An Abellard Welcome

You know you can’t buy, you can’t rent, you can’t be dead here.

Lazy summer afternoon in the living room of an Edwardian house in Flatbush, just past the southern tip of “Prospect-Lefferts Gardens,” on the corner of Bedford and Lenox. The house is surrounded by scaffolding and construction.

The Abellard sisters lounge in the living room. They go away and come back to this configuration, always. The television stays on in the background: latest local news on a 15-minute loop, weather on the 2’s.

Any silence is not silence. There is always the air conditioner’s modest scream, the running script of the news, the inane dialogue of soap opera, a shady confessional, ongoing construction, what is happening on the street, some small creature between the walls breathing.

A Little Bit About

This stupid house filled with good memories and every single disappointment.

It’s summer in Flatbush and the Abellard sisters are in the heat of mourning their father, their neighborhood, and what they thought they knew about their lives. Flames in the forms of desire, longing, and family secrets slowly burn in their mother’s house, where it seems there is no one to cool it in this play inspired by Federico García Lorca’s The House of Bernarda Alba and Sylvia Wynter’s The House and Land of Mrs. Alba, with poetic and literary cues from Kamau Braithwaite, Louise Glück, Mary Ruefle, Toni Morrison, and more.

An exploration of private and public grief, Bernarda’s Daughters is a play that asks when, where, what, and who do we mourn.

A Practice

That’s the crack.

If something like freedom can be found in practices of difference and if we are truthfully trying to get free, then what shifts are required in our modes of storytelling?

In its explorations of sisterhood, home, and grief, Bernarda’s Daughters experiments with other, varying, different ways of engaging audiences and collaborators. What happens when we break from the linear? When we disrupt convention? When we bother tradition by making new rituals?

Difference is a practice.
Freedom is a practice.
Care is a practice.

What happens when we commit to these rehearsals?

An Artist

Diane Exavier began writing Bernarda’s Daughters in 2018 after moving back to Brooklyn and finding Flatbush, the neighborhood where she grew up, changing in irrevocable ways. The play is in deep conversation with writers Federico García Lorca (La Casa de Bernarda Alba) and Sylvia Wynter (The House and Land of Mrs. Alba), whose original play and adaptation (respectively) confront themes of legacy and land, two of the four L’s that Exavier explores in her work: love, loss, legacy, and land.

Ever interested in the malleability of storytelling as it relates to genre and form, Exavier has constructed this website as a series of portals into the world of the play through prose, image, audio, and archive. Find out more about the playwright’s work at


MAY 2, 2023 – JUNE 4, 2023
Bernarda’s Daughters

Presented by The New Group, a co-production with National Black Theatre

MARCH 3, 2022
Bernarda’s Daughters: An Audible Original

Audible Theater

MARCH 4, 2021 @ 7PM
Bernarda’s Daughters (work-in-progress):
Hotline Sing


MARCH 5, 2021 @ 7PM
Bernarda’s Daughters (work-in-progress):
Mo(u)rning Call