Love, death, and flamenco dancing

"Theater should be a grand poetic spectacle, the language given flesh and breath," Federico Garcia Lorca once said.

Now celebrating the Spanish poet and playwright's centennial, Texas Woman's University reminds us of what he meant through its production of Blood Wedding, perhaps Garcia Lorca's best-known drama. The story--itself inspired by a small, easily forgotten news article Garcia Lorca once read--is simple enough: A bride abandons her groom and family on her wedding day, and runs away with the man she secretly loves. The poet's rendition, however, is rich with local color, and incorporates Andalusian traditions while relying on sophisticated and often surrealistic poetic techniques and images. His characters become pawns in a tragedy of fate; they are trapped in a conflict between their passions and rural Spain's unyielding code of honor, which offers only death as an answer to their quandary.

"The play reflects the traditional values of Spain, as well as Garcia Lorca's influence by the Spanish avant-garde. Among Garcia Lorca's friends were Salvador Dali and filmmaker Luis Bunuel," says Mary Lou Hoyle, Blood Wedding's director.

TWU's production stays true to the poet's vision of theater as a "poetic spectacle," complementing Garcia Lorca's highly imagistic poetry with flamenco dances choreographed by flamenco artist Conte de Loyo, and inspired by Spanish director Carlos Saura's movie version of the play. Garcia Lorca had written the music for the play's Spanish version, but local composer Ray Allen wrote the score for TWU's English production.

The dance and music help blend the production's realistic and surrealistic elements, says Hoyle. Themes of universal appeal--love and lust, death and motherhood, social convention and primordial passion--permeate Blood Wedding and Garcia Lorca's body of work. His own life also ended tragically: At 38, shortly after the outbreak of the Spanish civil war, he was shot by General Francisco Franco's Nationalist army and tossed into an unmarked grave. The Spanish government banned much of his work until 1971, and he became a symbol of the victimization caused by political oppression. Now, 100 years after his birth, he is recognized as one of the great icons of 20th century poetry.

--Juliana Barbassa

Texas Woman's University presents Federico Garcia Lorca's Blood Wedding at the Redbud Theater on Bell Ave. and University, on the TWU campus in Denton on November 6, 7, 13 and 14 at 8 pm and November 15 at 2 pm. Tickets are $10 for adults, $7 for seniors, students and TWU faculty and staff, and $5 for TWU students.


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