Domineering matriarch Bernarda Alba prepares her house for eight years of mourning following the death of her husband. The upcoming isolation raises tensions between her five daughters: Angustias, Magdalena, Amelia, Martirio, and Adela--all unattractive with very few prospects beyond Bernarda’s unforgiving control. But Angustias has an opportunity to break free: Young local bachelor Pepe el Romano agrees to marry her, despite their laughable age difference. Her sisters’ bitterness and jealousy grows as everyone recognizes Pepe is only after Angustias’ inheritance. Youngest sister Adela is even more defiant and volatile after the engagement; she holds a passionate secret that brings on her tragic end.
The House of Bernarda Alba, written in 1936 shortly before Federico García Lorca’s death in the Spanish Civil War, presents a bleak glimpse of rural Spanish life. The wealthy, such as Bernarda Alba, maintain stingy control of everything and everyone around them, while the poor argue over scraps from the table. Often grouped with the plays Blood Wedding and Yerma as a “rural” trilogy, The House of Bernarda Alba examines a world without men that demands conformity, repression, and sacrifice from the women who desperately want hope for their futures.
The House of Bernarda Alba guide sections