Johnnie Walker discusses Blood Weddings‘ return to the Buddies stage with performer and Aluna Theatre’s artistic director, Beatriz Pizano.
The last time Blood Wedding came to Buddies, it was a huge hit. How does it feel to be returning?
We are extremely happy to be able to bring Blood Wedding back. Independent theatre companies often don’t get to remount their work, and that is a real loss for Canadian theatre. Every time you remount a piece, you have the opportunity to go deeper into the work. Our short rehearsal periods don’t allow that. This is something that really needs to change in how we create and produce in this country.
Is there anything about the production that will change for the remount?
I don’t know if anything of the production will change. I know it will grow. Each actor has the opportunity to understand the character and the circumstances at a deeper level, to build on the body memory that has been established.
Lorca’s play has a real enduring appeal—just recently, Soulpepper produced Guillermo Verdecchia’s version of it. Why do you think it’s something that keeps drawing artists towards it? What does a play from the 1930s have to say for a contemporary audience?
Great works are timeless. Lorca is a master at human behaviour. He doesn’t create artificial characters that change completely at the end of a play. That is not real life. Humans have the ability to change, but it is a long process. Also, Lorca places the character in the circumstances. When I was approaching the last speech of the play, one of my favourite ever speeches to deliver, I went back into the current history of Colombia, where I come from—and into our present world state. The fear of the other, the desire for vengeance, the unwillingness to walk in someone else’s shoes are at the core of most of these conflicts. Lorca’s play is about today because it is really about human behaviour.
Do you think there’s a special resonance with a story about taboo romance in an LGBT theatre space?
I think Lorca is talking about feelings that are stronger than we are—about a passion you can’t rationalize. It is about two individuals meeting each other and finding in each other something bigger than themselves. That is scary. But that kind of passion can also move mountains. I think we are generally afraid as a society of such feelings. We like talk a lot about them, but we commercialize them, we package them in a safe form. Lorca was living in a difficult time, a civil war was about to explode and liberal values were crashed.
I think there could be much resonance with the LGBT community. In a way, Leonardo and the Bride tried to convince themselves that they could live without each other if they played by the rules. The society was against them. I think the tragedy in Lorca is about going against your true feelings, conforming. You are who you are.