Blood Wedding, Soulpepper

Till death do they part? Gordon Hecht as Groom (left) and Hailey Gillis as Bride (right) star in the Soulpepper Theatre Company presentation of Blood Wedding on stage until April 9, 2016.

A LUCID TRANSLATION

C’mon is there any date on the calendar more important than when a man and woman exchange vows to enter into a holy union? Past lives are forgotten and new ones are set to begin for two lovers with their sights firmly locked on to the rosy future that lays ahead.

Providing the caterer doesn’t screw up the cake and the notorious drunk uncle doesn’t fall down yet again on the dance floor, nothing can go wrong for this matrimonially magical event.

In Guilermo Verdecchia’s lucid translation of Blood Wedding all is not quite dreamy for the lives in this Spanish drama transplanted in small town Ontario for a homegrown retelling of events. It’s an unsettling tale that takes place within a culture of violence where burying the hatchet isn’t always optional when family feuding goes unresolved. Even a proven cast can easily get lost in text like this yet director Erin Bradenburg clears a path for upward mobility to the anti-Honeymoon conclusion.

Conflict surfaces when Leonard (Colin Palangio) catches word that his former love interest Bride (Hailey Gillis) is about to tie the knot with Groom (Gordon Hecht) despite his own life now occupied by a Wife (Courney Ch’ng Lancaster) and baby.

While Diane D’Aquila, Oliver Dennis, and Caroline Gillis have the performance clout that give the production a firm footing, the complete ensemble look and sound utterly convincing in dramatist Federico Garcia Lorca’s touching tragedy.

Live music and vocals by Andrew Penner is what truly gives the play the emotional context that it desperately needs. Simply put, it would not be the same experience without song elements to draw in playgoers.

This version of Blood Wedding isn’t perfect especially when layers of symbolism take hold of the narrative in the final stretch. But it does illustrate the treachery of the human heart when loss simply cannot be accepted.

Review by Steven Berketo

 

BLOOD WEDDING by Federico Garcia Lorca, translated by Guillermo Verdecchia March 16 – April 9, 2016 YOUNG CENTRE FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS, 50 Tank House Lane, Toronto TICKETS $35.00 – $89.00 www.soulpepper.ca 866-866-8666 CAST Anna Atkinson, Deborah Drakeford, Diane D’Aquila, Oliver Dennis, Caroline Gillis, Hailey Gillis, Celia Green, Gordon Hecht, Richard Lam, Courtney Ch’ng Lancaster, Colin Palangio, Andrew Penner, Sophia Walker DIRECTOR Erin Brandenburg SET AND COSTUMES Anahita Dehbonehie SOUND Richard Feren LIGHTING Rebecca Picherack COMPOSER Andrew Penner STAGE MANAGER Darragh Parsons

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