Death stalks the stage in Constellation Theatre‘s production of Federico García Lorca‘s Blood Wedding. A mother grieves years after the death of her husband and oldest son, with her surviving son bearing the burden of providing a new generation to take care of the family farm. The good news of his finding a bride is mixed with worrisome news: the future bride once was with a man related to the murderer of the mother’s husband. I would suggest “Romeo and Juliet and Juliet’s Crazy Ex-Boyfriend” as an alternate title for this play.

Luckily director Shirley Serotsky does away with melodrama and presents this tragedy with duende, earthy and ethereal. Key to the plot’s emotional twists is the bride, played by Victoria Reinsel, who has to choose between passion and love.

The story is accompanied by music throughout, primarily by guitarist Behzad Habibzai sitting on the side of the stage. Actors join in by singing, most joyfully when rousing the bride with “Awake, O Bride, awaken,” the guests’ celebration contrasting with the bride’s own sense of doom.

The two suitors escape being caricatures in spite of the limited range of their roles. One, the groom (Mark Halpern), soldiers on with his duties, unaffected by the tragedies of his family’s past. He is forever comforting his mother, confident her worries are needless. Yet towards the end her silent acquiescence prompts him to action. The other suitor, Leonardo (Dylan Myers), is already married to the bride’s cousin, but unable to fight his desires, and heedless of the consequences.

All this is watched by Death, eyes veiled by black netting that made him look like a beekeeper. His more poetic companion was the Moon, happily shining blue light across a dark forest where the lovers meet their fates. In this world the moon does indeed inspire lunacy, as the lovers abandon restraint and confront their desires without regard for the future.

It is a world you will be drawn into. While the play’s title had me braced for the macabre, Blood Wedding prefers the lyrical to the gruesome. Kendra Rai’s costumes lent authenticity to the Spanish setting, from the bride’s black lace on her wedding dress, to the groom’s shoes, plus a touch of fancy with the Moon’s flowing white gown.

The production was simple but lifted with honest portrayals. Visit Source Theatre if you want to witness the tragic romance of Constellation Theatre’s Blood Wedding.

Blood Wedding at Constellation Theatre

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