The House of Bemarda Alba is Federico Garcia Lorca's last play, written the year he was killed at the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War. The play, along with Blood Wedding and Yerma, forms a trilogy expressing what Lorca saw as the tragic life of Spanish women. These late works Dennis Klein in Blood Wedding, Yerma, and The House of Bernardo Alba called "the most accomplished and mature efforts of the finest Spanish playwright of the twentieth century." If Blood Wedding is a nuptial tragedy and Yerma the tragedy of barren women, The House of Bemarda Alba might be seen as the tragedy of virginity, of rural Spanish women who will never have the opportunity to choose a husband. It is also a play expressing the costs of repressing the freedom of others.
The House of Bemarda Alba finally had its stage premiere nearly a decade after Lorca's death. The play was produced in Buenos Aries in 1945, and was published the same year, in Argentina. The play later had important productions at the ANTA Theater, New York, in 1951 and the Crescent Theatre, Birmingham, England, in 1952. In 1960 it was adapted for American television and in 1963 produced at the Encore Theater in San Francisco. Given the repression of artistic expression in Spain during Franco's regime, it was not until 1964 that Lorca's last play was finally produced in his native country, at Madrid's Goya Theatre. The House of Bemarda Alba continues to be revived and read all over the world. Its setting is specific to the values and customs of a rural Spanish people, but the play's appeal is universal rather than national. In the United States, the play has been enjoyed in both English and Spanish productions.
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