Caridad Svich’s award-winning stage adaptation of Isabel Allende’s best-selling 1982 novel The House of the Spirits is now previewing at London’s Cervantes Theatre, where it runs until 30 November 2019. We thumbed through the novel for a reminder of some of our favourite quotes. How many feature in the play? Time to get booking!
Charting the rise and fall of one family in an unnamed Latin American country, The House of the Spirits spans the 1920s through the 1970s, as the country moves through enormous sociopolitical changes that culminate in a devastating dictatorship. The play is told from the point of view of the youngest of three generations of women, Alba, who, as the play opens, is held in a government torture cell.
At the Cervantes, Pia Laborde-Noguez plays Alba alongside Raul Fernandes, Constanza Ruff, Vanessa Calderón, Diana Volpe, Elena Saenz, Daniela Cristo, Alejandra Costa, Rodrigo Peñalosa, Álvaro Flores, Álvaro Ramos and Gian Carlo Ferrini. Associate director and Cervantes co-founder Paula Paz directs.
“She was one of those people who was born for the greatness of a single love, for exaggerated hatred, for apocalyptic vengeance, and for the most sublime forms of heroism, but she was unable to shape her fate to the dimensions of her amorous vocation.”
“This is to assuage our conscience, darling. But it doesn’t help the poor. They don’t need charity; they need justice.”
“My son, the Holy Church is on the right, but Jesus Christ was always on the left.”
“She did not believe that the world was a vale of tears but rather a joke that God had played and that it was idiotic to take it seriously.”
“Her Uncle Jaime felt that people never read what did not interest them and that if it interested them that meant they were sufficiently mature to read it.”
“Memory is fragile and the space of a single life is brief, passing so quickly that we never get a chance to see the relationship between events; we cannot gauge the consequences of our acts, and we believe in the fiction of past, present, and future.”
“Land is something one should never sell. It is the only thing left when all else is gone.”
“They were dressed in black, silent, and dry-eyed, as befits the norms of sadness in a country accustomed to the dignity of grief.”
“And now I seek my hatred and cannot seem to find it. I feel its flame going out as I come to understand its existence… It would be difficult for me to avenge all those who should be avenged because my revenge would be just another part of the same inexorable rite. I have to break that terrible chain. I want to think that my task is life and that my mission is not to prolong hatred but simply to fill these pages.”
“Just as when we come into the world, when we die, we are afraid of the unknown. But the fear is something from within us that has nothing to do with reality. Dying is like being born: just a change.”
“The point was not to die, since death came anyway, but to survive, which would be a miracle.”
“Barrabas came to us by the sea.”
The 1993 Hollywood screen version of The House of the Spirits starred Jeremy Irons, Meryl Streep, Winona Ryder, Glenn Close, Antonio Banderas and Vanessa Redgrave. It was adapted and directed by Billie August.
The House of the Spirits (La Casa de los Espiritus) runs from 28 October to 30 November 2019 at the Cervantes Theatre, Arch 26, Old Union Arches, 229 Union Street, London SE1 0LR, with 7.30pm performances, in Spanish Mondays to Wednesdays, in English on Thursdays to Saturdays. Tickets priced £17.50-£25. CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE!