The House of Bernarda Alba

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The House of Bernarda Alba

The National theatre

Choose one production that you have seen and which you particularly

enjoyed and discuss the aspects which made it so successful?

The House of Bernarda Alba is a tragedy by Lorca which was set in

Spain in the early 1930’s during the Spanish civil war and is about

five daughters whose life’s resolve around their mother Bernarda Alba.

The girls are repressed by there mother which could be why he wrote

this play, to express his feelings and show through the characters how

he felt during life as he was repressed for being gay “better never to

lay eyes on a man, never to have seen one’.

I enjoyed ‘The House of Bernarda Alba’ as many aspects of the play

were successful.

There was a large, complicated realistic set like Stanislavski would

use with period costumes and props which allowed the audience to see

it visually which helped believability in the play as it contributed

to the realistic acting. It helped you feel like you were in Spain, as

a hot climate was suggested through the set; it was exotic, light and

Spanish looking. The props gave a sense of the period the play was set

for example the radio, the bell, the wash basin and the sewing

machines were all authentic.

The set was in Bernarda Alba’s house which was a grand mansion with a

gilt, lofty ceiling. I think the towering interior clearly represented

the distorted mind of Bernarda Alba. The house was a very open, free

place for the girls to roam around in. It had a courtyard in the

centre, light green walls making it seem larger and many plants,

showing the outside was brought inside. I felt this was a success as

the set showed how Bernarda Alba didn’t want the girls to leave the

house as there were closed shutters down to the floor; this showed the

girls were isolated from the outside world. The set designer has

evidently striven to create a physical space which represented

psychological unease

There were four stone pillars which I feel could have represented four

of the daughters and the last daughter was represented by the drain

shaped as a cross on the courtyard, which showed she died. I also felt

that the pillars were successful as they might signify the house is

like a prison for the girls, and they are the bars. There were two

stained glass windows one which was broken which gave a sense that

once the...

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... came across as

controlling by her strict tone of voice. It was successful the way

the director showed the girls as fearful of the mother. Every time

someone would stroll in the room they would jump as they thought it

was their mother and if their mother did come in they would sit down

immediately and sit in silence sewing. If their mother asked them a

question you would hear a fearful tremble in their voice as they

replied showing they lived in fear of their mother. Another way in

which the actors of the girls were effective is the way they reacted

to men. The only men the girls would ever see apart from their father,

was the man who delivers the fabric. So in the play when Pepe came to

the door all the girls would get excited and start jumpy around

screaming as they ran out the door.

I feel this play was generally a very successful piece of realistic

drama because of the set, costumes, lighting and the acting. It had a

detailed set and several strong actors which helped bring the play to

life as well as real rain at the end to create a dramatic effect. Long

silences were used in the play to produce tension and it used comedy

and tragedy to engage the audience.

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