Drama Troupe Enacts Spanish Plays at Local High School

final scene of
(L. to r.): Jenny Hartwig, Sarah Dick, Andrew Intagliata, John Neiswander and Sarah Dick in the final scene of "El censo."

Spanish came alive on the auditorium stage at Harrisonburg High School Monday, Nov. 22, for members of a Hispanic theater class at Eastern Mennonite University.

The seven EMU class members presented two one-act plays completely in Spanish for more than 100 members of a Spanish club at Harrisonburg High at the invitation of Phil Yutzy, Spanish instructor at the school. For all but four members of the club, Spanish is their native language, Yutzy noted.

The EMU group opened with "El censo," by Mexican playwright Emilio Carballido, a comedy with political overtones, followed by "Lafuerza de la debilidad," a lighthearted sketch by Emilio Gallegos del Campo of Ecuador.

Emily D. Benner, an EMU sophomore from Pennsburg, Pa., welcomed the opportunity to give the plays in Spanish to the high school group, saying "we value them enough to make a serious effort to provide entertainment that moves outside our own culture.

"I kept imagining what it might be like to see a play performed in English by persons whose first language is other than English," Benner said.

Emily Benner and Jesse Yoder
Emily Benner as Dona Pilar employs reverse psychology on Don Severo in "La fuerza de la debilidad."
Photo by Jim Bishop

Jesse W. Yoder, an EMU sophomore from Lancaster, Pa., said that in delivering lines in Spanish his group "had to learn certain nuances that you seldom pay attention to in your own language . . . Certain intonations are also necessary to learn and appropriate to use in this context."

Other theater class participants were: Jenny R. Hartwig, Keezletown, Va.; Sarah C. Dick, New Paris, Ind.; Sarah E. Buller, Goshen, Ind.; John M. Neiswander, Millersburg, Ohio; Andrew F. Intagliata, Phoenix, Ariz.; and Carissa L. Bazzle, Harrisonburg.

Ray E. Horst, who retired in spring 2003 after 12 years as a Spanish professor in the language and literature department at EMU, taught the Hispanic theater class fall semester.