The following list of props, sound effects, and costumes, can be reproduced collectively or partially or can be alluded to through mime or improvisation. I refer the reader to Viola Spolin’s
Improvisations for the Theatre
, specifically those exercises under the heading of “Technical Effects” beginning on page 203.
The technical language, used in the stage directions which follcw, is advanced for my students and therefore I would take on the role of director/narrator. An advanced English or drama class could have a student in this capacity.
I feel that all other technical aspects of the play can be handled by the students with sufficient teacher support and supervision. In my classes, which are relatively small, due to the nature of E.S.O.L. instruction, students would perform dual roles of actor and technician. Larger classes can have a technical component separate from the dramatic one, thus insuring a shared experience among all members of the class.
It is important for the students to realize the significance of each of the technical items for a deeper understanding of the play. The visual and auditory effects serve to portray the family’s growing alienation. Marqués is a master of handling these objects and sounds in order to concretize the emotions of the characters. They provide tangible evidence of the dramatic conflict between old and new, the secure and the unknown , thereby giving us a constant reminder of the tension between both worlds. Do–a Gabriela, Juanita, and Chaguito are still attached to the land as evidenced by their nostalgic reference to the clump of mint, the rooster, and the St. Anthony statue in Act I. Those traditions, which they abandon by giving up the farm and moving to San Juan, disappear in Act II, when both the rooster and the statue are sold. The symbols which do not disappear, for example, the rocking chair, are placed in a squalid setting. Tradition survives only in the model oxcart which is sent to Juanita from her boyfriend in Puerto Rico, symbolizing the land and the family’s tragic migration back to its roots.