Review: YERMA at Shotgun Players

By: May. 29, 2023
Review: YERMA at Shotgun Players


Adapted and translated by Melinda Lopez

Based on the play by Federico Garcia Lorca

Directed by Katja Rivera

Shotgun Players

Federico Garcia Lorca’s florid poetry flows throughout this adaptation of Yerma, a tragic story of all-consuming longing. Lopez’s adaptation moves the locale to Southern California’s rural Mexican American community where old traditions particularly male-female dynamics play out in a sensual, beautifully staged fable. Yerma, played with emotional rawness by Regina Morones, is trapped in a barren marriage with rancher husband Juan (Caleb Cabrera) whom she loves dearly, and we witness her struggle to deliver a child and the reactions of her community through an original score by Sebastian Gutierrez and Lorca’s own desire for progeny.

Review: YERMA at Shotgun Players
Regina Morones as Yerma, Caleb Cabrera as Juan

Lorca, a homosexual, may have felt a natural longing for companionship and perhaps a legacy that seemed impossible. His Yerma’s greatest desire is squashed as was his (Lorca was murdered by Spanish right-wing militants) and her pain and anguish are palpable. Her husband is fine with their childless life, she’s all he needs and wants. Yerma’s best friend Maria (Alejandra Wahl) is a baby machine, popping them out effortlessly compounding the issues of legacy and motherhood.

Review: YERMA at Shotgun Players
Linda Maria Girón as Marta, Mylo Cardona as VeronicaRegina Morones as Yerma, Linda Amayo-Hassan as Incarnación, Alejandra Wahl as Maria

Director Rivera stages the play in a beautiful dreamlike style, allowing the poetry to flash like daggers dripping off Yerma’s tongue. The supporting female ensemble (Aisha Aurora Rivera, Linda Maria Giron, Mylo Cardona, and Linda Amayo-Hassan) exhibit the Latina facets of their roles- motherhood and the chores of the home. The men are workers, yet free. Yerma experiences ever diminishing hope while her desire escalates. Yerma goes to see the town fertility shaman and struggles with staying with her husband or the real love of her life, the handsome shepherd Victor (Samuel Prince).

Review: YERMA at Shotgun Players
Alejandra Wahl as MariaRegina Morones as Yerma, Samuel Prince as Victor, Linda Maria Girón as Marta

Yermas’ trapped by her circumstances and her cultural morays. Seeking council from the learned Incarnacion, she’s told to sew her would oats outside the marriage, an act Yerma cannot abide. She’s monogamous and committed to her husband and it’s not made clear what the problem with pregnancy really is. What happens when hope is extinguished?

Yerma deals with isolation, passion, and desire with tragic consequences. With its strong performances, lovely staging, set by Nina Ball and costumes by Valera Coble, Yerma is dramatic poetry at its finest.

Yerma continues through June 25th. Tickets can be purchased at or by calling (510) 841-6500.

Photo Credit: Robbie Sweeny

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