By Mehr Gunawardena
“Eulalia: A Bedtime Story” is an insightful and emotional performance by Sarah Cuneo. She portrayed the turmoil felt by the Infanta of Spain, the last surviving child of Queen Isabella II, as she contemplated her future and that of her sons. Ms. Cuneo beautifully showed us how the Princess of Spain came to terms with herself, realizing she “is not merely royalty, she is Eulalia.”
When a distraught Eulalia accidentally wakes her two sons, she decides to tell them a bedtime story‑the story of her life. She remembers her childhood and relives the revolution in Spain with her puppet parrot; “¡Viva la república! it squawks. After her brother was declared the King of Spain, she came to understand that her society “delighted to reduce living things to toys,” and that she was one of those living things.
Eulalia asks her sons to choose one of two endings. In one, she honors her love for them, and lives miserably in royal captivity. In the other, she is free but alone. Should she stay or go? For the first time in her life, she must decide her own fate.
Ms. Cuneo gave a vulnerable and strong performance that compensated for the absence of too many childlike or fanciful elements to make the bedtime story come to life. Her reimagining of Eulalia’s life was charming and bewitching. She made a seemingly callous decision understandable and relatable. She exemplified a woman’s struggle to be a mother while yearning for freedom.
“Eulalia: A Bedtime Story”
Written and Performed by Sarah Cuneo
Oct. 12 at 8:45pm, Oct. 16 at 3:45pm, Oct. 17 at 8:45pm, Oct. 20 at 4:15pm, Oct. 22 at 3:30pm
Director: Brad Wilson
Photos by Anthony Cuneo, courtesy of the production
685 Washington Street
New York City
MEHR GUNAWARDENA is a writer from Sri Lanka who pursued her education and ambition in the United States. During her time at Clark University, she began experimenting with form and structure to make her writing as accessible as possible to all readers, while keeping true to her voice. She enjoys writing poetry and other fictional pieces with political and societal nuances, and is therefore drawn towards art with similar intentions.