Art & Design

   

Blood Wedding

Posted by Seanna van Helten

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August 15, 2012
8:00 am

The title alone tells you that Blood Wedding, by Spanish dramatist Federico García Lorca, will not end happily. Malthouse Theatre’s production of Lorca’s classic text, directed by Marion Potts, begins with the sun beating down as two families busily prepare for a wedding, but closes with a tragedy by moonlight – the circularity of night following day as inevitable as death itself.

Written in 1932 at a time of civil unrest in his native country, Lorca’s rural tragedy concerns two feuding families and a fatal love triangle. The bridegroom (David Valencia) adores his bride to be (Sylvia Colloca), but she is still in love with her former lover, Leonardo (Matias Stevens), the brooding horseman whose relatives murdered the bridegroom’s father and brother years before.

Potts’s production is grounded by a clever new adaptation by Melbourne-based playwright Raimondo Cortese, which melds Lorca’s original writing in Spanish with Cortese’s own highly poetic English translation.

The result is essentially a bilingual production, but there is no loss of clarity or understanding for an English-speaking audience. Rather, hearing the words that Lorca himself crafted, viewers are transported to another time and place, while at the same time made subtly aware of their own foreignness to the world of the play.

A poet as well as a playwright, Lorca’s writing is lush with symbolism (the lovers speak of their unrequited passions as “a frozen storm inside of me” or “hot earth running through my veins”) and has a sensual rhythm. The writer was also interested in Spanish folk culture, incorporating song, dance, and music in his plays.

Potts, too, introduces such elements – including original compositions by Tim Rogers – however, some of the more lyrical, stylised moments felt overstated, despite the overall heightened symbolism of the production.

The ensemble is strong, and each performer plays their part in the tragedy. The politics of Lorca’s plays are usually felt most by his female characters, and Blood Wedding is no exception. It is the women, headed by the matriarch (Mariola Fuentes), that begin and close the play, conveying the meaningless of honour when the price is blood.

Blood Wedding is playing at Malthouse Theatre until August 19.
For more information and tickets visit www.malthousetheatre.com.au.


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