Señora Carrar's Rifles

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Bertolt Brecht translated by Wolfgang Sauerlander

DOI: 10.5040/9781408168981.00000026
Roles: Male (6) , Female (4) , Neutral (0)

Partly based on John Millington Synge's Riders to the Sea, Señora Carrar's Rifles transposes the Irish play of the early twentieth century to mid-century Andalucia. There, a fisherwoman named Teresa Carrar is trying desperately to maintain a normal life even as the civil war closes in around her; having killed her husband it proposes now to sweep up her two sons as well.

Señora Carrar hopes to insulate her boys from the fighting, believing she can keep her head down, sew nets and send the boats out, and the war need not touch them. But tragedy strikes her eldest on the waves, causing her to rethink her position of non-engagement.

Written as an Aristotelian drama, based on empathy, rather than Brecht's own theories of Epic theatre, Señora Carrar's Rifles is one of Brecht's more immediately accessible plays. It premiered in Paris, 1937, with Brecht's wife Helene Weigel playing the lead.