Passions don’t simply run high in Blood Wedding, now being given an uneven but often worthwhile production by the Marvell Repertory Company, they run stratospheric in this near mythic tale of love and loss from the pen of famed Spanish writer Federico Garcia Lorca (as translated by the late Ted Hughes). The text of the play is an odd combination of the grandly poetic and the roughly prosaic — which can make the piece particularly difficult to pull off — but the drive of the story pulls the audience along by the sheer force of its emotions.
In the very first speech of the play, we learn that a mother (Lorraine Serabian) has lost her husband and one of her two sons to murder. Her last remaining boy (Nicolas Greco) is leaving their home to get married — and the young woman (Evgeniya Radilova) he intends to marry was once the girlfriend of a man (Hamish Allan-Headley) from the same family that killed the would-be bridegroom’s father and brother. You know what’s going to eventually happen!
Enriching the story is the plight of the young bride-to-be. Her blood is hot for a man she used to know, but life has thwarted their affair. He has a wife and child. She is torn between her duty and her desire and it is driving her mad. What makes the story so compelling is the fact that there are no real villains here. There are human beings caught up in a whirlwind of passions they can neither control nor understand.
It’s no wonder that this same story was told in a much-admired dance movie choreographed and directed by Carlos Saura, because mere spoken language does not do the tale justice. Therefore, it’s a wise choice that this production is accompanied almost throughout with a Spanish guitar (played by Mike Rosengarten, with original music by Adam Knauss).
The production is directed with stylish economy by Lenny Leibowitz, and the set design by Tijana Bjelajac is impressively simple in its effectiveness. This new company has yet to forge an acting style among its members, so there is a marked unevenness in the performances. However, Radilova’s smoldering performance marks her as a young actress definitely worth watching.