Review: Blood Wedding, at RADA studios
18 July, 2019 — By Kimberley Roa Torres De Sousa
A gritty, urban production of Blood Wedding exploded on to the Rada Studios stage
STUDENTS from La Sainte Union, Acland Burghley, William Ellis, and Parliament Hill schools took to the Rada stage on July 8-9, bringing to explosive life Lorca’s Blood Wedding.
Although the 1932 play was publicised as a “rural tragedy”, the young actors set the story in a gritty urban setting – mirroring today’s gang violence, knife crime and rivalries prevalent.
The play begins with a frenzy of characters, dressed in white, red and blue tracksuits (symbolising the Union flag), panicking over two stab victims, a foreshadowing the bloodshed to come. Behind all the action and panic, one detail of the set stood out in particular. Capturing Lorca’s warnings about knives, and the political climate in London, the set features a brick wall carrying the names of every city street that has seen a stabbing in 2019.
Director Sarah O’Keefe and assistant Lorraine Molins, as well as stage management students, clearly saw the opportunity to make a strong statement about the fatal issue and incorporated this into the urbanised setting.
The intense feelings surrounding pain, violence and love, as well as the subtle supernatural elements, were powerfully evoked by the pupils, using newly devised and choreographed dance sequences, live freshly composed R&B music and, above all, their passion and connection with their roles.
Through each bold and ambitious choice, the LaSWAP consortium successfully put on a suspenseful and raw performance of Blood Wedding, transforming the tale of a runaway bride and the two men who love her, into an examination of society. One particularly haunting question, delivered by a woodcutter, stayed with me: “Do you think they will break out of the circle?”
• Kimberley Roa Torres De Sousa is a Year 11 pupil at La Sainte Union