Summit High School presents ‘Blood Wedding’
If you go
What: Federico Garcia Lorca’s “Blood Wedding,” a Spanish tragedy, produced by Summit High School performing arts teacher Scott Porter
When: 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 20; Friday, Nov. 21; and Saturday, Nov. 22; and 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 23
Where: Summit High School Auditorium, 16201 Highway 9, Frisco
Cost: $5 for students or $10 for adults; tickets are available through Summit High School in advance or at the door
More information: The play explores themes of revenge, sensuality and death, which may not be appropriate for young audiences. Call Julie McCluskie, director of communications and community engagement, at (970) 368-1013 to learn more.
Students scurry around, gathering props and reviewing opening lines. They talk quickly with one another, greeting, hugging and forming vignettes around the shadowed corners of the stage.
“Places! Technical staff, are you ready?”
Chatter continues as excitement builds. The air thrums with tension, the calm before the rush of the dress rehearsal. A missing chair is retrieved and costumes are adjusted, the actors still unable to calm their movements.
“Close your eyes, roll your shoulders; think about what we need to do for the next hour and a half,” says Josh Blanchard, executive director of the Lake Dillon Theatre Company and director of the Summit High School fall play, now only two days from performances. “You’ve got to be focused today. You’ve been working for eight weeks on this project — help each other to stay focused.”
The stage quiets to silence as the actors have a moment of reflection and finally take their places for the opening scene.
The Summit High School Performing Arts Department will present “Blood Wedding,” a tragedy by Spanish poet, playwright and theater director Federico Garcia Lorca, with four performances, Thursday, Nov. 20, through Sunday, Nov. 23.
When the widow of a murdered farmer discovers her only surviving son has secretly pledged himself in marriage to a mysterious young maiden, she must embrace the fate of her family’s legacy. A Bridegroom, a Bride and a murderous hunter, Leonardo, embark upon a love triangle that results in tragedy for the entire community. Guided by the Moon and two Woodcutters, who predict the play’s tragic but inevitable outcome, the families of these star-crossed lovers are forever marked by the blood of one wedding eve.
“The Bride and I used to love each other a long time ago, and then I married her cousin, and now she is getting married to the Bridegroom, but I still love her and she still has feelings for me,” said James Patalan, a senior at Summit High who plays the role of Leonardo. “And in the midst of the wedding, we run away together into the woods and the Bridegroom and I are murdered.”
Patalan said he could relate to Leonardo’s character, a farmer, skilled horseman and, ultimately, doomed lover.
“In the past, I have had experiences with unrequited love, and so I can definitely relate to him there,” Patalan said. “I bring to this role my own personality, so to speak. Some of the things that Leonardo needs to show, and that he is trying to show through my character, I’m very upset about a lot of things. I’m very angry and violent, but it’s all based upon my love for the Bride.”
The Bride, portrayed by sophomore Claire Davidson, is very much a conflicted character.
“She’s the one that the main events happen to because she’s stuck in the middle of these two vastly different lives that she could lead, and I think her indecision is the thing that really drives the character,” Davidson said. “So I’m trying to add my own interpretation to that very difficult indecision to play, and I’m trying to take her from being a pretty flat character in terms of how the play is written on paper to someone who had to go through the emotional changes required for how the play has to go forward.”
Selah Kreeger, a junior, plays the role of the Moon, one of the more ethereal, mythical characters in the play. The Moon joins with the Woodcutters to drive the fates of the other characters.
“I represent the Moon, and halfway through the play, I am cloaked as Death,” Kreeger said. “And I sort of lead the play on and so does fate. I bring their characters to their end, through their story, whether they die or through their life. I’ve never had a role like this that’s a very serious, more withdrawn, loosely defined role. There’s a lot of character development for me, as far as what I wanted to portray the Moon and contrast Death with the Moon. I feel like I bring my unique interpretation to the roles.”
“Blood Wedding” projects a magical realism, with ideas and feelings represented by physical characters, which adds a depth to the play that hasn’t been accomplished with past productions at Summit High, Davidson said.
“It’s a very powerful show, very poetic,” Patalan said. “I think that based on shows that we’ve done in the past, our theatrical talent performs best under a more serious setting. Last year, we did a comedy and ‘The Crucible,’ and the change between those two, people said that the second one was definitely more of an intense showcase of our ability.”
Originally written in Spanish, the adaptation that will be presented by the Summit High actors is a compilation of several different translations and versions of the story, Kreeger said, with the artistic vision coming from Blanchard.
“Joshua takes it from the paper and really brings it to life and adds a new depth that I don’t think any of us were expecting,” Davidson said. “You look at the way he designs things and his ideas for costumes and sets and blocking, and it really, really causes the entire play to come to life.”
Patalan said one of the things he’s enjoyed most about being a part of the production is working with and learning from Blanchard.
“I think that about 10 times a day I tell him that he’s an absolutely genius,” Patalan said with a laugh. “He adds small things here and small things there, but at the end of the rehearsal process, you see this giant picture and it’s incredible, brilliantly crafted. … I really enjoy seeing a play come to life from a script to what it is now.”
The cast members agreed that audiences would be surprised by the play, which is unlike anything they’ve brought to the stage before at the high school level.
“Even watching other people, our friends and other cast mates, perform their scenes, it’s really just not something we have ever done before,” Davidson said. “It’s something that people wouldn’t have seen before, it’s unexpected and new, and there’s new parts to it and new parts to this type of performing that I don’t think people will expect.” “Those of us on staff at the Lake Dillon Theatre Company have a long history of collaborating with Summit High School to assist in offering cultural educational opportunities for Summit County’s students,” Blanchard said. “We know the community will enjoy the work of SHS’s talented young performers and technicians.”
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