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.'