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García Lorca’s first dramatic work premiered at the Eslava Theater in Madrid on March 22, 1920, and only withstood four performances (or two according to other sources) due to the vehement rejection by the audience who tore it apart. At the theater door, according to José Mora Guarnido, there were even exchanges of blows between the detractors and the friends that Federico had recruited among the rinconcillistas who lived in Madrid and the companions of the Residencia de Estudiantes. The play was part of the Teatro del Arte program promoted at the Eslava by Gregorio Martínez Sierra and his wife María de la O Lejárraga.

The comedy, by the playwright Martínez Sierra, was performed by the actress Catalina Bárcena, in the role of Curianito El Nene, while the Butterfly was played by a young woman Encarnación López Júlvez, La Argentinita, with whom Federico had a close personal and artistic relationship until her death in 1936. The sets were designed by the Uruguayan set designer Rafael Pérez Barradas. However, Gregorio Martínez Sierra believed them to be too daring and commissioned them to film and theater director Fernando Mignoni Monticelli. Barradas, however, designed the costumes. The music chosen was incidental pieces by Norwegian composer Edward Grieg instrumentalized by José Luis Lloret.

El maleficio de la mariposa

The comedy, finished by Lorca in a hurry at the request of Martínez Sierra, was initially entitled the playwright Infamous comedy and then The star of the meadow, names that Martínez Sierra rejected. According to Mora Guarnido, it was the producer himself who gave it the final title on his own, due to Lorca’s doubts and the proximity of the premiere.

Perhaps because the original piece that is preserved is incomplete, this one was excluded from the first Complete Works and then added, but not in the volume of dramatic work but in another complementary Work disclosed. In 2020, a new edition prepared by Víctor Fernández appeared in the Debolsillo publishing house.