Social, cultural, historical context
Federico Garcia Lorca wrote “Blood Wedding” in 1933 during the social turmoil that was taking place in Spain. His plays were viewed as controversial and opposed to traditional Spanish values and traditions. As a result of this, he was executed by a firing squad on 16th August 1936, following the outbreak of Spanish civil war. At the time that Lorca was writing “Blood Wedding” Spain had a non-pluralist society. All aspects of political and domestic life were controlled by a single religion: the Catholic Church, which is a constant presence throughout the play in the form of religious ceremonies. Franco, the leader of the Nationalists, who established himself as a dictator following the revolution, wanted to increase the influence of the church and control social change. This tension is also apparent throughout the play. Organised religion no longer has such a hold on political and domestic life as it did in 1933, and its influence has diminished not only in Spain, but also in Europe and much of the rest of the world. However, many of the themes present in “Blood Wedding” are still relevant today. Themes such as love, death, crime and internal problems within families brought on by conflict between generations seem to remain important no matter how much the world changes. In order to enhance the understanding of the class, particularly in relation to the social and cultural context in which the play was set, we adjusted the thermostat in the room so that we had to perform in sweltering heat. As Stanislavski once wrote, “take nothing for granted. Think of your own experiences and use them truthfully.” We found that something as simple as adjusting the temperature allowed us to relate to a greater extent with the characters in question, as we began to feel that we were in the Spanish countryside. The resulting sensations of confusion and irritability that we were actually experiencing allowed us to employ a form of method acting to portray Lorca’s characters with more accuracy.
In act I scene I, The Mother and the Bridegroom are on set.
Both of the characters say very little to begin with and the tone of the scene is very calm, until the Bridegroom asks for the knife in which to cut the grapes. The violent imagery of the knife immediately changes the tone of the scene, but also has the effect of highlighting the differences between the two generations; the mother no longer able to see the knife as simply a piece of cutlery, because of its significance for her. The mother begins to talk more and begins to use very poetic language when speaking highly of the men that she has lost in her life due to violence. “First your father, fresh as a carnation…then your brother…how is it that something as small as a pistol or a knife can do away with a man who is like a bull?” The mother continues to repeat this point and talk about her lost ones and the bridegroom repeatedly tries to get her to stop, “Shall we stop now, mother?” From this it is implied that the mother’s speech is a regular occurrence, but also that the younger generation seems to have been able to move on, whereas the mother is still very much concerned with the past. By looking at the punctuation used at this point I assume the mother has most likely taken an angry tone with a loud volume. She uses rhetorical questions, “How can you carry that knife on you? Why do I keep that snake in the kitchen?” She does not want answers; she merely wants to sound her opinion to her son, perhaps as a manner of conveying her position of authority. However I find that because the Bridegroom says very little and when he does speak, he tries to stop his mother ranting on, “Have you finished?” he is the most powerful character on the stage in this scene. It was important for this relationship of power to translate into our performance.
Visual, aural, spatial elements
Act III scene I, Entrance Of the Moon....
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