Working with a translated piece demands a degree of flexibility from the onset, but even so Director Connie Treves’s vision reaches further than simply grasping the text. Treves seems not only intent on an inventive re-imagining of Lorca’s play, but the director also has a remarkable approach which seeks to introduce Oxford drama to a new kind of performance entirely.
This retelling of Lorca’s passionate tragedy promises to be a laden with artistic experimentation, complete with dancers, a string quartet and a harpist. The committed cast and musical team, headed by David McFarlane, work together to provide a piece that combines theatre with movement, music and dance. Treves stresses her focus on ‘the performance of identity’, an approach that can be widened from the presentation of individual characters to the nature of the production itself, which appears to be promisingly unconventional when compared to the majority of Oxford’s drama scene. Treves tells me the auditions themselves were purely based on movement; a bold and rewarding departure from the usual method, which fleshes out the acting with an additional dimension of dynamism. The versatility of the performers, (actors, choristers, dancers…I’m not quite sure what to call them) is immediately apparent; walking towards their rehearsal space I was met with the ethereal choral harmonies, and during my brief window into their performance I watched as the focus moved from the expected reading of scripts to a unprecedented introduction of a lift, an unexpected interjection which Beatrice Liese, The Bride and Imogen Hamilton-Jones, The Mother, both take in their stride.
You might think this sounds a little ambitious, and yes, the project certainly appears to be just that. But the dedication of the 30-strong cast, production and musical team cannot go unnoticed and may just well be the making of the play, which is set to be performed in the less familiar venue of St John’s elusive auditorium. If this all sounds somewhat obscure and little too much like an artistic tangent to you, rest assured that Treves’s experimentalism is deeply grounded in strong motifs that resonate with and trigger familiar classical images that offer to ground the play through their own symbolism. For the eagle-eyed and artistic connoisseurs out there, you can anticipate frames and stills taken directly from Goya and Gaugin’s paintings, as well as biblical allusions and imagery to echo the Catholic undertone of Lorca’s work.
Above all, Blood Wedding will be a testament to the collective enthusiasm and talent of those working both on and off stage, and all that they have learnt along the way. I get the distinct impression that they’ve had a lot of fun in making it, and I for one look forward to seeing the result of their combined efforts.
PHOTO/ Blood Wedding Publicity
Blood Wedding will be playing in St. John’s college in 6th week