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Bernarda is back! PDF

The best Spanish play of the 20th century gets another airing in Ronda this Friday. La casa de Bernarda Alba, written by Federico García Lorca, takes to the stage at Teatro Espinel at 21.00 on Friday 10 June, tickets just 3 €.

After a successful performance back in November last year by the TNT-El Vacie company, a group of gypsy women from Seville, the play returns to the stage in Ronda with a different company this time, Arriadh from Arriate.

Part of the dramatist’s rural trilogy, with Bodas de Sangre (Blood Wedding) and Yerma, The House of Bernarda Alba is a drama of women in the villages of Spain. Lorca's last play, he completed it on 19 June, 1936, just two months before his execution at the hands of Franco’s nationalists. It was not performed on stage for the first time until 1945.

The play, a tragedy, centres on the events of an Andalusian household during a period of mourning, in which the widowed Bernarda Alba wields total control over her five daughters. The male lead and love interest is Pepe el Romano, although he never appears on stage, a deliberate ploy to build up the high level of sexual tension that is present throughout the play.

The play explores themes of repression, passion, and conformity, and inspects the effects of men upon women.

Plot summary

After the death of her second husband, Bernarda Alba, a dominating woman, imposes a period of mourning on her household which is to last eight years, as has been traditional in her family. Bernarda has five daughters, aged between 20 and 39, whom she has shielded and controlled to an excessive degree and prohibited from any form of relationship with the opposite sex. The mourning period further isolates the daughters, and tension mounts within the household.

The eldest daughter Angustias inherited a large sum of money upon the death of her father, Bernarda's first husband, while the other four sisters inherited much less from their father, Bernarda's second husband. Angustias' wealth attracts a suitor, the young and attractive Pepe el Romano from the village. Passion and jealousy among the sisters increase. They feel it is unfair that Angustias, the oldest and most sickly of them, should receive both the majority of the money and the freedom to marry and leave the constraints of the house.

Adela, the youngest and prettiest daughter, is stricken with sudden spirit and jubilation on the day of her father's funeral. Defying Bernarda's orders to dress only in black and mourn, she refuses to take off her green dress.

It transpires that Adela has been conducting an illicit affair with Pepe el Romano. She becomes increasingly passionate, refusing to submit to her mother's will and arguing with her sisters, particularly Martirio, who is also revealed to be in love with Pepe.

The tension in the drama comes to a head as the members of the family confront one another. 

But to find out how the play develops and the final tragic outcome, I’m afraid you’ll have to buy a ticket and go along on Friday. With tickets at only 3€, you can't go wrong.

Play:  La Casa de Bernarda Alba by Federico García Lorca
Place:  Teatro Municipal Vicente Espinel, Ronda
Date and Time:  Friday, 10 June at 21.00 hours
Tickets:  3 € (in aid of charity)

©  Paul Whitelock

Tags: La casa de Bernarda Alba, The House of Bernarda Alba, Federico García Lorca, Teatro Espinel, Bodas de Sangre, Blood Wedding, Yerma, Franco, Bernarda Alba, Pepe el Romano, Angustias, Adela, Martirio, TNT-El Vacie, Arriadh, Arriate, paul whitelock,