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27.11.10

Blood Wedding

by Federico Garcia Lorca in a version by Ted Hughes

All poets are not alike. Not all poets impregnate every woman they come into contact with.. (if confused, see my previous post). Thank you Ted Hughes for your beautiful version of Lorca's shocking Blood Wedding. This piece is so effective - it spoke to my soul and to my heart in a heightened way that felt both classical and modern.

It's a story of tortured love - a bride is set to marry.. but Leonardo, the man she truly loves, is married to another. They try to contain their passion for each other but Leonardo tells the young bride:
We cannot punish ourselves worse than to burn and stay silent. What good did my pride do me - not seeing you, and knowing you were lying awake night after night. None! It only poured blazing coals over me. You think time heals and that walls shut away but it's not true, it's not true. When things have pierced to the centre nobody can pull them out.
With such deep passions and such heavy words we know this can't end well...

Their love is so strong and so secret that naturally, everyone in town knows about it. The day of the wedding comes but Leonardo and the bride ride away together on horseback. Happy ending, right? Too easy. The lovers (who aren't lovers, as the bride remains chaste) escape into the woods and share a few moments together, all the time knowing that they will be caught. Three woodcutters discuss their flight, saying that "the blood cannot be denied."

          First: When the blood chooses a path it has to be followed.
          Second: But blood that sees the light is swallowed by the dust.
          First: So? Better be a bloodless carcass than alive with the blood rotting in your body.

Better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all? ..I believe this to be true. Though it hurts, I'd rather feel the extremes than live a life of numbness.

The groom is furiously searching for his runaway bride (unintentional endorsement) and when he finds her with Leonardo, the two men fight and are both killed. The mother of the groom is heartbroken but instructs her neighbor:
Will you be quiet. I want no weeping in this house. Your tears are just tears, they come from your eyes. My tears will be different. When I'm alone my tears will come from the soles of my feet. From my very roots. And they'll burn hotter than blood.
The bride comes to her, alone and desperate, having witnessed the death of the two men in her life, wanting only one thing. She asks the old woman:
Stop talking. Take your revenge. Here I am. Here's my throat. You see how soft it is. Easier than cutting a dahlia in your garden. 
The bride is alone with her grief and sees no release from it other than death. She insists that she is pure and has never betrayed the old woman's son. The woman will not draw blood and the bride is left alone to sob in the corner.

Admittedly, this play could be a bit of a downer. Unless you're drawn to the grand, dramatic stories, as I am. I relish in the language and the elevated emotions. Hughes' poetic tendencies ebb and flow throughout, adding beauty to a gruesome story based on a true event.

Tomorrow's Play: Spinning into Butter by Rebecca Gilman

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