In Federico Garcia Lorca’s dark drama, The House of Bernarda Alba, a tyrannical mother in 1930s Spain forces her five daughters into eight years of deep mourning upon the death of their father. In an existence circumscribed by the crumbling walls of the family villa and the brutal patriarchy of rural Spain, the women struggle against an overwhelmingly oppressive world. Written in 1936, Bernarda Alba was Lorca’s last play, finished just a few months before he was executed by a fascist firing squad in the early days of the Spanish Civil War.
In spring 2007, the drama department produced the play from David Hare’s translation. University photographer Russell Cothren followed two master of fine arts students, Adam Miecielica and Andrea Williams, as they designed and produced the set and costumes that set the visual stage for Lorca’s story. On this page, Cothren offers a sample of the photographs he took during the weeks before the play opened.