The play explores themes of repression, passion, and conformity, and inspects the effects of men upon women. Bernarda's cruel tyranny over her daughters foreshadows the stifling nature of Franco's fascist regime, which was to arrive just a few weeks after Lorca finished writing his play. Lorca's association with a number of intellectuals who belonged to the Communist Party of Spain such as Rafael Alberti was to result in his assassination shortly after the outbreak of Civil War in July 1936.
Two adaptations to film are worth mentioning: "La casa de Bernarda Alba" (1987) and its English made-for-TV movie counterpart, "The House of Bernarda Alba" (1991).
In 2006, the play was adapted into musical form by Michael John LaChiusa. Under the title Bernarda Alba, it opened at Lincoln Center's Mitzi Newhouse theatre on March 6, 2006, starring Phylicia Rashad in the title role, with a cast that also included Daphne Rubin-Vega. The play was also adapted into an Indian movie Rukmavati ki Haveli by Govind Nihlani in 1991.