Quote Of The Day

"Victory goes to the player who makes the next-to-last mistake - Chessmaster Savielly Grigorievitch Tartakower (1887-1956)"

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

The House of Bernarda Alba @ Lyttelton Theatre...

Last Friday night Stuart and I went to see The House of Bernarda Alba starring Olivier Award-winner Harriet Walter, at the National Theatre on London glitzy South Bank.
The House of Bernarda Alba is a 1936 play by the Spanish dramatist Federico García Lorca - often grouped with his plays Blood Wedding and the excellent Yerma as a "rural trilogy". The play centres on the events of a house in Andalusia during a period of mourning, in which domineering mother Bernarda Alba (Walter) wields total control over her five daughters Angustias, Magdalena, Amelia, Martirio, and Adela. The housekeeper (La Poncia) and Bernarda's elderly mother (María Josefa) also live there. 
The deliberate exclusion of any male character from the action (save the mysterious ghost-like figure of Pepe "el Romano", the love interest of Bernarda's daughters and suitor of Angustias) helps build up the high level of sexual tension that is present throughout the play. 
The play explores themes of cruelty, repression, passion, and conformity, and inspects the effects of men upon women. 
But was it any good? Sort of. I guess it was okay. The acting was great, but to be honest, the melodrama was just all a bit too mellow for my taste. 
I wasn't exactly expecting exploding helicopters but the 'mothers being mean to daughters' story line, however true to life, didn't really go anywhere. Indeed, however true the trope, it perhaps needed a little bit more colour. A bit more humour. Or even dare I say, for something more dramatic to happen. And unflattering echoes of Little Women and The Beguiled didn’t help either. 
“You’re not going out like that!” “Don’t talk to any strange men!” “My house, my rules!”  Yeah, yeah.
We cottoned on to the ending the moment we saw Checkov’s Gun hanging centre stage. Or did we?
García Lorca real life is probably more interesting than the play to be honest. He was a big fan of Salvador Dali. He allegedly made a pass at him, but was rejected. He was assassinated by Nationalist forces at the beginning of the Spanish Civil War. Some say he was targeted for being gay, a socialist, or both.


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