La Casa de Bernarda Alba (1936)

Federico Garcia Lorca

Act One: Action: On the day of the funeral of Don Antonio, Bernarda declares an eight year period of mourning before she will allow any of her daughters to be seen in public. But the daughters have already begun fantasizing, some even taking preliminary actions, to throw off this oppression and express their passion freely.

•                    La Poncia eats sausage and rejoices. She dreams of the day when she will finally be able to spit on Bernarda, that lizard woman. (5)

•                    The Maid drives off the beggars and then weeps for Don Antonio, her lost master/lover. (7)

•                    Bernarda enters in mourning accompanied by all of the village's women, who open their fans en masse. (8)

•                    Bernarda derides Pepe el Romano, but she mentions him publicly. (9)

•                    Te Deum (10-11)

•                    The Village Women exit; the Men can still be heard drinking and gossiping beyond the walls. (12)

•                    Bernarda proclaims an eight year period of mourning for her daughters. “That is how it is for women of means.” (13)

•                    Adela  tattles, and Angustias is beaten for eavesdropping on the men gossiping beyond the walls. (15-16)

•                    Once alone, La Poncia informs Bernarda of the content of the men's gossip: the latest exploits of Paca la Roseta, the town slut, who has spent the evening with workers. (16-17)

•                    Bernarda asserts her determination to preserve the family's honor at all costs. (18-19)

•                    The hunchback Martirio and Amelia talk of Adelaida's fiancιe, Adelaida's scandalous father, and then of the man in the corral and Enrique Humanas. (19-20)

•                    Magdalena hints at the secret contest between Angustias and Adela for Pepe el Romano. (22-23)

•                    Adela flirts with the chickens in her green skirt and swears that she will 'go out'. (24-25)

•                    Pepe el Romano passes in the street. (26-27)

•                    Why has Bernarda arranged the will so that Angustias gets almost everything? (27-28)

•                    Bernarda scubs makeup off of Angustias's face. (27-28)

•                    Maria Josepha escapes, and decked out in flowers demands that she be allowed to go out to find a husband by the sea. (28-29)

Act Two: La Poncia encourages the girls to dream, but she seeks to prevent Adela from acting on her fantasies. Bernarda believes she has everything under control until La Poncia forces her to see the truth.

•                    The daughters sew their trousseaus, creating special bordered clothing for their sisters' weddings. (30-31)

•                    La Poncia questions Angustias about her moonlit meeting with Pepe el Romano. (31-32)

•                    La Poncia tells the girls about how she was wooed by Evarista the Birdman and then decribes how she taught him to respect her-- by taking a hammer to his canaries. (33-35)

•                    Adela declares that she can do as she pleases with her own body. (35)

•                    La Poncia seeks out the truth from Adela: how far has she gone in her illicit meetings with Pepe el Romano? Could she be planning to break the ultimate taboo and actually sacrifice her virtue to him? Adela boldly states that she plans to run away and live as Pepe's mistress if he must marry Angustias. (36-38)

•                    Poncia gives Adela a lesson in real politik. Angustias is thin and sickly: she will never survive child birth. Adela must be patient and wait; then Pepe will be free to marry her. That way we all win! Adela responds, " I used to be afraid of you but I am stronger than you are now....See if you can catch the rabbit with your hands." (38-39)

•                    Poncia describes the migrant reapers' bodies as hard, tightly packed as a sheaf of wheat' as the Reapers march past the house singing their enticing song. (41-42)

•                    Angustias bursts on stage to announce that her picture of Pepe el Romano has been stolen from beneath her pillow. She demands its return. (46)

•                    Bernarda enters and discovers that it was Martirio who has stolen the picture. Bernarda beats her.  (48)

•                    Adela threatens Bernarda: she will strip naked and let the river sweep her away (yet still Bernarda does not see.) (49-50)

•                    Bernarda announces her plan to get Pepe el Romano out of town, not Angustias. (50-51)

•                    La Poncia asks why Bernarda never allowed Martirio to marry Enrique la Humanas. (52-53)

•                    Bernarda puts La Poncia in her place. (53)

•                    Poncia forces Bernarda to see the truth. (54-55)

•                    Librada's daughter is stoned to death in the street. (The dogs have dug up her buried child.) (57-59)

Act Three: Night. The bells of the rosary are heard, interrupted by the hooves of the stallion, smashing apart its stable so that it can get to the mares in heat.

•                    Bernarda and her daughters are at dinner with Prudencia. They talk of Prudencia's disobedient daughter who has never been forgiven by her father. (The Stallion kicks the door of its stall.) (60-61))

•                    The girls keep their eyes on Adela. Bernarda orders Angustias to make up with Martirio (at least, to keep up appearances). She instructs Angustias to be silent and obedient with her husband. (65)

•                    Adela describes the white stallion in the corral (with stars overhead as big as fists.) Martirio realizes that something is up when she hears that Pepe has left on a trip. Bernarda's plan is to get Pepe away! (66-67)

•                    Bernarda ridicules Poncia for her suspicions and ugly gossip. She refuses to see! (68-69)

•                    Poncia and the Maid acknowledge that the storm is about to break. Dogs bark, breaking the silence, and Adela passes in a white nightgown, resolved to act. (70-71)

•                    Maria Josepha crosses, carrying a lamb in her arms, singing a fractured lullaby about escaping with her baby to the sea and beyond, to the palms at Bethlehem's gate. She pounds on the door demanding her freedom. Martirio comforts her, and Maria Josepha describes how life should be (72-74)

•                    Martirio confronts Adela  whose hair is disheveled and declares proudly that she is strong enough for happiness. Adela forces Martirio to admit her love. Adela declares that she will let Pepe carry her away to the sea and proclaims that she will be what he wants her to be. "I'll wear the crown of thorns that belongs to the mistress of married men." (the ultimate taboo) (75-76)

•                    The whistle, (77) Martirio betrays Adela. Adela breaks Bernarda's staff. (78) Bernarda cries for her gun not for Adela but to kill Pepe (that's her ultimate ace in the hole.) Bernarda misses, but Martirio lies (79) and tells her that she got him. Adela hangs herself, and Bernarda proclaims to all that she died a virgin! (80-81)