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Gerald Carpenter: UCSB Stages Lorca Tragedy

The House of Bernarda Alba opens Friday and runs through May 15

UCSB Theater’s new production of The House of Bernarda Alba by Spanish poet and playwright Federico García Lorca (1899-1936) will open Friday in the Studio Theatre (adjoining Hatlen Theater on campus), and run through May 15.

Newly translated by Michael Jones and Salvador Ortiz-Carboneres, La casa de Bernarda Alba is directed by grad student Jason Narvy and stars Madeline Minor, Kelsey Foltz, Lydia Benko, Alyssa Williams, Joelle Golda, Noemi Gonzalez, Amanda Berning and other students of the UCSB Drama and Dance program — all women, for in the play no male character appears on stage.

The House of Bernarda Alba is a study in repression and domestic tyranny. Seizing upon a family tradition, Bernarda Alba, after the death of her second husband, imposes an eight-year period of mourning on her household, turning her home into a fierce pressure-cooker for her mother, her five daughters, ages 20 to 39, and her various female domestics.

She has already isolated her daughters, kept them from contact with males — to a degree unimaginable today, except in countries ruled by misogynistic mullahs. Now, they have nothing to which they may look forward except eight years of endless bickering, nagging and hysteria. It is an explosive situation.

This was García Lorca’s last play, completed two months before he was murdered by the followers of Gen. Francisco Franco, at the very start of the Spanish Civil War. He called it “a drama of women in the villages of Spain.” It is sometimes identified — though not by García Lorca — as the third play, after Blood Wedding and Yerma, in a projected “trilogy of the Spanish earth.” It was not performed until nine years after his death.

The House of Bernarda Alba plays at 8 p.m. Friday, Saturday and May 11-15, with 2 p.m. matinees Saturday and May 15.

Admission is $13 for students, seniors and UCSB faculty and staff, and $17 for general admission, with tickets available at the door. (Remember that the internal organization of the studio precludes late seating; you would have to walk through the action of the play to get to your seat.)

— Gerald Carpenter covers the arts as a Noozhawk contributor. He can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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