Federico Garcia Lorca

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Plays by Federico Garcia Lorca

The House of Bernarda Alba

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

Finished just two months before the author's murder on 18 August 1936 by a gang of Franco's supporters, The House of Bernarda Alba is now accepted as Lorca's great masterpiece of love and loathing.

Five daughters live together in a single household with a tyrannical mother. When the father of all but the eldest girl dies, a cynical marriage is advanced which will have tragic consequences for the whole family. Lorca's fascinatingly modern play, rendered here in an English version by David Hare, speaks as powerfully as a political metaphor of oppression as it does as domestic drama.

This version of The House of Bernarda Alba premiered at the National Theatre, London, in March 2005.

Yerma

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Federico García Lorca's Yerma is a poetic drama about a childless woman living in rural Spain, and her desperate longing to conceive a child. It was first performed in the Teatro Español, Madrid, on 29 December 1934.

This translation is by Jo Clifford.

Yerma (the name derives from the Spanish word for 'barren') has been married to Juan for two years, but remains childless. Furthermore, her desire for a child is at odds with Juan's desire for money. Tortured by her incessant longing to conceive a child, and by Juan's insistence that she be content with what she has, Yerma murders her husband, and with him her only chance of having a child.

In an introduction to the play, Jo Clifford writes: 'The play was a huge commercial success and ran for more than 130 performances. The right-wing press, however, loathed it, and it became the focus of vicious attacks. It cemented Lorca’s reputation among the right as a left-wing homosexual degenerate and in that sense contributed to the hatred that led to his assassination.'

Federico García Lorca was born in 1898, in Andalusia, Spain. A poet and dramatist, and also a gifted painter and pianist, his early popular ballads earned him the title of 'poet of the gypsies'. In 1930 he turned his attention to theatre, visiting remote villages and playing classic and new works for peasant audiences. In 1936, shortly after the outbreak of Civil War, he was murdered by Nationalist partisans. His body was never found.