‘House of Bernarda Alba’ Presented on Campus

The Deanship of Students’ Affairs and the Folk Theatre presented "The House of Bernarda Alba,” a play written by Spanish Dramatist Federico Garcia Lorca and directed by Fathi Abdul Rahman. 

The play, performed in the Kamal Nasir Assembly Hall, was written in 1936 when the Spanish civil war broke out. Critics categorize the play as a rural melodrama that tackles topics relating to tyranny, humiliation, submission and women who are twice punished.

“The events take place in one of Spain’s rural areas during the thirties of the last century,” Director Abdul Rahman said. “Upon her second husband's death, domineering matriarch Bernarda Alba imposes an eight-year mourning period on her household in accordance with her family tradition. Bernarda has five daughters, ages 20 to 39, whom she has controlled inexorably and prohibited from any form of relationship. She isolates her daughters completely and bans them from interacting with the outside world, vowing that ‘not a breath of air will get in this house from the street.’”

The play presents a women-only household, said Abdul Rahman. “These women are deprived of their freedom, isolated behind the bars of their windows exactly like prisoners. They enjoy no civil or women’s rights and are ruled by a woman like them—their harsh and strict mother who controls the house with a fist of iron, turning her daughters’ lives into living hell. In their life, there is no place for joy and laughter and doors and windows must be closed at all times. Even curtains must be lowered and light is not to enter the house.”

Abdul Rahman said the play provides an example of societies that reject life and close in on themselves under the pretext of adhering to tradition and social norms.