Review "Blood Wedding": Death is the Ultimate Wedding Crasher!

Oracle Productions presents

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BLOOD WEDDING
At 3809 N. Broadway
Written by Federico Garcia Lorca
Translated by Michael Dewell and Carmen Zapata
Directed by Ben Fuchsen
Fridays & Saturdays at 8pm, Sundays at 7pm thru November 20th
RESERVE TICKETS*
Running Time:  Two hours includes a delayed start and fifteen minute intermission

Reviewed by Katy Walsh

'You must not talk about the past!' is an ongoing warning.  Despite the caution, individuals fixate on knives, horses and ghosts.  Oracle Productions presents BLOOD WEDDING, a tragic love story with an until-death-do-us-part emphasis for some and a beyond-the-grave hold for others.  A mother disapproves of the groom's bride.  Not an unfamiliar theme, right?  Here's the quirky part, the bride  dated Leonardo Felix.  When Leonardo was 8 years old, a Felix family member murdered the mother's husband and son.  Twenty plus years after the fatality, Death spooks the nuptials of the surviving son.  The bridal party is haunted by the past.  Although the marriage of convenience unites two prominent families in the village, old lovers, killer memories and Death threaten to crash the wedding.  What's a bride to do?  'Hey little sister, what have you done?' BLOOD WEDDING buries the past with the present and marries the living with the dead. 

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Directed by Ben Fuchsen, the ensemble is possessed with a swish of a shawl from Death.  To aid the actor in their demonic convulsion, an eerie projection of a poltergeist appears on a screen and then moves onto the character.  The illumination builds up the Death chase as individuals fight to give up the ghost.  Scenic designer James Ogden has created oversize, movable mesh panels for visual projections.  It also effectively adds a mysterious dimension to action occurring behind it.  From lights up, Sarah Pretz (mother) is Mrs. Bates meets Mommie Dearest.   Statuesque in magnificent gothic widow garb, Pretz controls the action and the stage with a mesmerizing presence.  Pretz is diabolical in delivering emotionless or emotional comments.  She is crazy brilliant!  Another scary great performance is Justin Warren.   Although Warren plays multiple roles, they all appear to connect to ghoulish underworld death apparitions.  He gives me the creeps!  Way to close to the front row, Warren douses

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himself in blood and has a ranting Medea flashback.   

Playwright Federico Garcia Lorca, translated by Michael Dewell and Carmen Zapata, wrote a tragic story where even the moon has lyrical prose and beam involvement with Death.  Oracle aids the supernatural quality with lighting (Sean Campbell), costume (DeChantel Kosmatka) and cast choices for haunting layers of disturbing depth.  The only speed bump for me was an announced ten minute intermission in a ninety minute show.  With a delayed start and rallying guests back to their seats, it turned into a two hour show.  Without extensive scenery changes, the break seemed unnecessary and interrupted the forceful trance.   But I must not talk about the past.  Despite the pause in the nuptials, it's still a nice day for a BLOOD WEDDING!

Production photos courtesy of Sean Campbell.

*This year, Oracle Productions has become a Public Access Theatre.  Wanting to make theatre accessible to the entire community, Oracle no longer charges for tickets.  Guests are encouraged to make a donation.   In addition, The Forty is an annual membership that sponsors productions.

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