The director spoke to Love London Love Culture’s Emma Clarendon about his upcoming production of Blood Wedding at the Omnibus Theatre from the 4th September.
How did you first come across the story? I fell in love with Lorca’s work when I was 16 years old and first encountered his plays at college. We studied Blood Wedding, which I saw at the National Student Drama Festival. The first thing I ever directed was The House of Bernada Alba a year later. I love the fact that it is based on a real-life story he read in a newspaper and then transformed into a play, which we are now transforming again.
What attracted you most about bringing Blood Wedding to the stage? The extraordinary poetry and his surreal fatalistic world of strong feelings and deeply passionate people, particularly women, have captivated me.I’m excited to tell the story with the Mother character centralised and significantly doubled with a surreal character in the climactic scenes.
What can those who have never heard of Blood Wedding expect? I hope people will be as drawn into the story as I was when I first encountered it and fascinated by the strangeness of the style in which it is told. I’d love audiences to feel a connection towards the central characters and their dilemmas- many of them feel trapped by life (and their loved ones), some try to find an escape. I’m sure the extraordinary original music our talented composer Camilla Mathias has made will touch people and remain with them.I can’t wait to get in the room with the actors and Patricia Suarez, our movement director, to breathe life into the characters and create a strongly physical, hyperreal take on our world for the stage.
How have you transformed the story for a modern audience? There is something urgent and primal in Lorca that speaks to a deep part of the human condition regardless of where and when the story is set. He read a lot of Greek plays and Blood Wedding has a mythic, timeless quality to it. We have chosen to tell the story in London right now, but all the characters in this version of the story have their roots in Spain. Some feel very at home here while others long to go back. I believe we often have complex, often conflicted feelings about our home nations- and also about adopting a new one- and have tried to let this be part of the play without upstaging the core of Lorca’s story. I hope the location and time will bring the story closer to the audience while the cultural roots of the characters will sustain its integrity and innate Spanishness.
What would you say the main message at the centre of Blood Wedding is? Work through your emotions and don’t hold onto and fetishize grief. Life is a hard struggle against fate, but struggle we must.
By Emma Clarendon
Blood Wedding will play at the Omnibus Theatre from the 4th to the 23rd September. For more information visit: https://www.omnibus-clapham.org/blood-wedding/