Who’s in the house?

editorial image

MARKING 75 years since the death of Spanish dramatist Federico Garcia Lorca, Red Dog Theatre Company brings his final masterpiece – The House of Bernarda Alba – to Hemel’s Old Town Hall Theatre on Tuesday, November 15, for two nights only.

Lorca’s last play, which was completed just a couple of months before his murder by the Nationalists during the Spanish Civil War, centres on the events of a household in Andalusia.

After the death of her second husband the controlling Bernarda Alba imposes an eight-year period of mourning on the family.

Her five daughters, who are already isolated as a result of their mother, become even more shut off from society and tension mounts.

Director Sue Culverd said: “We wanted to do the play because it’s so dramatic, a fantastically dramatic story and a beautiful piece of writing.

“It’s very real and people can empathise with it today.”

With a bold and contemporary style Red Dog is renowned for blurring the lines between visual art and theatre, working with textile designers, as well as video and installation artists to produce extraordinary work that can be enjoyed on lots of levels.

The set, which is designed by mixed-media textile artist and graduate of Central St Martins Corinne Hockley, is based on Andalusian architecture.

She’s constructed a cage with a shawl-like dome over the top, to reflect the shawls the characters wear.

Observant members of the audience will also notice the detail of some of the cast’s costumes.

The wealthiest of the sisters Angustias, for example, has euros all over her outfits.

The impeccable attention to detail continues with translator Kate Littlewood, who actually translated the play into English while in Andalucia.

She said: “The most resonant thing about the play is that you can go into any white village in certain parts of Andalucia and you see these themes being played out.

“Obviously they’ve been diluted now but the emphasis on exteriors, doing things at the right moment, in the right way… the behaviour of the women, their humour, how they drop their guard when the men are not around, but when the men are around they’re on parade and they behave in a different way – one still sees all that, and that of course goes right to the heart of Bernarda Alba.”

With themes as relevant today as they ever were don’t miss what is certain to be a stunning theatrical journey into the imagination of a great poetic writer.

Red Dog’s touring production of The House of Bernarda Alba will be at the Old Town Hall Theatre in Hemel Hempstead from Tuesday, November 15 to Wednesday, November 16, with performances starting at 8pm.

Call the box office on 01442 228091 for tickets or go to www.oldtownhall.co.uk.