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Lorca and Chekhov

Spanish writer Federico García Lorca (1898-1936) wrote plays and poetry. Twice he directly took up Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet in El Público and A Midsummer Night’s Dream in Comedia Sin Título. He is associated with surrealism and was a member of la Generación de 27. His touring theatre group, La Barraca, was an inspiration for Joe Papp’s Mobile Theater.

 

The dramatic works of Anton Chekhov (1860-1904) mark key influences in the development of theatrical modernism. His plays depict interpersonal relationships and characters communicate outside of the dialogue, helping to shape Konstantin Stanislavski’s notion of subtext. His four plays include The Seagull, Uncle Vanya, Three Sisters, and The Cherry Orchard.

Scroll down or press the following links for adaptations of Lorca and Chekhov.

Lorca

The Day of the Swallows
by Estela Portillo-Trambley

This 1971 adaptation of La Casa de Bernarda Alba includes a Chicanx setting and a Chicana protagonist who left her marriage to a man to find happiness with a woman. Portillo-Trambley was a Chicana writer and teacher from El Paso, and when this play was published in 1972, it was the first play published by a Chicana.

Dark Root of a Scream
by Luis Valdez

Valdez’s 1971 adaptation of Bodas de Sangre is a one-act play set during the Vietnam War and addresses the Chicanx who fought in the war. It includes Aztec myth and social-political critique. In 2004, it was staged in an updated setting of the setting of the Iraq War.

Blood Wedding
by María Irene Fornés

Fornés adapted and translated Bodas de Sangre in 1980, and It was presented at INTAR and directed by Max Ferra. The adaptation included music by Francisco Zumaque and lyrics adapted by Brenda Feliciano.

Another Part of the House
by Migdalia Cruz

This adaptation of La Casa de Bernarda Alba premiered at Classic Stage Company in New York in 1997. Cruz transposes the action to Cuba in 1895, writes in more for the grandmother role, and comments on the repercussions of fascism.

Ephemera courtesy of Migdalia Cruz

Lorca in a Green Dress
by Nilo Cruz

Nilo Cruz’s 2003 exploration of Lorca has the titular character played by five actors at different stages of his life. The action is set in 1936 after Lorca has been assassinated with Lorca in between life and death and a great deal of surrealism.

Alvarado’s contemporary retelling of Bodas de Sangre was staged in 2011.

Sangre
by Mando Alvarado

Bernie's Apartment by Rose Cano

Bernie's Apartment
by Rose Cano

Cano’s contemporary play inspired by La Casa de Bernarda Alba transposes the troubles of the family of women to the legacies of deportation and imprisonment. It was first produced in 2016 by eSe Teatro and ACTLab.

Image courtesy of ACT Theatre
Photograpy by Maryssa Lagervall
¡Bernarda! by Emilio Williams; Lorca adaptation; Teatro Vista; La Casa de Bernarda Alba; Latino theatre

¡Bernarda!
by Emilio Williams

Williams' queer and femme play based on La Casa de Bernarda Alba includes modernized dialogue, stylized choreography, and an "ambiguous, mythical" time and space. It premiered at Teatro Vista in 2023, directed by Wendy Mateo. 

Image courtesy of Teatro Vista
Graphic design by Gabe Ruiz.

Chekhov

Tres Flores
by Ricardo Bracho

Ricardo Bracho adapted Three Sisters as Tres Flores.

Drowning
by María Irene Fornés

In 1985, Fornés wrote the play, Drowning, based on one of Chekhov’s short stories. It was part of The Acting Company’s collection of seven plays, Orchards. In 1987, she directed and adapted Uncle Vanya at Classic Stage Company in New York (translation by Marian Fell).

The Coffee Trees
by Arthur Giron

The Cherry Orchard was adapted as The Coffee Trees by Arthur Giron. Giron was Guatemalan-American and he set the action on a Guatemalan coffee plantation after the Guatemalan Civil War (1960-96). It was first performed in 2007 and ran in repertory with The Cherry Orchard through Resonance Ensemble in New York.

El Nogalar
by Tanya Saracho

Mexican playwright (and now Hollywood showrunner) Tanya Saracho reimagined The Cherry Orchard as El Nogalar, and Saracho set the action amidst Mexico’s drug wars. The play was produced by Teatro Vista and first premiered at The Goodman in Chicago in 2011.

All ephemera courtesy of The Fountain Theatre
from their 2012 production directed by Laurie Woolery

Grove
by Satya Bhabha

In 2020, as part of Noise Now’s second year (a cultural initiative from A Noise Within theater in Pasadena, CA) of programming, Satya Bhabha presented a work-in-progress of Grove, an adaptation of The Cherry Orchard shifted to Latinx in California.

The Palacios Sisters by Cristina García

The Palacios Sisters
by Cristina García

Cristina García’s 2021 radionovela, The Palacios Sisters, was inspired by Three Sisters. García set the action in 1985 in Miami among drug violence and the outset of the AIDS crisis, with the three sisters as newly-arrived from Havana.

Courtesy of Brava! for Women in the Arts
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