Bernarda's Stick

(8-Channel Fixed Media Opera)

I work another dramatic scene from Lorca’s play, creating an 8-channel, entirely fixed media piece with the central beat being the sound of a stick banging on the floor — this is the way Bernarda expresses her impatience and frustration or bullies her servant. The sound can also be attributed to the stallion kicking its hooves against the barn door, a noise that frustrates Bernarda prior to the chaos that ensues when she attempts to kill Adela’s secret lover.

The sound of the trapped stallion, the stick and eventually church bells all coalesce to give voice to the repression, suffering and restlessness engendered by Bernarda’s (and societal) dictates. Later in the piece I create my own version of a hymn using Lorca’s words about the sacrificial lamb, a lament that Adela’s grandmother recites. 

Lorca wrote so much about the challenges of shame culture (vergüenza) for women in his time. In today’s society, there is still much shame for marginalised groups - Lorca’s texts are a fantastic source to return to in the 21 st Century.

Recordings by Amy Kearsley, Laura Coppinger, and Patrick Shepherd