Laszlo Szegedi previews Mermaids' upcoming project, an experimental adaptation of Federico García Lorca's "Blood Wedding".
Focusing on a bride who has no choice but to marry an eligible, young bachelor while still in love with her ex, renowned Spanish dramatist Federico García Lorca’s Blood Wedding is a tale of deception and an exploration of fate. Set in Spain in the 1930s, the plot compiles several familiar limitations to the lovers’ blooming romance you’d expect from such a love story: the Bride’s former lover Leonardo has his own family now, yet he comes back on the night of her wedding with the proposition of running away together. She does not let this interfere with the ceremony and comes to realise her mistake only after the marriage has taken place. They run away nonetheless, upsetting many and gaining more foes than allies in the process.
In an interview with the Saint, directors Krishna Patel and Montse Picado described their approach as “creepy and grotesque”, and “experiment with various acting styles” to replicate the range of complex emotions provoked by being forced into the conflicts of Blood Wedding. “We have an entire act set in a forest at night, during which the moon comes to life and death becomes a person”, Ms. Patel revealed. Fully prepared for a rehearsal following the interview, she was carrying a bag with various props and costumes, including an impressive handmade tiara designed to be worn by the Moon. “It was very important for us to stay loyal to the style of that time and place – we actually ended up designing a black wedding dress.” The directors drew attention to the strong correlation between costumes, the set, and the acting in creating a specific mood for the performance which varies between realism and fantasy. They encourage their audience to keep an eye out for the more symbolic elements in the costumes which allow for various subtle metaphorical implications concerning the characters who wear them.
“I did not let the cast touch the script for three weeks. We started with various trust exercises to get comfortable and to prepare ourselves for the different approaches we were going to try out. Initially, we had a plan to throw people around the stage, which turned out to be too difficult for us. Thankfully, we managed to benefit from some of these limitations as they decreased the scale of the physical dimensions in the play and prevented it from going over-the-top”, Ms. Patel explained. “Every rehearsal has been fun and wild, I’ve made them run around screaming, learn flamenco dancing, throw each other around the room… I’d like to thank them for being so open to everything we’ve tried out so far.”
“For one of our rehearsals we were given the Committee Room in the Union – we were somewhat embarrassed to practice as we’d scheduled a workshop on theatre of cruelty for that day. That room has more windows than walls, and it would have been strange for people walking by to see us being weird, so we ended up talking about life”, Ms. Picado revealed. “We’ve tried so many things, and the experience of some of them working while others not certainly brought the cast closer and made the performance more cohesive in general.”
“We told our cast: “If you want to talk about feelings, go to Montse. If you want to talk about anything else, go to Krishna. If you’re mad at us for all our experiments, go talk to the producers.” Having worked on the same play in high school before, Ms. Patel was confident about her vision and aimed to broaden her scope by choosing Ms. Picado as her co-director. “Montse is great at making things look frantic, while I’m good at blocking. We work together very well.” They also seized the opportunity to keep some of the original Spanish lines in the performance for authenticity’s sake, adding a new task to the list of directorial duties which Ms. Picado took by practising correct Spanish pronunciation with her actors.
“To be scary is liberating”, concluded Ms. Patel in reference to the show’s visual style. Blood Wedding promises plenty of spectacle, eye-catching costumes and many other elements to keep an eye out for. It will be performed in the Barron Theatre this Saturday and Sunday (24th and 25th) at 7:30 p.m. Tickets cost ₤5 and can be reserved by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.