The musical Bernarda Alba tells the story of a woman who is confined within the heavily patriarchal and Catholic society that was 1930s Spain. Because of this, I thought it the perfect arena to explore power dynamics on stage. My thesis will explore status, hierarchies, relationships, and identity via the stolid matriarchal character Bernarda Alba. Through analyzing the playwright's words, fleshing out the character, and exploring the character's relationships with others in rehearsal, I have studied how to activate status on stage. There are many sociology theories and psychological studies that can be applied to theatre-making in order to create fleshed out relationships, characters, and worlds. I have taken these theories into practice, as I battled with my own hierarchies in real life, and I let art and life do what they do best: imitate each other. I will analyze and play with the physical movement and posture of the character, the vocal choices in the delivery of the scripted words, and the psychological choices in the form of subtext and unspoken thought. There is an abundance of agency one holds when creating status and identity for a character, and I break down the different facets to explore. More importantly, outside of the stage, if we realize that status is more intricate and flexible than we think it is, then we as individuals can unlock invaluable freedoms that can unchain us from daily oppression.
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Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.)
College of Arts and Humanities
Theatre; Acting Track
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Martinez Medina, Ana, "Performing Bernarda: Activating Power and Identity" (2019). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2004-2019. 6368.