Singing, dancing and despair
This article is from 2008.
Lorca’s play, widely regarded as a metaphor for the Spanish civil war, deals with grand themes of honour, passion, desperation and love. In the Spanish campo, Yerma is unable to conceive with a husband she does not love and feels entombed in her house and her life. In a society that associates morality with fertility and reveres honour above all, Yerma’s barren existence gives way to untold anguish.
Teatro dei Borgia’s multi-lingual production transports the audience into a world where women are rigidly bound to their husbands and families. The Italian ensemble injects an invigorating dose of energy and passion into proceedings, while the rhythmic drumming and clapping, combined with harmonised singing and precise, evocative movement creates the heat and fervour required to make the melodrama sizzle.
Using a simple set of white chairs, the company succeeds in weaving a compelling imagined world around Yerma’s torment. Another clever stroke is casting a male performer in the lead role, which creates a disarming symbol of Yerma’s torment as she struggles with her identity. A mesmerising vision of one woman’s torment.
Pleasance Dome, 556 6550, until 24 Aug, 2.35pm, £9.50–£11 (£8–£9.50).