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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

Blood Wedding

An Andalusian bride is forced to choose between duty and desire, her head and her heart.
By Hilary Simmons
August 08, 2011
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By Hilary Simmons
August 08, 2011
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The first of Federico Garcia Lorca’s folk trilogy of Spanish plays, Blood Wedding, begins with a woman dressed in black staring out from a bare stage. Beside her, a guitarist plays a fiery Flamenco-style rhythm. There is a sense of foreboding that one wouldn’t usually associate with a celebratory occasion – but this is not a festive wedding, it is a blood wedding.

The audience is swiftly transported from contemporary Sydney to rural Spain in the 1930s where an Andalusian bride is forced to choose between duty and desire; her head and her heart. The grooms' domineering mother – still grieving the loss of her husband and her other son – rightly suspects that the bride’s shadowy past will interfere with her pledge to submissively love, honour and obey her bridegroom. She sees that her secret all-consuming passion for another (or "el duende," as Lorca himself called it) may precipitate social catastrophe and eradicate everyone else's chance for romantic fulfillment.

The conventional world of the village collapses when the bride elopes with her first lover and the first act finishes. The realistic set is transformed into a surreal forest where two mythic figures - the Moon and Death - preside over a hunt to the death for the fugitives. The dry leaves covering the stage are reminders of the brittleness and brevity of life, and the creatively used spools of red thread symbolise how people's destinies become twisted and re-threaded.

Blood Moon is not a feel-good play, but it unveils the power that society has to stifle individuality. It is worth going just to see the menacing Moon, covered in blood, command centre stage.

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