by Kate Antognini
Garcia Lorcas Blood Wedding, a seamless blend of poetry, music
and dance, is full of the colorful passion and violence of its authors
short life. The play will be performed this weekend by the Oberlin
Theater Department as the final piece in a month of Lorca, which
also featured a series of poetry readings and film screenings devoted
to the prolific Spanish poet.
Director and professor of theater Mirla Criste turns Lorcas
strange tale of romance and revenge into a breathtaking visual and
musical experience for the viewer. Set in the Spanish countryside,
the tragic story involves a woman who abandons her fiancée
on the day of their wedding to run off with her childhood lover.
Supposedly Lorca was inspired to write Blood Wedding by an event
that he read about in a newspaper article.
As the title suggests, the ending of this story will not be a happy
one for the village. Lorca, whose opposition to fascism led to his
execution, may have intended Blood Wedding as a metaphor for the
decay of traditional values and way of life brought on by the approaching
Spanish revolution. Just as in the play two deviant youths awaken
their village from its innocent slumber, Lorca watched as rebellious
Falangists tore the Spain of his youth to shreds.
makes Blood Wedding so interesting is that it is an unusual mix
of classical Spanish art and surrealist theater. Wishing to preserve
traditional Spanish art in the face of modern trends, Lorca filled
his play with native song, dance and poetry. Unfortunately, most
of Lorcas musical compositions were lost, so Criste wrote
her own pieces for the production.
haunting guitar music that flows through scenes in velvety wisps
was by far the most beautiful and memorable aspect of her production.
It is surprising that these pieces could have been written by someone
without any formal musical training. According to Criste, who began
writing music at the age of twelve, her compositions were inspired
by everything from Filipino folk song to Celtic harmonies to Gregorian
Ive included a plethora of genres in the music,
Criste said. It goes along with my goal to explore Lorcas
universal themes. Inspired by his budding interest in modern
art, Lorca also included certain surrealistic elements in Blood
Wedding. In 1929, the poet traveled from his sheltered country home
in Spain to New York City, where he briefly attended Columbia University.
Mingling with eccentric artist types, Lorca was dramatically influenced
by the modernistic aesthetic values he encountered in America and
incorporated them into his art.
of magical surrealism creep gradually into Blood Wedding as it progresses.
An ominous figure wearing a rat mask sniffs about the stage at key
moments, and the moon is a creepy white figure that dances above
the set and gazes hungrily at certain characters. Both symbolic
figures become more prominent later in the play as things begin
to spin apart.
general, the acting was very good. Particular standouts were juniors
Katya Metha as the bride, and Duncan Gale as the father. But one
gets the sense that in Lorcas work characters are merely vehicles
for his art. The dialog was pure poetry that was sometimes hard
to follow, but quite rewarding once carefully examined.
The set is purposely very minimalist. Senoir set designer Meagan
Forney kept the props simple and natural looking to reflect the
influence of nature in the lives of the villagers. In constant motion,
the characters and set spin about the stage to the cyclic rhythm
of the guitar music.
the end, Blood Wedding leaves the viewer with a sense of wonder
and awe at the artistic power of its author.
I can only hope weve done (Lorcas) extraordinary
play some justice, Criste said.