For many years Franco's government attempted to eradicate the memory of Lorca--his books were prohibited, a ban that was not officially rescinded until 1971. Given the subsequent circumstances of Lorca's tragic end, it is difficult not see his play as both a tale of a controlling woman in a man's world, and as a political allegory.
The title character in the musical, played by Phylicia Rashad, proclaims that she and her household--her five grown daughters, her mother, her servants--will observe a long period of mourning, following the funeral of her second husband. "Not a breath of outside air is going to enter this house," Bernarda declares. "It's going to feel like we've bricked up the doors and windows."
The outside world of their village, however, seeps in. Despite Bernarda's tyrannical measures the daughters' desires collide with their mother's iron rule. Simply set on an almost bare stage to music inspired by the rhythms of flamenco, BERNARDA ALBA tells a story of longing, despair and desire.
Composer/Lyricist Michael John LaChiusa (Marie Christine, Hello Again) brought the world premiere of BERNARDA ALBA to the Newhouse, an ideally intimate setting for the piece.