'Blood Wedding' Opens at SMC

The dressing-room was abuzz with activity, as make-up was fervently being applied, lines recited like mantra and costumes meticulously adjusted. All of this amidst the lighthearted tomfoolery of Santa Monica College's theatre group students, who prepared for the dress rehearsal of Frederico Garcia Lorca's famous play, "Blood Wedding."

Set in rural Spain, "Blood Wedding" was first completed in 1932 and made its first theatrical debut in Madrid in 1933.

The story begins with a bitter, mourning widow, whose son and husband was slain by a member of the Feliz family, and whose only remaining son was to wed a woman of supposed good virtue only known as the Bride.

As the story evolves the Bride ends up eloping with her former lover, Leonardo Feliz, on her wedding day. A chase is given to restore honor of the Feliz family, thus triggering a series of tragedies.

While the topics dealt with may seem archaic and redundant in the modern-day United States, strong parallels can be seen with certain traditions still practiced all over the world. Especially as issues such as arranged marriages, blood-feuds and honor-killings are addressed.

"Lorca wrote the play based on a true report in the early 20th century. He took the idea from a story in the newspaper," said Carmen Anders, who plays the Bride, also teaching Spanish at SMC.

"I was fortunate to get it. This is my first time as a lead in a play," said Anders about her role. "We took six weeks of preparation - previously I was enrolled in Afro-Brazilian dance and also an acting class."

Theatre major Joel Perry, 24, who plays the role of Leonardo, had this to say about preparing for the role: "We as actors take emotions we have and take them to the limit - the character I play, he is all about himself, selfish. He feels he is strong enough to bear the world, but at the same time soft."

As the rehearsal went underway, the amount of effort and practice put by the cast and crew into the endeavor became evident.

"It is a physical process, correcting posture and just making sure to resist my natural tendencies to be funny - and playing with the poetry of the words, finding the meaning in the poetic words and conveying them as I would today because we can't detach the audience [from the meaning]," said Alex Rogers, 21, playing the role of bride groom.

Certainly no easy feat, with a live audience and no retakes or edits.

The costumes were detailed and opulent, the cast competent in their delivery of songs and lines, all in all promising attributes of a wonderful night.

"Blood Wedding" is directed by SMC theatre department Chairperson Pervis Sawoski, and plays at the Hangar Stage in SMC's Airport Campus.