REVIEW by Willard Manus
Federico Garcia Lorca's BLOOD WEDDING is another classic which has been updated and reinterpreted, this time by British playright Tanya Ronder. California's central valley in the 1950s now substitutes for rural Spain, with a largely Asian-American cast playing the roles. Director Jon Lawrence Rivera opts for a highly-stylized production which is greatly enhanced by set designer John H. Binkley and lighting designer Derrick McDaniel, who have given the play a stark, moon-drenched look that perfectly matches Lorca's operatic dialogue.
BLOOD WEDDING is the story of a tragic love triangle. Bride (Nikki McKenzie) and Groom (Willie Fortes) have just been married (despite opposition from the bride's mother, Sharon Omi). Wreaking havoc is Leonardo (Joshua Zar), who is not only the only character with a name but is the bride's ex-boyfriend, a hot-blooded stud who shows up at the wedding party desperate to have sex with his beloved. A bloody spot of bother follows, of course.
BLOOD WEDDING is full of fiery passion and flowery dialogue which doesn't sound quite right on the lips of normally stoic Asian farm folk. Also, the profusion of abstract characters--Death, Moon, Servant, Shy Girl, etc.--gives the play an unfortunate portentous quality. Rivera and his cast, though, fight hard to overcome those handicaps.
Thanks to their valiant work, BLOOD WEDDING manages to weave a tangled web that catches up a 21st-century audience in its primeval spell.
Odyssey Theatre, 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd. 310-477-2055. Odysseytheatre.com