The House of Bernarda Alba (2009)
Directed by Samantha Golton
Lorca was executed at the hands of the fascist party during the Spanish Civil War and never saw this play produced. This is the third play in Lorca’s Rural works, which took as their subject “the countryfolk of Andalucía and their suffering”. Appearing after Blood Wedding and Yerma the play presents a challenge as whilst like the other two in the series, it uses the lyrical language of Andalucía, unlike the previous two it is in prose, and in the author’s own words meant to be a photographic documentary.
After the death of her second husband, authoritarian Bernarda imposes an 8 year period of mourning on her family – none of her daughters shall leave the house during that time, save the eldest, Angustias, who is to be married to Pepe El Romano. The play deals with the themes of authority, freedom, passion and suffering, whilst exploring the position of women in Spanish society.
We will be using A S Kline’s translation of the play as a starting point but will be referring to other versions and back to the original text in discussion with the cast so that we can do the language justice together.
- Bernarda Alba - Jenny Gammon
- María Josefa, her mother - Anne Greenslade
- La Poncia, her maid - Margaret Glenn
- Angustias - Joanna Hughes
- Magdalena - Sanchia Leddy
- Amelia - Liz Nesfield
- Martirio - Karen Webb
- Adela - Abi Sharma
- Maid - Clíodhna McAllister - Understudy Juliet Holden
- Beggarwoman - Jill Fenton
- Prudencia - Jeanette Hoile
- Chorus of mourners - Christina Andrews, Induja Bandara, Jenny Clements, Kristy Davis, Caroline Durant, Juliet Holden, Raffaella Patmore, Pepa Rivera
- PA - Anna York
- Stage Manager - Mark Ireson
- Assistant Stage Manager - Kathryn Ramsay
- Lighting design - James Webb and Anna York
- Sound design - James Webb
- Lighting operation - James Webb / Anna York
- Costumes - Lisa Thomas
- Original music - Karen Webb
- Maria Josefa's lamb made by Lisa Thomas
- Reapers: (voices off) - Alan Walker, Bob Callender, Neil Carmichael, Adam Crook, David Haviland, Steve Imrie, Jason Lord, Lionel Monks.
- Extra thanks to: Alan Buckman, Box Office Team, The Rosendale, Ego Nightclub, Jack King, Carole Coyne, Helen Jones, Josie Peer, Peter Stevens, cast and crew of Round and Round the Garden (2009), Team Scholsey and assorted babysitters.
From the SLT discussion board:
"Samantha Golton (director) transports you abruptly from the SLT into the back waters of Spain. The oppressive heat and the claustrophobia of the house are brought vividly to life (including by the atmospheric lighting); we are stuck in a poverty-stricken village, where the well is dry, dogs bark and god-fearing neighbours pry and gossip. The House of Bernada Alba is ruled by a cruel and domineering matriarch obsessed with revering the dead and having scant appreciation of the needs of her daughters, whom she has confined to the house. Strong performances aplenty, the daughters' individual characters being well defined, heightening the drama. We also have a well-meaning but put-upon servant and a distraught grandmother, who has been driven pretty well out of her wits by years of abuse at the hands of her fierce daughter. A well directed and moving piece of drama: go see." Gorice XII
"As someone who was not particularly drawn to this play on paper, I have to say what an incredibly engaging, well directed and well cast production this is. The simplistic set really complemented the intricate relations between the characters on stage, and the claustrophobic oppression created by the sisters' confinement was beautifully conveyed. Every person on stage performed with high energy and focus and I felt myself completely drawn in. Bearing in mind the very high standard of acting, I am hesitant to say so but... my personal "man of the match" award would go to Karen Webb for, not only her incredibly real and emotion evoking portrayal of Martirio, but also her contribution to the music used (utterly spot on), and her amazing ability to convince us she's not from Scotland (the girl is an accent MACHINE!). Also a special note should go to Juliet Holden, in relation to whom you would not have known she only stepped into her part on Saturday had there not been an announcement pre-show. Well done to all involved." Calamity
"Well done all round - very powerful production" Katb
"It was absolutely absorbing... like I was sitting in their front room. It almost felt like I was a voyeur, intruding on a very personal thing. I loved it." GC
Photos by Phil Gammon at:
Reminiscences and Anecdotes