by Federico Garcia Lorca
Rewritten by David Ireland
Presented by Graeae, Dundee Rep and Derby Theatre
Directed by Jenny Sealey
21st April - 25th April 2015
In football parlance a match is sometimes described as being a game of
two halves. In a similar way Blood Wedding is a play of two halves!
The first act was difficult to sit through. In an adaptation of an acclaimed
Lorca play, performed by a mixture of deaf and disabled people and so-called
non-disabled actors (Graeae was founded in 1980 to give an opportunity
for deaf and disabled people to appear on stage), in which the tale of
passion and violence between two families was transported from the torrid
heat of Andalucia in 1932 to a present-day unnamed British city.
The dialogue was often puerile, laced with ultra nasty sexual language,
the plot simplistic, and being unaware of Lorca's original version, surely
this was a bastardisation of it, particularly when there are references
to Primark, Strictly Come Dancing and Emmerdale. It is considered to be
full of passion and yearning but the only yearning I felt before the intermission
was for it it to end - such was the monotony of the performance.
However what stood out was the performance of the profoundly deaf actress
Agnes (EJ Raymond), who was compelling as the mother of the bridegroom,
Edward (Ricci McLeod). She had lost her husband and son in a knife attack
and was fearful of losing Edward as he is about to marry into the family
of the killers.
But the second act proved a revelation. The storyline was far stronger
and the dialogue more profound. The most memorable scene was of two homeless
women - I was not sure the relevance of their involvement in the story
- with their voices eerily reverberating around the Everyman auditorium.
It was about half the length of the first act but far more watchable
and relevant to Lorca's original script.
The most memorable aspect of this hit and miss version of Blood Wedding
was the combined use of signing, voiceovers and surtitles (dialogue projected
onto the stage props), which gave it a unique quality.