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La casa de los espíritus
The story of a Latin American family and their country in a bold and daring theatre piece that captures the force and sensuality of Allende's vision. Tickets start at $25. Watch video.
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"Extraordinary... powerful... sharply observant, witty and eloquent." (full text)

The New York Times (Books of the Times)
"los fundadores y directores de Repertorio Español, que una vez más han apostado por una adaptación original y por la vigencia del teatro de calidad en manos de verdaderos profesionales" (full text)

Juan Fernando Merino
"While fantastic details such as a dog the size of a horse -- a terrific puppet from designer Emily DeCola, manipulated with skill be Robledo -- and Esteban's shrinking physical stature are present, they do not take center stage in director José Zayas' able, multimedia-rich production, which features Alex Koch's elegantly surreal video design." (full text)

Backstage review: La casa de los espíritus
February 25, 2009

By Megin Jimenez

Repertorio Español's adaptation of Isabel Allende's novel The House of the Spirits (written by Caridad Svich) seeks to create an entire world, populated with three generations and spanning several decades. This is a project that requires the full theatrical toolkit, and the visual component contributes most memorably, through haunting video projections by Alex Koch and Robert Weber Federico's thoughtful production design.

The story of the Trueba family is cast through the eyes of Alba, its youngest member. While held captive by a military government, she relives the story of her clairvoyant grandmother and brutal grandfather. The opening scene is of Alba, bound and at the mercy of a military man; thoughts are inevitably of torture. We view the scene through a nearly transparent curtain, on which is projected live video of the scene. The effect is a black-and-white reduction of the action; the image evokes a newspaper or documentary photograph come to life. This serves as a fitting entry into the past as Alba witnesses the acts of rape, homophobia, and class discrimination that her grandfather Esteban commits through the course of his life. Politics is the shadow side of this story; there is a clear line drawn from individual acts and decisions and how these become magnified and far-reaching at the societal level, uniting past and present. Denise Quiñones acts as a steady guide through the long course of the play as Alba, delivering poignantly in what could be an overwrought role.

Nostalgia colors the portrayal of the past—Alba's grandmother Clara is the source of otherworldly action, a connection with the spirit world. A compelling touch is the puppetry that brings to life Clara's girlhood companion, a giant black dog (designed by Emily De Cola and wonderfully animated by Eric Robledo). The sweeping story also encompasses the development of a Latin American country, touching on themes of industrialization, class conflict, and social change the strong women characters long for. A strong ensemble cast, distinct costumes and a simple, versatile set help to fill in the picture. José Zayas's staging also manages to keep the many scenes varied and clear.

These are only excerpts from review. For full text, please visit: Thank you.


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