The University of Alabama’s department of theatre and dance invites audiences to enjoy the illustration of some of life’s classic themes in its multifaceted production of “Blood Wedding,” written by Federico García Lorca in 1932. The play, originally written in Spanish and first performed in Madrid, unravels through a lens of Spanish culture while still expressing concepts in a universal manner.
Director John Nara, a third-year master’s student, said he has long enjoyed the dramatic writings of Lorca and welcomed the opportunity to tackle the challenges the script posed.
“There are numerous themes addressed by Lorca in this play. That’s what makes it such a rich experience, and it’s hard not to see the theme of fate versus choice in the cycle of life as one of the more prominent ones,” Nara said. “But it’s only one. As a director, it’s been a journey with the designers and the cast figuring out how to expose all of the themes and still tell a good story and hold the audience’s attention.”
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Keegan Butler, a senior majoring in theatre, aids in the portrayal of these themes as the lighting designer of the show.
“[Lighting] is a different type of creativity. I enjoy being the one that tells the audience where to look some of the times,” he said.
Butler said his designs are the product of extensive research, beginning with the script and proceeding by matching insightful moments and details in the script with particular colors to create a specific mood.
“[‘Blood Wedding’] was really cool to look up, to do the research for this and see other productions … and use Lorca’s own paintings and drawings as inspiration, because they tie in so well with this show,” Butler said.
Iliana Garcia, a sophomore majoring in musical theatre, plays the bride, one of the show’s female leads, for her first role in a UATD production. After spending weeks in the script and in rehearsals, she said she appreciates the moods the lights create.
“There are multiple scenes that are very fantastical and very storybook-esque, and it requires this mood of mysticism. And the lights really help to accomplish that,” she said.
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After becoming heavily involved in musical theater in high school, Garcia said she realized she would be miserable doing anything else. Throughout the audition process, she hoped to have the opportunity to be cast as the bride, a layered character with whom she said she felt connected.
“In musical theater, you encounter so many female leads that are just so happy and bubbly and may encounter a few problems in the plot, but this character is so affected by the landscape that she lives in and the people that she’s around,” Garcia said.
In addition to the thought-provoking aspect of the role, Garcia said she has also enjoyed working with the costume department on the bride’s wedding gown, one of the two custom designs for the production.
“[The costume department] is trying to relate to the audience as well as keeping accurate to the times … [The dress] is beautiful. They’re doing a great job costume-wise, and it’s a really cool process being able to be there during fittings. I love costuming. That’s something I would have done if I didn’t do musical theatre,” she said.
Christina Johnson, a second year master’s student, is the costume designer for the show, and also works on designs for hair and makeup. Like the other members of cast and crew, she said she has combed through the script and looked for particular details that imply the clothing each character would wear.
“In Spain, the bride would always wear a crown of orange blossoms to represent purity, so I took that and kind of rolled with it, and I’m trying to incorporate it in embroidery. I’ve incorporated Spanish lace throughout the play, and the biggest inspiration was that I took colors from the surrounding land, like the vineyards and the olive groves,” Johnson said.
Johnson has worked in costuming for other UATD productions, including another show Nara directed. While she is not delivering lines on stage, she said she still feels attached to and excited about “Blood Wedding.”
“[Nara] involves every member of his cast and crew in creating a production,” Johnson said. “And I think what I like most about that is that by the time it’s up and running, it belongs to all of us. So we have so much pride in it, and it’s worth every step of the way.”
“Blood Wedding” will be performed in the Allen Bales Theatre from Feb. 10-15 at 7:30 p.m. and Feb. 16 at 2 p.m. Tickets are available at the box office or online at ua.tix.com.
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