THE 20th of August this year, saw the 80th anniversary of the execution of Frederico Garcia Lorca by General Franco’s soldiers.
Executed for his left-wing politics, Leitheatre mark the anniversary by bringing his great masterpiece of love and loathing, The House of Bernarda Alba, to the stage of the Festival Theatre’s Studio next week.
After her husband’s death, Bernarda Alba puts her household into eight years of mourning. Doors and windows are locked and her five daughters are forbidden from leaving the house or having contact with the outside world.
To safeguard the family’s fortune, the tyrannical Bernarda arranges a marriage for her eldest daughter. As the wedding approaches, remorseless tension builds.
Repression, jealousy and passion take their toll on the love-hate relationship within the family, with devastating results.
Lorca wrote his lyrical tragedy only a few months before his execution and never lived to see a production of the play staged.
Leitheatre’s director Colin Peter has wanted to direct this play since he first saw it in the Royal Lyceum some years ago, and has chosen a version by playwright Jo Clifford, who is based in Leith.
Recently, when Jo visited a rehearsal at Leitheatre, she said, “It is a mistake to see the House of Bernarda Alba as a kind of soap opera, as the portrait of a strange and unhappy family.
“It is true each individual character is beautifully portrayed, with huge sensitivity and skill, but what Lorca is really giving us is not simply a portrait of a group of unhappy individuals.
“He is giving us a portrait of a society in which property is given priority over love; of a patriarchal society in which women are viewed as pieces of property and denied control over their own lives and in particular, a society in which women are denied free expression of their own sexuality.”
The House of Bernarda Alba, Studio @ Festival Theatre, Potterrow, 9-12th November, 7.30pm, £11, 0131-529 6000