the house of a new play by Caridad Svich
based on the novel by Isabel Allende
Photo 1: Alba (Denise Quiñones).
ALBA (live and on video), witness to history (may be on stage This play should be performed with an interval after the 2nd
throughout) act. The figure of Alba may be on stage throughout the entire
CLARA, her grandmother play as witness and archivist of her history.
ROSA LA BELLA, her aunt (live and on video), also plays Melodies to the original songs in the text may be obtained
BLANCA, her mother by contacting the author or the lyrics may be set by another
ESTEBAN TRUEBA, her grandfather composer. Doubling of roles suggested above is preferred.
ESTEBAN GARCIA, Esteban Trueba’s bastard son, a colonel Sections of text in parentheses are not meant to be spoken.
(live and on video) Text from Allende’s novel has not been used in this adaptation,
only her characters, themes, and narrative arcs.
SEVERO, her great-grandfather, also plays PEDRO GARCIA, *An additional actor may be cast, if the role of Transito is
foreman of the Three Marias ranch, and FATHER ANTONIO, not doubled with the roles of Nivea and Woman 2. Woman
a priest 3 as Count of Satigny is intended as cross-gendered casting.
PEDRO TERCERO, Alba’s father, field hand, revolutionary,
singer, also plays GUARD, and BARABBAS, Clara’s dog (a
CHORUS (women of the city, women of the country): The action takes place in the 20th century in the
WOMAN 1, also plays PANCHA, peasant girl capitol city of an unnamed Latin American country
WOMAN 2, also plays TRANSITO SOTO, prostitute, (reminiscent of Chile): on the Tres Marias ranch and its
NIVEA, Alba’s great-grandmother* outskirts in the countryside, in the big house on the
WOMAN 3, also plays FERULA, Esteban Trueba’s sister, corner, in hidden rooms where souls cry out for liberty,
and COUNT OF SATIGNY, Blanca’s suitor and in the memories of families over some 50-odd
years (from 1920s-1970s), wherein huge sociopolitical
changes occur unexpectedly…as if out of thin air.
the spiRits photographs by Michael Palma
Photo 2: Esteban Trueba (Nelson Landriu).
this play is for José Zayas
I: CLARA’S NOTEBOOKS you stash the weapons? ALBA: Why do you—?
ALBA: I didn’t stash any— ESTEBAN GARCIA: I ask the
1. the encounter (1) ESTEBAN GARCIA: Don’t make me questions here.
angry, little one. ALBA: Your voice…. I recognize it.
In the torture theatre of the clandestine ALBA: My name is Alba. [Introduction, ESTEBAN GARCIA: You recognize
jail, Alba is detained. She’s blindfolded. Photo 7, page 75] your blood?
Colonel Esteban Garcia interrogates her. ESTEBAN GARCIA: Here you’re just ALBA: What?
They’ve been at this for hours and days. a little one, a little bitch, nothing more. ESTEBAN GARCIA: Quiet. Quiet now.
A ritual. There’s the sound of a soccer Now, where’d you stash them? I’m going to teach you how to recognize…
match heard on a distant radio. Video ALBA: I didn’t stash anything. I swear. ALBA: No…
captures everything. ESTEBAN GARCIA: Do you think Esteban draws close to her — prelude to
I’m an idiot? Do you think I’ll just an act of violence…
ESTEBAN GARCIA: Name. swallow anything? The roar of the soccer match on the
ALBA: I told you. ALBA: No. radio. Light shift.
ESTEBAN GARCIA: Again. ESTEBAN GARCIA: No. You’re the one
ALBA: Alba. who’s going to swallow. Pretty little bug. 2. first portrait: Alba in grey
ESTEBAN GARCIA: Family? You’ll swallow it, right? …I can’t hear
ALBA: I told you. you, little one. Alba is now in another space — released
ESTEBAN GARCIA: Again. ALBA: Yes. in mind from the split self, fragmented
ALBA: The Trueba family. ESTEBAN GARCIA: Yes. And by violence — where time and memories
ESTEBAN GARCIA: And where did swallow. Swallow! flow, a space where the reconstruction of
the notebooks written by Clara begins: CLARA: Barabbas! Barabbas! Where ALBA: She appears. Out of nothingness.
words from the notebooks are written are you? (She w