New York City's National Asian American Theatre Company has brought a string of all Asian cast shows from Falsettoland to Othello in the past few seasons. Beginning Dec. 1, the company will stage Frederico Garcia Lorca's The House of Bernarda Alba in a 90-minute adaptation written and directed by Chay Yew (Red, Wonderland).
Twenty-two Asian-American actresses including Obie winner Ching Valdes Aran (Flipzoids) and Tony Award nominee Julyana Soelistyo (Golden Child) portray the women of a remote farming village where new widow Bernarda Alba declares her five daughters will remain within her house for eight years of mourning. While Bernarda's mad, aged mother rages, the eldest daughter courts a suitor, who captures the heart of the youngest. The daughters become overwhelmingly jealous in their forced captivity and the end result is another tragic death.
Valdes Aran stars as Bernarda Alba. Her credits include understudying Eartha Kitt in The Wild Party, the title roles in Mother Courage and Her Children and Medea and an upcoming part in Dogeaters at the Public Theater.
Joining her and Soelistyo are Natusko Ohama (Straight as a Line, Sound and Beauty), Michi Barall (Middle Finger), Eunice Wong, Kati Kuroda (Joy Luck Club), Gusti Bogard, Jo Yang, Sophia Morae and Julienne Kim.
Director of the Asian Theatre Workshop at Los Angeles' Mark Taper Forum, Yew also wrote Porcelin, A Beautiful Country and A Language of Their Own. He recently directed David Henry Hwang's Golden Child at East West Players. Designing The House of Bernarda Alba are Sarah Lambert (sets), Stephen Petrilli (lighting) and Elly Van Horne (costumes). Fabian Obispo composed the original score and Kristin Jackson will choreograph.
Tickets are $19, $12 for previews. The Intar Theatre is located at 508 West 53rd Street. For reservations, call (718) 623-1672.
— By Christine Ehren