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May 18, 2009 | by  | in Theatre | [ssba]

Blood Wedding

Federico Garcia Lorca’s Blood Wedding has been hailed as one of the masterpieces of twentieth century theatre. Set against the backdrop of the Spanish Civil war, it is a story of passion and desperation, love and violence, beautifully brought to life in Circa Theatre’s production, directed by Willem Wassenaar.

Much of the beauty of this production is created through the pacing. Wassenaar takes the time to set the scene and establish a space and sense of community. The play opens with a graceful laying of a ring of sand on the stage to create a bull-ring-like realm in which the characters battle out their tale. The story begins as the groom (Jade Daniels) and the mother (Geraldine Brophy) discuss his engagement to the bride (Rachel Forman) but there is rumor she has already been involved with Leonardo (Dean O’Gorman). When Leonardo hears of the wedding he flies into a rage in front of his pregnant wife (Sophie Roberts), their child and the mother-in-law (Carmel McGlone) who sing an incredibly moving duet, accompanied by Gareth Farr’s excellent score. Leonardo visits the bride and the desperate attraction between them is evident. The bride and the groom marry but afterward the bride escapes on horseback with Leonardo. The pair express their love to one another in the forest, as the town is shocked by the scandal and the groom leaves to kill Leonardo. The bride returns to the town, begging to be sacrificed and we hear that Leonardo and the groom have killed each other.

Rachel Forman’s portrayal of the Bride is passionate and affecting. However, played with such intensity from the outset, it becomes so much a part of her character that it is difficult to feel any changes, or how deeply she is affected by Leonardo.

Director Willem Wassenaar and designer Andrew Foster have torn the Circa One stage to its bare essence, removing the curtains that usually mask its true walls, transforming it into a vast warehouse-like space, setting a cold scene for the raw emotional story. When not directly involved in a scene, characters sit behind the ring of sand to watch the action, immediately establishing a smothering tight sense of community. Character placement could have been more significant had rules been more tightly defined—what was the significance of certain characters waiting on the edge the ring to announce their entrance? Were they in character when outside of this ring, or did they take on a spectator-like role similar to the audience?

The relationship of the characters in the scenes to the audience was also confusing. The Mother and the Bride’s Father seemed to use direct address more liberally than the other characters, but I cannot figure out why these characters would have a more direct relationship with us than others.

The doubling is sometimes confusing and would have been aided by more significant costume changes and greater physical differentiations in characterisation, for which there was certainly potential in the non-naturalistic script.

By Federico Garcia Lorca in a translated from Spanish by Ted Hughes
Directed by Willem Wassenaar
Circa Theatre 9 May–6 June


About the Author ()

Fiona was named "Recessionista" in the ASPA Fashion Awards 2009 for her Takaka op-shop frock and spray painted shoes. She co-edits the arts section and also likes to write about women and other stuff.

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