A group of Huntington High School Home Language Arts and Advanced Placement Spanish students recently trekked into New York City to watch a theatrical performance of a book they had just finished reading as a class.
The teenagers are studying with World Language teacher Itzel Cedillo Rosas in Home Language Arts III and IV. Some AP Spanish students also made the trip.
The group took the Long Island Railroad into Penn Station, climbed the staircase to the street level and posed for a photo before walking to Repertorio En Español, a theater located on East 27th Street between Lexington and Third Avenues. It was the first train ride for some students.
The trip was led by Ms. Cedillo Rosas, who was accompanied by teacher aide Yoselin Ramirez and district neighborhood aide Iliana Perez Castillo.
“We had read the play, ‘La casa de Bernarda Alba, The House of Bernarda Alba,’ in my class, and decided to bring the play to life by taking the students into New York City to watch the play.” Ms. Cedillo Rosas explained. “The students got a chance to see a live performance and really appreciated it.”
The professionally produced play and the exceptional actors on the stage made for a unique learning experience for the Huntington teenagers.
“The students were eager to watch the play we had read in class and were amazed seeing it come to life,” Ms. Cedillo Rosas said. “Some also asked about the drama club in the school and became interested in theater productions. It was also quite an experience walking in the city and seeing some colleges such as FIT. The majority of the students really liked the show and have asked to repeat the experience again next year.”
The book came to life on the New York City stage. “Federico García Lorca’s masterpiece ‘The House of Bernarda Alba’ is at the forefront of modern drama’s exploration of magical realism,” according to an online theater review. “What can women do to change the direction of a world dominated by men and saturated with madness? How can we confront our desire in the face of death? After the death of her husband, Bernada Alba forces her five daughters to endure a brutal mourning period that doesn't allow them to leave the house for years. Trapped in a repressive home, jealousy and envy soon erupts among the sisters as they each struggle for personal freedom. Passionate, lyrical and haunting, ‘The House of Bernarda Alba’ is an epic Spanish tragedy that seeks to incite revelation and revolution from its audience.”
The production is popular with high school students and is sold out for the next several months. It runs about 90 minutes. “We had read works by Federico García Lorca last year and this year we got to read his play,” Ms. Cedillo Rosas said. “The students thought acting it out in class was fun and started to wonder how a real life representation would be. The students would want to keep on repeating the experience in years to follow.”
“Hatred, jealousy and despair come to life, almost as characters in their own right, in the Repertorio Español’s Spanish-language production of ‘La casa de Bernarda Alba’… García Lorca’s grim satisfaction in exposing the pretensions, self-deceits and destructive willfulness of Bernarda Alba and her five daughters in a world of women who are all victims is almost palpable,” states a New York Times review.
“Repertorio Español was founded in 1968 to introduce the best of Latin American, Spanish and Hispanic-American theatre in distinctive, quality productions and to bring theatre to a broad audience in New York City and across the country, including seniors, students and Hispanics of all national backgrounds,” according to a profile of the theater.
Since the theater’s founding it has staged more than 250 original productions, entertaining over 1.5 million people and 750,000 high school students.