La Casa de Bernarda Alba - English Translation Act 1

4957 words 20 pages
Cast List
Bernarda, aged sixtyMaría Josefa, (Bernarda’s mother), aged eighty
Angustias, (Bernarda’s daughter), aged thirty-nine
Magdalena, (Bernarda’s daughter), aged thirty
Amelia, (Bernarda’s daughter), aged twenty-seven
Martirio, (Bernarda’s daughter), aged twenty-four
Adela, (Bernarda’s daughter), aged twenty
Servant, aged fifty
La Poncia (a servant), aged sixtyPrudencia, aged fifty
Beggar woman with little girl
Women mourners
Woman 1
Woman 2
Woman 3
Woman 4
Young girl
The poet declares that these three acts are intended as a photographic record.

Act I
(The bright white interior of Bernarda’s house. Thick walls. Arched doorways with canvas curtains edged with tassels and ruffles. Rush chairs. Paintings of
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(The woman leaves. The Servant goes on cleaning.) Polished floors, cupboards, pedestals, iron bed-frames, while those of us who live in a mud hut with only a plate and a spoon have a bitter pill to swallow. I pray for the day when there’s none of us left to tell the tale! (The bells ring out again) Yes, yes, go on ringing! Bring on the box with its gold trimmings and the silk straps to lift it by! We’ll both end up the same! Rot then, Antonio María Benavides, stiff in your wool suit and your tall boots. Rot! You’ll not be lifting my skirts again behind the stable door!(At the back of the stage the Women Mourners enter in pairs. They wear voluminous black skirts and shawls and carry black fans. They enter slowly until they have filled the stage.)
SERVANT: (Beginning to wail) Ay, Antonio María Benavides, never will you see these walls again or eat bread in this house! I was the one of all your servants who loved you most. (Pulling at her hair) Must I live on when you are gone? Must I live on?
(The crowd of women have now entered, and Bernarda appears with her five daughters.)
BERNARDA: (To the Servant) Be silent!
SERVANT: (Weeping) Bernarda!
BERNARDA: Less wailing and more work. You should have made sure this house was clean for the mourners. Go. This isn’t your place. (The Servant exits sobbing.) The poor are like animals. It’s as if they’re made of some other substance.
FIRST WOMAN: The poor have their sorrows too.
BERNARDA: But they forget