Once Upon a Time in Almería
28 November 2012

The House of the Bride

Seeing Constellation Theater’s innovative production of Lorca’s Blood Wedding reminded me of the script’s explicit references to the barren landscape of Almeria. The set is minimal, as it should be, to highlight the isolation of the characters and the unforgiving environment they inhabit. In an exchange in the first act, the groom’s mother complains of the distance they had to travel to reach the bride’s remote house, “a four hour journey and not a house or a tree.” The bride’s father laments the dry earth and how he “had to labor over it and shed tears to get anything from it.”

Lorca based the play on actual events that occurred in 1928. The dramatic story was widely reported in the national press and journalists described the empty, ochre-colored earth for their readers. In his stage directions, Lorca suggests the the bride’s home appears in a “panorama of brownish plains, everything hardened like a landscape of ceramic.

Lorca did make some changes to the location, however. The bride’s home is a cave, rather than the expansive Cortijo del Fraile she actually lived in. And the final chase scene and confrontation takes place in a dense forest. These alterations enhance the symbolic impact of the settings. However, at the time the play was premiered, some critics found the overt symbolism to be a weakness. Constellation Theater’s production ends March 4, so go see for yourself! My photographs of the Cortijo Del Fraile are up in the entryway and hopefully help viewers to imagine the setting of the action.

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