Lorca's El Maleficio De La Mariposa

Lorca's El Maleficio De La Mariposa

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Lorca's El Maleficio De La Mariposa

Federico Garcia Lorca was a Spanish poet who explored universal themes
of love, lust, death and violence under the semblance of whimsical
tragedies. The self-proclaimed gay had fanciful reveries declaring his
almost child-like take on the chaotic conditions of his time. Although
disguised as nothing more than a dark fairy tale, Lorca's El Maleficio
De La Mariposa, like all his succeeding plays, is replete with
symbolism that is quite impossible to grasp for minds clouded over by
years of the world's sensibilities.

UP's Filipino translation of Lorca's earliest work was entitled Ang
Malupit na Encanto ng Mariposa. I found it puzzling that the actors
delivered English lines when the ticket said that the play was a
Filipino rendition. Besides, the title was in Filipino. My puzzlement
is not over the fact that it was translated at all. The original,
after all, would have been impossible for us to comprehend since it
was in Spanish. But why not in Filipino? Either way, it was
translated. Therefore, some of the scathingly disturbing images of
Lorca's dialogs may have been lost.

However, I do not think the play was in such a serious tone -sad, yes,
but not too high-brow and tight-lipped. It is amazing to think of how
a man like Lorca, who troubles himself with the endeavors and
tragedies of bugs and insects can be considered one of the greatest
poets of the 21st century. The play had the makings of a fairy tale
-what with animals thinking and contriving, a beetle obsessing over
love, and a beautiful butterfly collapsing into their care. It was
enough to make the little girl in me swoon with memories of childhood
dreams, and hope that the beetle, with his troubadourian serenades,
and the butterfly end up together. To add to this effect, the
production was very pretty. Seeing the play through the artistry of
Dulaang UP was a visual delight. The dainty lights overhead the
audience brought us into the enchantment of the beetles over finding a
butterfly in their midst. The choreography, too, moved the fantastic
mood along. I didn't know one could create a whole routine out of
beetles' and scorpions' scamperings.

But amid the loveliness of the set and choreography, I found a terror
in a tragedy that was still beautifully distressing. Here came out the
pain of a longing frustrated by conventions in the young boy beetle's
pining for a love he cannot have. Here is the brilliance of Lorca's
poetry, the way he combines fear (in the scorpions' menacing advances)
and pain (in the love that cannot be reciprocated) with beauty. That
was where my confusion comes in, where I appealed to symbolism to make

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sense of actions onstage that my sensibilities cannot fathom. This is
probably where the critics found the genius in Lorca's work for I have
learned that genius is in the things of which full comprehension is
hard to come by. I had so many questions. For one, what did the death
of both butterfly and beetle mean? It could not be just a story of
star-crossed lovers like Romeo and Juliet? It had to mean something
more. I left the theatre that night with my heart enchanted and my
mind stirred.

In hopes of having even an acute sense of Lorca's brilliance in his
works, I tried to let go of all rigid reasoning and go back to feeling
like a child. In this way, one is able to empathize with his fanciful
tragedies and not worry about how it relates to the wars, or other
worldly concerns. With El Maleficio De La Mariposa, Lorca was able to
portray love and longing for what it is: a conundrum of whims and
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