Passion and raw emotion, both on- and offstage, is the emphasis in the Ithaca College Department of Theatre Arts’ performance of “Blood Wedding,” a story of deception and vengeance, with opening night at 8 p.m. Sept. 29.
The show follows the story of the Bride, who abandons her fiance on their wedding day to pursue her former lover, Leonardo. Intertwined within the story is the plot of the Mother of the Bridegroom and her desire to protect her son. The student cast will perform at the Clark Theatre until Oct. 8
“Blood Wedding” was written in 1932 by Federico García Lorca as a poetic play. Senior Eunice Akinola, who is playing the role of the Wife, said a central challenge to interpreting the play was that it was written in a surrealist form. There were, however, recognizable themes that she said could be drawn out.
“There are a lot of aspects that can be applied to the modern world, like the aspect of an individual’s inability to ‘forgive and forget,’ ‘love’ and ‘faith and religion’ and ‘right and wrong,’” Akinola said.
Junior Caroline Maloney, who plays the Mother, said to address the challenge of modernizing the play, the actors and the directors worked hard to bring together the surrealist form and contemporary themes to make the performance cohesive and comprehendible for the audience.
“It’s very bare-boned, so you can do a lot in terms of interpreting the language,” Maloney said.
Both Maloney and senior Olivia Dillon said the poetic language of the play left plenty of room for interpretative freedom for Norman Johnson, associate professor of theater arts and director of the show.
“You can very clearly see Norm’s hand in this, which is just so cool to me,” Dillon said.
Two theater students, seniors Iris Garrison-Driscoll and Fiona Dolan, also composed original music that will accompany parts of the show.
Dillon and senior Nathiel Tejada, both assistant directors of the show, said an important aspect behind performing “Blood Wedding” is the art of duende. Duende is the true feeling of complete passion and raw emotion, which Tejada said Johnson helped the actors develop by working closely with them.
“If a performer is crying onstage, like they are feeling the passions from the soles of their feet and it is coming out and affecting the audience, that is duende,” Dillon said.
While the show offered a space for the actors to develop their skills, Akinola said, the play’s plot conflicted with some of the actors’ morals. She said one of the main obstacles she faced while performing her role was her character’s devotion toward her cheating husband.
“It was the main reason I didn’t want my mom to come see it — because I didn’t want her to see me in that light, especially as a 21-year-old,” Akinola said.
She said she had performed the show during her junior year of high school in 2012, but her school only performed 40 minutes of it. Akinola said she didn’t realize how beautiful the show is until now.
“It is really exciting to do the show again and see all the changes that were made,” she said.
Maloney said her personal life related directly to “Blood Wedding” because her character consistently brings up her deceased brother in conversation throughout the performance, which, she said, is similar to how her grandmother often brings up her brother who died at war.
“She very often brought up memories and letters and pictures,” Maloney said. “Personally, I feel like I am my grandmother, sort of.”
With these personal connections and the art of duende at work, Maloney said she hopes the show is perceived as being as cohesive as it is emotional.
“I hope that the audience understands the emotional backstory from beginning to end and understand why each thing is leading to the next action,” Akinola said.
Maloney said the audience members should expect a heart-wrenching experience when they see the show, while Dillon said she expects the audience to be left with a few questions.
“I do expect some what?’s from the audience, because it is surreal and abstract,” Dillon said.
Tejada said she hopes the audience will appreciate the effort the actors put in to creating the show.
“Hopefully, we get to see the emotion on the audience because the actors have been working so hard to really show the emotions,” Tejada said.
More information on tickets and show times for “Blood Wedding” can be found here.