Latin American author Gabriel GarcÃa MÃ¡rquez surprised Monica Payne in the last two pages of his novella “The Incredible and Sad Tale of Innocent ErÃ©ndira and Her Heartless Grandmother” with a hopeful ending. MÃ¡rquez’s passionate storytelling and unexpected plot twists inspired Payne to write a script based on his work.
Performances of third-year master of fine arts in theater student Monica Payne’s adapted play “ErÃ©ndira” will begin showing in Macgowan Hall’s Little Theater starting Saturday at 8 p.m.
Payne decided to pursue her interest in Latin American literature by adapting MÃ¡rquez’s novella into a play for her thesis project. Payne said she sat down with the script and worked to capture the essence of the story and translate it to the stage.
“I am particularly drawn toward (MÃ¡rquez’s) sense of the ordinary becoming extraordinary. It’s really beautiful. He really is a writer that touches on all of these beautiful things about humanity,” Payne said.
“He talks about death, first love, birth. … That’s why people all over the world want to read his writing, because he touches on things that we understand on a deep level.”
According to third-year theater student Joan Cummins, the play’s assistant stage manager,
“ErÃ©ndira” offers a different kind of storytelling not commonly portrayed in theater.
The play follows the story of a 14-year-old girl, ErÃ©ndira, who lives with her heartless, wealth-obsessed grandmother in a mansion in the Colombian desert.
After an accident, ErÃ©ndira’s grandmother punishes her, but ErÃ©ndira eventually escapes after falling in love with a Dutch boy called Ulises who works in an orange orchard.
“MÃ¡rquez writes in a genre known as magical realism, so there is a sense of groundedness in the story, like people jumping in a truck and chasing each other across the desert, but then wrapped inside of that there are all of these magical things happening,” Payne said.
According to actor and first-year theater student Kevin Doherty, the magical elements of the play can be seen in the props. Doherty worked on developing the show’s props, which include Ulises’ blue wings and lanterns that light up to illustrate oranges with diamonds in their centers.
According to Doherty, within the play, Payne includes dream sequences from MÃ¡rquez’s work and incorporates dancing and music to illustrate MÃ¡rquez’s ideas.
“Everything that (Payne) does comes back to that core sense of the pure emotion of the scene,” Doherty said.
The actors have been working on stylized movement and will actually become part of the set design and setting so they will move like a sandstorm or make a formation resembling a sand dune, according to Cummins.
The dances are intended to mirror character emotions.
Payne said that while working on set design, she focused on creating a visual landscape based on the feeling in the play instead of creating an actual desert setting.
“The physical, emotional and visual space of the play is fluid and magical. There are horrible things that happen in the play, but there is also a large amount of love,” Cummins said.
According to Payne, though the play deals with various emotional experiences ranging from comic to dramatic, MÃ¡rquez’s storytelling is exciting and unexpected.
“For those people who don’t know MÃ¡rquez, this is a really beautiful way to be introduced to him,” Payne said.