THE HOUSE OF BERNARDA ALBA


 

This play is, perhaps, the closest thing to a greek tragedy to emerge from Spanish theatre during the twentieth cetury. At the same time, however, the situation of confinement, in which the matriarch supports her whole family could result in delirium. Pepa Gamboa gambled on being able to draw out the authenticity, spontaneity, humour, generosity and tremendous energy of the women who perform the play. The impossibility faced by the iliterate women, most of whom had only set foot in a theatre once before, of retaining a script has not proved to be a problem. Indeed, Lora´s presence is felt in every look, every step, every action in the play which was confirmed by the playwright´s niece Laura, who atended the premiere of the performance and asserted that this was the most authentic version of The house of Bernarda Alba that she had ever seen performed.

The eight gypsy women, who live enclosed within the walls of the oldest shanty settlement in Europe have managed to create a sense of catarsis among each and every one of the thousands of audience members who come to see them. They reward each performance of what critics have unanimously hailed as “the most moving opening night that Seville has seen for a long time”, and, “one of the greatest successes of the Spanish theatre season”, with a standing ovation lasting several minutes.

2010 was designated as the year for fighting social exclusion and poverty in Europe and the production made an extensive tour performing, amongst other places, at the prestigious Teatro Español in Madrid. Barely had the new year started before they received the Premio El Público from CanalSur. This production stands as the biggestest testament to, and indeed the finest example of, our motto. As we said in our acceptance speech when receiving the Premio Nacional de Teatro (National Prize for Theatre) – it is clear that “other forms of theatre are posible” is now a reality.