Leads, language power new play

By Mia Proli Gable

Arizona Daily Wildcat

Amidst a background that looks like a snowy field, a woman named Yerma struggles with her desire to have a child, but has to face the fact that she canŐt. She tries everything, from potions to prayers, but to no avail. Eventually her continual infertility drives her crazy.

Yerma, a play by Spanish playwright and poet Federico Garcia Lorca, is the latest production from the Borderlands Theatre. ŇYerma herself is basically a symbol for the difficulties of creativity - conception, pregnancy, and birth ... Yerma is LorcaŐs portrait of repression,Ó the program notes.

The play takes place in rural Spain during the 1930s, and Yerma (Anastasia Coon) is married to Juan (Miguel Ortega), the man her father has chosen for her. Though she does not love him, she eagerly enters the marriage because she truly wants to be a mother.

For five years Yerma seeks a way to become pregnant. The other women in the village give her advice Ń pagan ceremonies, a pilgrimage to a shrine of fertility, singing, potions, but nothing provides the child Yerma desperately wants. Some encourage her to have an affair with another man, but she cannot because she believes in family honor and does not want to betray her husband.

Yerma is performed by an impressive leading cast. Coon delivers a powerful portrait of Yerma which is balanced by OrtegaŐs callous portrayal of Juan, the husband who doesnŐt want a family. Annabelle Nu–ez, as Maria, and Rodr’guez also contribute strong performances to the play. The supporting cast pales in comparison to the leading actors. Most had a tendency to swallow their lines and move like robots.

LorcaŐs script contains some beautiful language that allows for almost surreal adaptations of the play. The set, designed by Deana Radtke, is sparse and white, reminiscent of snow-covered mountains, but there is no indication that they are meant to be so.

All and all, Yerma is worth seeing just to hear the eloquent and beautiful writing style of Frederico Garcia Lorca and to see leading actors who really know how to deliver strong performances.

Yerma plays through April 23 at the PCC West Campus and offers performances in Spanish and in English. For reservations and more information call 882-7406.

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