An essay collection about women’s desire not to have children, published earlier this year, carried the heavy title Selfish, Shallow, and Self-Absorbed. Eighty years before that, Spanish poet and dramatist Federico García Lorca published Yerma, a play about the desire for motherhood that carries an equally burdensome English title: Barren. GALA Hispanic Theatre opens its season with a contemporary update of Lorca’s tale about a woman unable to bear children and how the demanding cultural forces around her result in rash and dramatic choices. Times have changed, but the play’s underlying message—that unfulfilled or ignored desires can lead to destruction—remains relevant to many. José Luis Arellano García, an acclaimed Madrid-based director, leads GALA’s production and imbues it with a sense of Spanish culture that will force audiences to consider the severity of Lorca’s poetic work. The play runs Sept. 10 to Oct. 4 at GALA Hispanic Theatre, 3333 14th St. NW. $20–$42. (202) 234-7174.

Photo by Stan Weinstein