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THEATER BEAT

Sexy Dance Gives a Boost to 'Yerma'

October 07, 1994|SCOTT COLLINS

During the best moment of "Yerma," the revival of Federico Garcia Lorca's tragedy at the Bilingual Foundation of the Arts, a group of Andalusian peasants performs a sinfully sexy flamenco dance during a pagan ritual called la romeria (the pilgrimage).

The dancers' clapping and stomping ignites the second act, but unfortunately the moment arrives too late. The rest of director Margarita Galban's halting production paints a dull glaze over Lorca's unsettling tale of a Spanish woman (Denise Blasor) trapped in a childless and loveless marriage. The production needs deeper, more vigorous performances to avoid becoming an incidental decoration atop Estela Scarlata's magnificent set of rocky cliffs and grottoes.

Melba Tirado takes over the lead during Spanish-language performances, which alternate weekly with performances in English. The new English translation is by Michael Dewell and Carmen Zapata.

* " Yerma," Bilingual Foundation of the Arts, 421 N. Avenue 19, Lincoln Heights. Wednesdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m., Sunday, 3 p.m. (English and Spanish performances alternate weekly). Ends Dec. 11. $15. (213) 225-4044. Running time: 1 hour, 55 minutes.

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