A major new production of Lorca’s 1936 classic The House of Bernarda Alba (La Casa de Bernarda Alba) has its first performance tonight (23 October 2017) at the custom-built Cervantes Theatre, the new home for Spanish and Latin American drama in London, care of the resident Spanish Theatre Company. Artistic director Jorge de Juan, who helms the revival, explains the journey he’s been on with his compatriot playwright…
Our journey with Federico García Lorca continues. Following Blood Wedding, which we opened the theatre with, and our season of Dramatised Readings of his early work as a playwright, we now arrive at The House of Bernarda Alba in which “the poet informs us that these three acts have the intention of being a photographic documentary”.
Nobody could photograph the many creases of these human souls better than Federico.
And this is what we’ve wanted to do with this amazing cast of 15 actresses, of various nationalities, who in just one month have succeeded in filling the Cervantes Theatre with Lorca’s words, in Spanish and in English.
In this play, we witness the harsh reality of “a drama about women in the villages of Spain”, Lorca did not base the play in an Andalusian town, but in a place that could be any of my country’s towns during the 1930s.
Bernarda, like many women of her era, worries about what people will say, about modesty, about the purity of her daughters, about the cleanliness of her soul and her house: “I don’t pry into people’s feelings, but I do want to keep up appearances and have harmony in the family”.
‘Breathing Lorca’ was the title of a workshop we did for one school in London and that is what we want to do with the Spanish Theatre Company, continue breathing Lorca and bringing to life the passion and words of our most loved poet and dramatic writer for a British audience and for the Spanish and Latin American community in this country.
Federico García Lorca is pure theatre: he is water, fire and air, light and darkness, the whinny of a horse which gallops towards the gypsy moon of his childhood; Federico is music and he is silence: “Silence I said, silence”.
In the cross-cast 15-strong company for The House of Bernarda Alba, the English cast are Jimena Larraguivel, Maite Jauregui, Mary Conlon (Bernarda), Joanna Kate Rodgers, Gilly Daniels, Pia Laborde, Candela Gomez, Carolina Herran, Moir Leslie and Beth Smith; and the Spanish cast are Jimena Larraguivel, Judith Arkwright, Teresa Cendon, Amparo Climent (Bernarda), Maite Jauregui, Pia Laborde, Lucia Espin, Mayca Estevez, Candela Gomez and Carolina Herran.
The House of Bernarda Alba runs from 23 October to 2 December 2017, with English-language performances Thursdays to Saturdays at 7.30pm and a Saturday matinee at 2.30pm, and Spanish-language performances Mondays to Wednesdays at 7.30pm, with a Wednesday matinee at 2.30pm.