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Volume 68, Issue 20, Monday, September 23, 2002

Arts & Entertainment

Stages slips in ‘Blood Weddingi

By Chris Brunt
The Daily Cougar

For a limited time only, "Fear and Loathing at the Stages Repertory Theatre," is brought to you by Federico Garcia Lorca.

No, this is not a theatrical production of the Hunter S. Thompson masterpiece. Itis not the tale of two lunatics, tripping on what have you at the benefit of viewer amusement. Itis literal, harsh, salvation-less fear and loathing.

Unfortunately, the renowned Spanish poet and playwright 

didnit intend for it to be so. Bodas de Sangre, or Blood Wedding, was written as a sort 

of Modernist Shakespearean love story, set in 19th century provincial Spain. Lorca is a master of language, and his storytelling never failed to thrill. Langston Hughes performed the benevolent act of translating this marvelous work for English-speaking audiences.

Patricia Duran portrays the tragic bride in the Stages Repertory Theatre production of Federico Garcia Lorcais Bodas de Sangre. It runs until Oct. 13.

Photo courtesy of Stages Repertory Theatre

The Stagesi playhouse itself is very nice — intimate and elegant with respectable setwork. Before the curtain rose, audience expectations were no doubt lofty. By intermission, confusion and apathy were spreading with vigor. The playhouse bar had wisely prepared appropriately, offering a wealth of spirits to ease the pain.

The acting was unduly amateur. Being a rogue theater, perhaps inexperience is indeed the norm for the company.

The plot revolves around a love triangle involving a respectable young man, his fianceé and her ex-lover, Leonardo. The groom-to-be saw his brother and father murdered by members of Leonardois family. Thus his mother has grown bitter and hateful with age, and though she loves her only remaining son, she is weary of his marital choice.

She eventually gives her blessing, and the wedding ensues. During this initial action, we learn of the brooding, tormented Leonardo riding his horse near the brideis villa, apparently trying to heal his broken heart or die in the attempt. The bride is tentative and reserved around her affable yet dull fianceé, and we can see the groundwork for tragedy being laid.

They are married, but she runs away with Leonardo before she even reaches the marriage bed. The groomis mother then gives a bloodthirsty call for vengeance, and the backdrop oozes red.

The second act, while emotionally hollow, employed mysticism and what appear to be pagan rituals, lending some flavor to what had been a flat and unconvincing love story.

The double tragedy at the playis close isnit remarkably moving, and the catharsis Lorca so beautifully scripted is absent.

The crucial parties involved in the love triangle are all equally incapable actors; there isnit a moment of truly embodied passion.

Lorca is primarily a poet, and the dialogue is rooted in metaphor and meter. Most of the lines are delivered lacking the necessary skill to convey their meaning, much less their profundity. The central themes of this work are revenge and passion, and both concepts are very much muddled in the hands of Stages.

One bright note: Amira Gongora Marin, the actress who plays the groomis mother, exudes a dignity and authenticity that is almost masterful, especially when seen in comparison with the rest of the troupe.

She moves with the slow austerity of long-endured suffering; she speaks with the measured tone of masked anguish. 

At the end of Act I, she lets loose the years of bottled hate, gesturing to the moon, screaming for retribution, and her call to her arms is marvelously chilling.

Stages will run Bodas de Sangre until Oct. 13. Call 713-527-0123 for tickets and show times.

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