The House Of Bernarda Alba

by Federico Garcia Lorca

Spring 2002

Watching the household of Bernarda Alba will not be pleasant. Death, hatred, jealousy, envy come through the cracks of the walls and the doors that Bernarda Alba has locked and sealed with her proclamation of an eight year mourning period and with the nails of her hate-filled heart. Why watch this? Well, maybe by looking at a house that goes too far, we can check our own houses.

What happens when parents overstep the bounds of their God-given tasks? What happens when male-female relationships are seen in terms of power and advantage? What happens when a person sees herself as better than the community to which she belongs? What happens when proper intimacy is avoided or denied because coming close might expose the faults and failures that are part of the fabric of our lives? What happens when authority becomes tyranny?

Spanish poet and playwright Federico Garcia Lorca claimed that this play, the third of his trilogy of rural plays, was "Realism!" "a photo documentary," and he subtitled the play "A Drama of the Women of the Villages of Spain." Seeing the oppression going on in Europe and in his own country in the 1930's, not only politically but also socially, Lorca became sensitive to the oppression of particular groups of people. He never saw this play produced for he was executed by the Falangist group in the early years of the Spanish Civil War in 1936, the year he finished the play.

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