A new version by Tanya Ronder
By Federico García Lorca
Directed By Rufus Norris
The bride has chosen well; the man of her future is a glass of clear water. But the muddy river of her past can't stop flowing.
Blood Wedding, written in 1932 by the legendary playwright Federico Garcia Lorca, is based on the explosive story of a wedding party in rural Spain. His other major work for the theatre includes Yerma and The House of Bernada Alba.
Rufus Norris has also directed Festen at the Almeida, for which he was awarded the 2004 Evening Standard Theatre Award for Best Director. Rufus Norris and Tanya Ronder previously collaborated on Peribanez at the Young Vic.
Federico García Lorca
Federico García Lorca was born 5th June, 1898, in Fuente Vaqueros, an Andalucian village near Granada. The son of landowner Federico García Rodriguez and his wife, Vicenta Lorca Romero, a gifted pianist. In 1909, the family moved to Granada itself and Lorca quickly became fascinated with the vibrancy and exotic cultures of the city.
Interested in music, theatre and literature, Lorca trained as a classical pianist until 1916, when after the death of his piano teacher, he turned his attentions to writing. Often to be found reciting his poems in local cafes, he quickly made friends with fellow poets and artists. After finishing secondary school, he read law at the University of Granada and in 1919, he moved to Madrid to continue his law studies at the Residencia de Estudiantes where he would meet and become friends with artist Salvador Dali and filmmaker Luis Bunuel. He remained in Madrid for the next fifteen years.
Lorca and Dali became close (though its not known if they were lovers) and influenced each other’s work; in 1927, Dali collaborated on Lorca’s Barcelona production of the historical drama Mariana Pineda. It was also during these years that Lorca was to meet and become close friends with composer Manual de Falla and in 1922 they organised Spain’s first amateur festival of Andalusian flamenco music where Lorca was influenced further by the traditions of folk and gypsy music.
Alongside organising theatrical and musical recitals, Lorca was already publishing his writing. Having already written Impresiones y Paisajes (1918) as a result of his travels about Spain, he published his first anthology of poems, Libro de Poemas in1921. He also began to write his famous Poema del Cante Jondo which was published ten years later and in 1928, he published Romancero Gitano – these works, infused with the mythology and folklore of the cultures surrounding Lorca, were quickly earning him a reputation throughout the Hispanic world as a ‘gypsy poet’; a title that he was never entirely comfortable with. Lorca had also met and fallen in love with a sculptur, Emilio Aladren. When this relationship failed, Lorca’s unhappiness fuelled the decision to leave Madrid and in 1929, he sailed to New York.
Urban New York proved to be a culture-shock for the non-english speaking poet and his moods during this time were recorded later in Poeta en Nueva York (1940). Lorca was appalled by the frightening and corrupted city, but also fascinated by the cultural diversity of its occupants; Oda al Rey de Harlem is full of the rhythms and cadences of the Harlam jazz scene. Lorca left New York after only nine months and turned to the more primitive Cuba where he remained for a further four months.
Lorca returned to Spain in 1930 just as the Second Republic was established, leading to a democracy that would last for the next six years. The new regime suited Lorca and he became enthusiastically involved in its cultural programme, becoming director of La Barracca, a university touring theatre company, and between 1932 and 1936, he wrote the three plays that he is best known for; Bodas de Sangre, Yerma and La Casa de Bernarda Alba.
By 1936, Spain had reached political unrest as extreme right-wing groups threatened the Socialist government, and by the summer, civil war had broken out. Lorca was arrested by right-wing supporters on 16 August and shot two days later. Although he had no political affiliations, he was a strong supporter of the Left, and it is likely that his captors believed that the death of a known writer and homosexual would be an example to others. It is not known where he was buried.
"Brilliantly directed by Rufus Norris. Another indication of how well Michael Attenborough's management is doing at the Islington playhouse"