The chilling and powerful play has become a classic of 20th century theater.
A lover awaits. A bride runs away. A celebration becomes a nightmare. Federico García Lorca’s “Blood Wedding” will have a rare staging in Philadelphia as the Philadelphia Artists' Collective (The PAC) teams up with students from Drexel University’s Co-Op Theatre Company in the Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design to present the classic tragedy of revenge and deception. The show will run from Nov. 6 – 23 at Drexel’s Mandell Theater (3201 Chestnut St.).
In “Blood Wedding,” a vendetta between two families comes to a head at a wedding when the bride runs away with her former lover, the son of the enemy family. Written in 1932 by the Spanish poet and playwright, the chilling and powerful play has become a classic of 20th century theater. The play addresses universal themes of desire, repression, vengeance, deception, fate and nature.
Mandell Theater will be transformed as seating is moved onstage for a more intimate performance experience. The distressed beams and arches of the set by set designer Matt Campbell were inspired by Cortijo del Fraile, the true-life setting of the crime of passion that “Blood Wedding” was based on.
The show is directed by Damon Bonetti, co-founding artistic director of the PAC and an adjunct professor at Drexel, and will star regional and New York theater veteran Judith Lightfoot Clarke as well as Victoria Rose Bonito, J. Hernandez and Eric Scotolati as the doomed trio of lovers. Drexel students will perform alongside the nine professional actors, as well as serving in such behind-the-scenes roles such as stage manager, master electrician and prop designer.
Prior to each performance, there will be a pre-show in Mandell Lobby choreographed by Elba Hevia y Vaca, artistic/executive director and founder of Philadelphia’s feminist flamenco company Pasion y Arte Flamenco. Actors, musicians and dancers will stage a celebratory wedding procession, which will lead into the theater.
Barrymore Award-winning theater artist, composer and guitarist Christopher Colucci composed all of the music to be performed throughout the play, with lyrics based on Lorca’s poetry and prose. Under the musical direction of Michael Kiley, professional musicians Adam Bailey, a percussionist, and Guy West, a guitarist, will perform the original scores, as well as cellist Mari Ma, an undergraduate student in Westphal’s Entertainment and Arts Management program. All sound effects also will be created live, including a rich forest soundscape.
“The PAC are guests of Drexel and we have cast the Co-Op Theatre actors in some principal and ensemble roles. They are not incidental to this production but an integral part of the ensemble. Often this play is cast with older actors, but the younger characters should be in their twenties,” said Bonetti. “I often compare this play to ‘Romeo and Juliet,’ which has many similarities - the impulsiveness of youth, the inability of the older characters to reconcile and understand the younger generation and, of course, what should be a happy event a wedding, turning tragic.”
Preview performances will take place on Thursday, Nov. 6 and Friday, Nov. 7 at 8 p.m. Opening night will be Saturday, Nov. 8 at 8 p.m. The show will play from Nov. 12 – 15, 17, 20 – 22 at 8 p.m. and Nov. 9, 16 and 23 at 2 p.m. The two-act show will include an intermission and run approximately two hours and 20 minutes.
Tickets are $5 for Drexel students, faculty and staff with a Drexel ID; $15 for non-Drexel students; and $25 for general admission. They are available for purchase at http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/854672.
This production is being co-produced by the Philadelphia Artists' Collective and Drexel University as part of Drexel’s Mandell Professionals in Residence Project (MPiRP), which has provided administrative and production support to emerging and avant-garde Philadelphia regional theater companies through the theater program at Drexel University’s Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design while introducing students to the full working process of creating professional theater.
Since 2005, theater companies such as Pig Iron Theater Company, New Paradise Laboratories and Azuka Theatre have all staged co-productions at Drexel, featuring students acting alongside professionals as well as in support roles behind the scenes. In 2009, “The Long Christmas Ride Home”, a partnership with Azuka Theatre, won a Barrymore Award, and in 2012 “The Poet Laureate of Capitalism” created with The Riot Group in residence toured to an Off-Broadway theater in New York City. Last year, Drexel collaborated with Swim Pony Performing Arts and created “Welcome to Campus.” For more information about theater at Drexel, visit: http://www.drexel.edu/westphal/minors/THTR/.
About Philadelphia Artists' Collective (The PAC)
The Philadelphia Artists’ Collective, founded in 2008 by Damon Bonetti and Dan Hodge, is committed to promoting rarely performed classical plays through workshops and readings in the greater Philadelphia area. It is comprised of a group of performance and visual artists seeking to encourage the development of a common vocabulary and to promote arts awareness within the Philadelphia community. The Collective’s past readings and workshops have featured some of the region’s finest artists, and its full productions (Duchess of Malfi, Changes of Heart, Creditors, Timon of Athens, The Sea Plays, Mary Stuart) have garnered wide audience and critical praise. The Collective’s performance of Shakespeare’s The Rape of Lucrece, as part of the Fringe Festival presented by FringeArts, was recently named a “Fringe Favorite” by Philadelphia Inquirer theater critic Toby Zinman, who called it a “tour-de-force performance, riveting and absolutely accessible.” For more info about the Philadelphia Artists’ Collective, visit www.philartistscollective.org/.