Over the course of their life, an individual will face many choices. To embrace fate or flee from destiny, that is the question.
The Department of Theatre, Film, and Media Arts has invited guest director Leda Hoffman to produce “Blood Wedding,” the second show of Ohio State’s 2023-24 theater season. The play explores universal themes like love and decision-making, according to the department’s website.
Also an artistic director at The Contemporary Theatre of Ohio, Hoffman said “Blood Wedding” is one act, depicting a love triangle that arises out of an arranged marriage between two affluent families in 1930s rural Spain. When the Bride elopes with her former lover on the intended night of her wedding, Hoffman said tragedy and familial violence ensue.
“The play is about young people getting married and trying to figure out what to do when they’re in love with someone else,” Hoffmann said.
Hoffmann said the title, “Blood Wedding,” evokes the perpetual bad blood between the play’s two main families. Romance clashes with murder, complicating the characters’ already complicated relationships, she said.
“They’re trying to escape this cycle of violence, but the idea of vengeance and standing up for family is so strong in this society,” Hoffmann said. “The parents, and eventually [the young lovers], get caught up in that.”
Hoffman said the cast is comprised of both undergraduate and graduate students. A sufficient mix of newcomers and seasoned performers has allowed for a rich sense of collaboration throughout the rehearsal process, she said.
“I’ve had a wonderful time working with everybody,” Hoffmann said. “It’s been really exciting to watch everybody figure out what this play is about, and what this means to them.”
Shannon McCarren — a graduate student pursuing a master’s in fine arts in acting, who is portraying The Bride in Ohio State’s production — said working with Hoffman has proven to be a highly precious opportunity.
“You don’t always get that in academia, the opportunity to work with people that are in the business, in the professional realm,” McCarren, also a graduate teaching associate, said.
Hoffmann said directing Ohio State students has been a notable experience in her theater career, as every cast and crew member brings crucial elements to the show’s development.
“Students that I’m working with are really curious and inquisitive, and have been bringing some incredibly smart ideas to this really challenging play,” Hoffmann said.
Hoffmann said “Blood Wedding” pushes actors to naturally deliver poetic language and humanize often intimidating textual passages.
“This is a chance for us to see stylized text and for actors to work on it,” she said.
McCarren said the play stimulates actors because the script was originally written in Spanish and translated to English. Thus, she said the cast must do additional research to better comprehend the play’s language, context, characters and culture, she said.
“It’s a challenge to wrap your mind around the world that [Federico García] Lorca has created,” McCarren said.
”Blood Wedding” will be the first production featured in the Theatre, Film, and Media Arts Building’s new Black Box Theatre, McCarren said.
“To have the audience right there with us in such an intimate way is going to be really exciting,” McCarren said.
“Blood Wedding” will run from Wednesday to Nov. 17th in the Black Box Theatre space. Tickets can be purchased online, over the phone or in person at the Ohio State Theatre ticket office.
“We just can’t wait to get audiences in this week, to get to see this beautiful new space,” Hoffmann said.