Federico Garcia Lorca’s celebrated Spanish-language play tells the tale of a wedding day that descends into tragedy. This simple but powerful tale criticises the divisive and close-mindedness of traditional, rural Spanish culture. It is a theme that resonated with Lorca’s life as he struggled to reconcile his homosexuality amongst the prejudice of the time. This was a vibrant and exciting performance from Edinburgh University’s Spanish students.
Despite the general lack of previous acting experience across the cast (none of whom are native Spanish speakers) the production was engaging, convincing and even provided its own twist of humour and light-heartedness. This is in no small part thanks to the dedicated work of producer Tessa Duncan and director Yaz Murray, whose attention to detail brought some potentially tricky scenes to life.
The seething tension of the family feuds came across beautifully, to the point where I heard someone behind me declare that even though they couldn’t understand what was being said, they still felt they knew exactly what was going on. A great achievement for a play that is sparse in action and has few stage directions to give clues as to what is happening.
The whole cast did an excellent job of wrestling with a foreign language script and the dialogue on the whole was smooth. There were times where the effort of getting all the lines out correctly seemed to affect the projection and dynamism of delivery a little, but this certainly didn’t overshadow the play in a major way.
Emma Daffara (Mother) and Nicola Cassisi (Leonardo) in particular performed with stunning fluency and on top of that produced brilliant acting performances. Emily Drummond (the Bride) demonstrated acting quality in spades but seemed a little bit tied down by the language at times. I’d love to see her cut loose in an English production. The surprising star of the show, however, was George Aldington (Servant and Moon) who injected brilliant energy and humour into two minor parts. I never knew a moon could be so sassy.
The performance certainly had its imperfections, but what the cast and crew achieved here is no small feat. Justice was certainly done to one of Spain’s most beloved plays, and whether you are a fluent speaker or have only just mastered ‘hola’, it is well worth going to see what love and dedication to another language can achieve.
Bodas de Sangre
Assembly Roxy Theatre
Was scheduled to run from 27th February – 1st March. Tonight’s performance has been cancelled due to the weather, but may be rearranged for a later date.
Image: Sergio Mangas