PROVO — Do you remember that painting of Salvador Dali with the melting clocks? What about Rene Magritte’s Son of Man with the green apple in front of the man’s face? Take that surrealism and mix with it live music, modern dance, and perhaps the greatest piece of twentieth century Spanish theatre and you’re starting to get an idea of the BYU Department of Theatre and Media Arts’ most recent production of Blood Wedding.
Director Rodger Sorenson identifies in his program note that the play is made up of many stories. Each individually is substance enough—a bride torn between two lovers, a mother’s loss of each of her sons, a pregnant wife whose husband loves another—but when layered amongst each other the result is a story much more rich and complex than each of its parts.
As audience members continued to trickle in, the stage was met with musicians playing the guitar, violin, and castanets setting the mood for the rest of the evening. Very early on I heard the sound of a knife being sharpened on a stone and while it gave an eerie call to the ending of the show, it also reminded me of the stark chirp of a bird in the field. Music was used often throughout to accent the mood and set of the play. Musicians often became part of the action intermingling with each of the actors and more than providing a score for the show, they seemed to color the setting bringing the world to life.
Andrew Joy gave a very heartfelt performance with Jennie Pardoe providing an equally sincere performance. While I didn’t feel all actors had yet fully discovered and supported their respective journeys through the text, there was tremendous ensemble strength. Perhaps one of the most beautiful scenes lay when the family discovers the bride missing and above the action we see her riding away with her chosen love. Although, Kristen Metzger’s vocal solo and the earlier lullaby were my personal favorite moments in the play.
While playwright Federico Garcia Lorca explored the layers of story in the text it was wonderful to see an equal exploration, led by Sorensen, in the methods of storytelling. Caroline Jean Prohosky’s striking choreography added another layer of story to the production. I was particularly touched during the lullaby and wowed by the gravity defying moon.
Scenic and lighting designer Heather Starr softly provided the perfect platform canvas for this production and blanketed it with lighting that didn’t just suit the performance, but challenged it. The lighting existed in its own right as another method of telling the story.
Blood Wedding asks its audience to embrace the immediacy of performance. Sit back, take in the show, and talk about it afterwards. It’s a beautiful production and you are bound to experience something new by attending.
Blood Wedding plays through March 20 (Tue-Sat) at 7:30 PM, with Saturday matinees at 2 PM, in the Margetts Arena Theatre of the Harris Fine Arts Center located at Brigham Young University in Provo. Tickets are $8-15 and may be purchased at the Harris Fine Arts Ticket Office in person, by phone (801-422-4322), or online at BYUArts.com.