In the first scene of Yerma, as I director, I would direct my Yerma in certain ways to represent my perception of Lorca’s character. I would have to take in to consideration the setting time and place of the play in order to direct successfully. The foremost factor to consider before going into detail in a directorial sense would be Yerma’s age and appearance. I would firstly have her played by someone in their 20’s, someone youthful. This is not only what Lorca hints at within the play, but as well as this it defines the need to have children in that society, with pressures beginning at quite a young age.
I would have her medium height with quite a feminine build, with long dark hair and olive skin. The most influential reason for this is that it’s of the stereotypical appearance of Spanish woman. Not only this, but it portrays her femininity, her ability to conceive children over her husband. At the same time, I would want her to have a delicate frame and to be facially pretty to display her vulnerability inside over her barrenness. Throughout the play, I would want Yerma to move in an almost poetical way. Her gait would be quite elegant, but at the same time, also very shyly.
Taking small movements. This would again depict her femininity as well as her embarrassment of not have a child because it shows her lack of confidence. I would want her to have a Spanish accent, obviously displaying her origins and the setting of the play. When she is talking to Juan, I would have her be quite fast in pace to show how she’s nervous around him, she feels as though she has not provided what a woman should for him, therefore feels inadequate. However, when she talks to Victor or is singing/speaking one of her poems; I would have her being a lot more relaxed, more graceful and slow.
This would show how perhaps, Victor is the man she lusts for, and Juan is just the man to give her a child, as well as how wrapped up in having a child she is, when she talks of having a child, she’s taken into another world. At the very beginning of the play, I would have her sitting on the floor, with both her head and arms resting onto a chair. Her legs would be bent towards the chair of which would be silhouetted underneath a nightgown. This is almost how you would expect a little girl to sit.
It is quite childish and depicts both the patriotic society as she is on the floor, not sitting on a chair like you would expect, women being lower down as well as again her age and how that links with the age they should be having children in the society. Her vulnerability is shown in quite a girly pose. When the little boy enters from her dream; I would have her look at him with desperate eyes and then as he leaves, stretch her arm out to him. This portrays even when she is not conscious of her actions, she still has a child foremost in her mind.
Together with the wanting look in her eyes, it lets the audience conjure up just how important this baby; preferably a boy is to her. When Yerma begins to sing, it is the first time the audience has seen this happen, and I want them to be taken almost into the other world Yerma takes herself when she sings this song. It would be very peaceful and quite quiet. She would remain seated how she was when the boy entered, but now twiddling with her hair, splayed across the chair. This would show how she desperately wants this child, and how she is although perhaps barren, very feminine and youthful.
This would show the audience that it’s maybe Juan who cannot conceive. However, immediately when she begins to speak to Juan, it’s almost as though she leaves the hypnotic state and comes back to reality. I would have her jump up from the floor and rush over to call off stage to Juan, stuttering slightly to portray her nervousness. I would have Yerma create emphasises upon the line ‘Don’t you want this milk? ‘ This is a very maternal line, in that milk is mother milk. It’s almost as though she replaces her child for Juan and wants to care for him how she would for her unborn son.
This creates the atmosphere of just how important it is to have a child in the Spanish village in the 1930’s. When Yerma begins to talk of her husbands thinness, on the line ‘But look at your face now! ‘ I would have her stroke his chin and look deeply into his eyes. This firstly is quite patronising, again talking as though he is her child so it would be important to stress this with the stroking movement. As well as this, the actual dialogue suggests Juan is not himself manly enough to bare children. She wants him to become stronger, in hopes to conceive a child.
This depicts her complete desperate need, or hunger for a child and perhaps her sheer embarrassment of not yet have a child after Twenty four months, she wants to blame someone else. On the line ‘Every year… Just the two… year,’ I would have Yerma turn away from Juan and walk into the centre of the stage, looking bewildered and almost hypnotic. She would lower her arms from her chest and hold her belly. Being centres stage all alone, would represent the emptiness in her heart with lack of child how she certainly does not want it to be the same old repetitive cycle year after year.
Again the eyes looking at nothing would be as though she is going back into the dream world she creates when she goes into song. This shows the audience she is not what or where she wants to be, and is deeply unhappy. The mere fact she is holding her belly, physically demonstrates she wants to have something grow inside her, without even mentioning it verbally. It is symbolic with pregnancy, and symbolism being very important within Lorca’s writing. When Yerma then begins to tell Juan of how she loves him, she would run back towards him a throw her arms around him, and speak emphatically.
She would say it quickly and quite high pitched. This would portray how she’s the one giving all the love in the relationship, and how in fact she’s a very loving person. But at the same time, when she throws herself on him, its almost suffocating for Juan, and not how one should hug their lover, more how one should hug their child. This again supports the idea of how Juan in her mind is the only person she can look after in a maternal sense. The speed and pitch represent of how she almost feels she has to say, not that she wants too. ‘People say mustard’ is another very important line in this scene.
It delivers the poetical message across the audience. How Yerma is very musical and dreamy in her speech. As well as this it reflects her own perceptions of herself. She has no confidence in herself, and although she is saying that what other r saying about her; it too what she thinks of herself. Therefore again, she should walk away from Juan, her only route to having a son and rub her body or more like scratch her face and body in disgust. This shows how she feels inadequate and how she doesn’t deserve a son, pushing her dream (Juan) away from her.
How she herself can’t bare to touch herself, how could her husband. All Yerma really wants is love, not the materialistic objects her husband provides. When Juan leaves, again Yerma begins to sing and go back off into her other world. The one she really wants to live in. This time she would sit on the chair and begin to knit. This shows the patriotic society again, and how when Juan is not around she is more relaxed. However when Maria enters, se drops her materials and runs towards Maria happily. She being a woman and someone that cares for her is a breath of fresh air for Yerma and she is so relieved to see her.
When Maria tells Yerma she went to the shop, she does not automatically assume that Maria is pregnant. ‘Are you going to make a new blouse? ‘ Either she is hoping she is not pregnant because it is too painful for her to consider, or the fact she has waited so long and tried so hard, she doesn’t physically someone can fall pregnant like that. The entire time she is talking to Maria, there would be a look in her eyes of both envy and jealousy. She is thrilled because of her maternal instincts, but at the same time, Maria has something she deeply desires and cannot have.
To depict this I would have her constantly stroking Maria’s face and rubbing her belly and face in complete awe and admiration. Now it is Maria who is the closest thing to her child. The nearest thing for her to cradle. Therefore it is almost as though she is now smothering Maria. However at the same time, she is now idolising and looking up to Maria ,therefore when she begins to ask Maria what it is like, she pulls herself back and distances herself slightly, in the revelation it is not her baby and reminds her how she in her own mind is not feminine or womanly enough to be cradling.
She has ambivalent feelings of both joy and jealousy. I would have Yerma being quite straight forward and constantly asking questions in detail. Her pitch would be quite low to depict her jealousy because it is in contrast to her nervous high pitch voice. As well as it being manlier, this is how she perceives herself in not having a child. The constant inquisitiveness displays her desperation.