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In his new play "Crocodile Eyes," Eduardo Machado pays tribute to Lorca with a male take on "The House of Bernarda Alba"

April 22 to May 9
Theater for the New City, 155 First Avenue (at E. 10th St.)
Presented by Theater for the New City
Thursdays through Sundays at 8:00 p.m.
$10/tdf, (212)254-1109
"Crocodile Eyes," a new play written and directed by Eduardo Machado, is inspired by "The House of Bernarda Alba," Federico Garcia Lorca's classic drama about the effect of fascism on the small villages of Spain. Machado's play cleverly rebuilds Lorca's classic using an engaging and very plausible male perspective.

Machado first had the idea for "Crocodile Eyes" when he stage-managed a production of "The House of Bernarda Alba" in Los Angeles at the Bilingual Foundation for the Arts during the early '70s. He finally got a chance to write his version when Theater for the New City commissioned the play with a grant from Theater Communications Group.

"Crocodile Eyes" remains true to the original structure of "The House of Bernarda Alba." Both plays center around the day and evening following the funeral of Bernarda Alba's husband and both share certain key characters. There is the triangular relationship of Pepe, who aims to marry Bernarda Alba's eldest daughter, Augustia, for her inheritance while seducing her younger sister, Adela. There is also La Poncia, the earthy maid of the household. But this is where the comparisons end. In Machado's play, the character of Pepe is surrounded by a variety of men who represent counterpoints to his struggle for power and money: his friends Felipe and Adam, an anarchist named Joaguin (modeled after Lorca) and a trio of musicians who are dependent on him for the work he gives them.

Eduardo Machado is well known for both his epic plays on the Cuban experience and for his provocative dramas of American artists' lives. His "Floating Island" plays, a series of four tragic comedies on a Cuban family's destiny and assimilation into America, caused Time Magazine to acclaim him one of our country's most gifted playwrights. The first play in this series, "Fabiola," was produced by TNC in 1984. Machado recently completed writing and directing his first feature film, "Exiles in New York," which will open the Santa Barbara film festival in May. He heads the playwriting unit at Columbia University's School of the Arts.

Theater for the New City has been an avid supporter and producer of Machado's highly provocative and political work. His play, "Cuba and the Night," a drama about the breakdown of a wealthy Cuban family on the eve of the Spanish-American War, was produced by TNC last season. TNC has also produced "Why to Refuse" (1987), a play about political conscience and defiance, "Don Juan in New York" (1988), a play about a modern and AIDS-afflicted Don Juan, and "Related Retreats" (1990), a play about a community of poets and their sexual and artistic struggles. Machado also directed Roger Durling's "Body Games" at TNC in 1989.

The actors are Victor Argo, Crystal Field, Heather Hill, Jerry Jaffe, Joe Quintero, Ron Riley, Ed Vassallo and Tatyana Yassukovich. The set designer is Mark Marcante; the lighting designer is Jon D. Andreadakis; the costume designer and production stage manager is David Obele. [NYTW]

Related article: About Theater for the New City.

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