Florida School of the Arts presents “Blood Wedding”
“Blood Wedding,” a Spanish tragedy of love and romance by Federico Garcia Lorca, will be coming to the main stage of Florida School of the Arts, located on the St. Johns River State College Palatka campus. Offering a visually rich and action-packed musical theatre experience, cast members in elaborately student-designed costumes will perform on a newly-designed thrust stage. The show runs at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, June 15 through Saturday, June 17, and at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, June 18. Tickets are $5. Due to the newly expanded stage, FloArts acting instructor and play director Patricia Crotty said, “It’s going to be a whole different experience for the audience.”
First performed in 1933 in Madrid, Spain, “Blood Wedding” is a folk tragedy based on a true story. According to Crotty, “The play tells the story of a young woman who is torn between her duty and her love for two men. The conflict boils over at the wedding reception when the whole community is torn apart by the love triangle. It’s a very intense and intimate story, and we want the audience to experience it that way.”
With that intimate setting in mind, FloArts scenic design instructor Robert O’Leary got to work converting the auditorium into a whole different theatre space, allowing the play to be performed in the center of the audience. On this up-close-and-personal stage, the poetic text will be delivered in both English and Spanish. “The students have taken the lead on making that happen,” Crotty explained. “We really wanted to define the richness of Lorca’s work -- one of Spain’s great poets who is often compared to Shakespeare in the Spanish language. We have a lot of Hispanic students at the School, so that’s why we picked this play,” Crotty stated.
Student designers have also taken the lead in creating the costumes, lights and sounds. “They’re very challenging designs, and we have some really creative students who have tackled them in an interesting way,” said Crotty. Costume design faculty supervisor Emily Strickland added that student costume designer Mitchell Collins has done a great job separating the socioeconomic class, the relationships, and the age -- an area that Strickland said is consistently challenging due to the need to make to young cast members appear far older. Crotty added that Collins has done an equally impressive job with the challenge of having to blend the emotional reality of the story with the poetic elements of the visual storytelling.
Because “Blood Wedding” is not the traditional musical, Strickland said it has provided students the opportunity to work on projects -- such as mask-making and creating accessories for abstract characters -- that they might not normally experience.
Musically-speaking, Crotty said that after reading the script for “Blood Wedding,” it became obvious to her that some sections of it were meant to be sung. She approached FloArts musical theatre voice instructor Kandie Smith to solicit her help in researching traditional musical settings of the poetry. A week later, Smith presented sheets of handwritten, original music to Crotty.
"My research made it clear that there were no traditional settings of Lorca's poetry,” explained Smith, who is also the play’s music director. “Since I am familiar with the idioms of Spanish folk music, the styles and the influence of Flamenco, I used that information, along with my own training as a singer, to set the words to melodic lines that reflect the flavors of Spain as well as the brooding nature of the play. This entire experience -- from research to composition, to dissemination, to staging -- has been utterly fascinating,” she said.
While “Blood Wedding” has no language or sexual-content issues that may be of concern to parents, the play is filled with heavy emotional content and some violence.
The cast for “Blood Wedding” includes Robert Allen, Cameron Bartelt, Mitchel Burns, Yul Carrion, Emely Cuestas, Matias De La Flor, Savannah Faulkner, Devin Fuentes, Christina Goodin, Anna Guzman, Bella Guzman, Martin Hamilton, Melissa Hund, Timothy Lake, Pascale Molina, Brianna Osmond, Angelee Ramos, Jenna Rubiano, Emily Skinner, Kai Wilson and Matthew Wilson.
The production staff consists of Robert Allen, vocal captain; Katrina Babitzke, properties master and light board operator; Mitchell Collins; costume design; Bella Guzman, choreography and Spanish scribe; Gordia Hayes, assistant director; Sarah Cox and Uvenka Jean-Baptiste, stitchers; Braden Harrington, sound design; William Searcy Holley IV, projection engineer; Tiffany Jordan, costume shop supervisor; Jessica Mayhew, dance faculty advisor; Bethany McLain, production assistant; Brittany Posso, lighting design; John Robinson, master carpenter and sound board operator; Emma Stimpson, assistant stage manager; Angel Warren, stage manager; Babitzke, Austin Carroll, Bob A. Fett, Allyson Futch, Harrington, Holley IV, Posso, Robinson, Ritchie Rodriguez, Jenna Rubiano, Maycee Smith, Billy Williams, and Wilson, stage carpenters, electricians and painters; Samuel Alvarado, Carrion, Faulkner, Hayes, and Molina, costume construction crew.
Florida School of the Arts is part of the academic and administrative structure of SJR State and awards the two-year associate degree. The School serves the entire state of Florida and is located on the SJR State Palatka campus. For more information, call 386-312-4300 or visit the website at floarts.org.
Florida School of the Arts students Pascale Molina, Yul Carrion and Matias De La Flor portray the love triangle in the Spanish Tragedy, “Blood Wedding.” The folk tragedy is based on a true story and runs June 15 through 18.
Director of Public Relations and Publications