 2018 Theatre Calgary Stephen Hair Emerging Actor Award and are also part of the amazing Artist-in-Residence team at Trickster Theatre.
Meet the Creative Team
Ashley Rees - Stage Manager
Javier Vilalta - Director
Jason Mehmel - Producer, Artistic Director
Shane Anderson - Lighting Design
Kristin Eveleigh - Sound Design
Hanne Loosen - Stage Design
Norman J Galenza-MacDonald
- Costume Design
Board of Directors
President Dany Allard
Vice-President Kaleigh Richards
Secretary Shane Anderson
Treasurer Alejandro PerdomoBoard Member Vanja Cingel
Board Member Joanna Williams
Board Member Kim McCann
Board Member Vanja Cingel
Key Volunteer: Hartley Rose, Communications Consultant