By Keri Hayes
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Borderland Theater's adaptation of the classic Spanish tragedy "Blood Wedding" provides a new artistic insight into traditional themes of tragedy, honor, revenge and passion.
Co-produced by Borderland Theater and Pima College Drama Department, the play integrates bilingual actors, dancers and musicians from the Tucson community and the college to produce a truly unique interpretation of Frederico Garcia Lorca's "Blood Wedding."
The play opens with an exploration of tragedy that has plagued the groom's (Martin Chandler) family. Maria Rebeca Cartes, a native of Chile who has worked extensively with Borderland and the college, gives a stunning performance as the groom's mother, a bitter widow whose heart mourns the killing of her husband and son by a member of the Feliz family.
The plot centers around the bride's (Alida Wilson-Gunn) forbidden love for Leonardo Feliz, who she had been engaged to three years earlier, and her attempts to stifle her feelings for Leonardo in favor of her wealthy fiance. When the bride's passion finally overtakes her and she flees her wedding reception with Leonardo, the mother of the groom's worst fears come true as she watches her only living son pursue Feliz and his new bride. Revenge brings tragedy, for the bride, the groom's mother, Leonardo's wife (Marianne Franco) and small child.
Lorca's magnificent poetic style, which was part of the new Spanish consciousness that resonated throughout Europe and the Americas in the early 1930s, is expressed in music, dance and symbolic scenes. Director Barclay Goldsmith reproduces the secret passions and desires that Leonardo and the bride hide with artistic scenes featuring the Moon, played by John M. Wilson, a professor of dance at UA, and a wise, mysterious beggar woman, played by Angela Michelle Navarro, a former Pima College drama student.
The Moon and the beggar woman suggest the impending doom the lovers face as the Moon shines his light on the rural countryside hills and the beggar woman hides in the shadows to observe and follow the fleeing couple.
When the groom catches up with his bride, only to find her in Leonardo's embrace, the two pull out their knives for a battle to the end. In probably the best scene in the play, the two men act out the passionate battle in slow motion, the bride's emotional pleas silently portrayed in her motions as she tries desperately to separate the two enraged men.
The emotional drama inherent in Lorca's work, although portrayed beautifully in the knife battle scene, does not reach its potential in many other scenes. Performance differed on an individual level; while some actors really seemed to feel the playwright's tragic implications, others' portrayals were watered down.
The production uses a recent translation by Carmen Zapata and Michael Dewell that has been performed throughout the United States. In accordance with the Borderland Theater's efforts to serve the diversity of Southern Arizona audiences, "Blood Wedding" appears alternately in Spanish and English.
"Blood Wedding" will continue through April 23 at Pima Community College in the Center of the Arts, Proscenium Theater. Student and senior discount tickets are available for evening performances. For more information, call 882-8607. Read Next Article