October 14, 2004


By Garcia Lorca
By Garcia Lorca

Director: Michael Griggs
Set Designer: Tim Stapleton
Costume Designer: Annie Van Thillo
Lighting Designer: Jeff Forbes
Composer/Musician: Felipe Gomez

Yerma had its world premiere in Madrid on December 29, 1934, and it was huge critical and popular success. At the same time, it was extremely controversial, and opening night was nearly disrupted by protestors in the audience. The play went on to huge triumphs in Barcelona, Havana, and on tour in Mexico.

Set in AndalucÌa, southern Spain in the 1930s, the play follows the story of Yerma, a young wife frustrated because she is in a childless marriage. The play, which the author calls “A tragic poem in three acts and six scenes,” follows her efforts over several years to remedy this situation and to find her identity as a woman in a repressed rural village. The play explores themes of sexuality, marriage, gender roles, motherhood, trust, and honor. It reflects many of the social tensions in Spain of this period, tensions that within two years would erupt into civil war and result in the execution of its author in 1936 at the age of 38.

With this work, Lorca was trying to create a new form of modern tragedy, including the use of chorus, based on contemporary social issues, and deeply rooted in the ancient culture of AndalucÌa. He created a play of poetic intensity that revolutionized Spanish language theatre of the time. The play features powerful poetic language, eight songs, for which we are composing original music based on Spanish folk music, and two chorus scenes featuring choreographed musical numbers.