"Don't expect flamenco, blood and castanets! Marion's direction takes the play into a more modern, post-colonial world with a strong Spanish influence." – Silvia Colloca.

In this remarkable bilingual production directed by Marion Potts, the lush lyricism of Federico García Lorca’s writing will be celebrated in both English as well as the original Spanish. This portion of the play will remain untranslated because of its significance to the thematics of the play . Director Marion Potts – who is fluent in Spanish – has assembled a truly international cast to do justice to Lorca's play.

One such actor is Italian born Silvia Colloca who cites playing the bride in Blood Wedding as definitely her most challenging, and therefore enjoyable, role to date. "The bride has made the decision to marry a good man she cares for, that is a potential great husband, but that she is not truly in love with," explains Colloca. "She understands that it is a wise and safe decision and desperately tries to go through with it although deep down she knows she will not be able to. The force that drags her towards Leonardo is stronger than any resolutions. It is relentless, destructive and neither of them can avoid it. To be able to play this character, I have to ensure that I have free access to my emotional world and connect with the angst and turmoil she goes through. Some days have been harder than others."

Colloca  has enjoyed very successful careers both in Italy and Australia but has found that when drawing comparison between the performing arts culture of the two countries things couldn't more different. "In Australia actors are treated with such respect it really shocked me at first. Everybody is so nice here!" she states." In Italy it's very different. Italian directors are known for their temper and mood swings! Naturally there are exceptions, but not very many…When I worked with Giuseppe Patroni Griffi, Italy's most celebrated theatre director, every single one of us in the cast endured their share of insults and daily bullying from him, but no matter how harsh he'd be during rehearsals, he'd then come out with us to have a bite after work and was lovable and affectionate. He was in his 80s and we admired his strength and his genius, even if at times he was hurtful. Working in Italy made me develop a thicker skin. Alas, at this moment in time, the entertainment system in Italy is a reflection of our messy political situation and I am quite happy not to have to deal with it at this moment in my life."

Lorca's  plays are rural, earthy and lyrical. Perhaps best known for his 'The House Of Bernarda Alba, Lorca is evocative, bold, beautiful but also a master of tragedy. Blood Wedding is no exception and therein lies its ultimate connection to the human condition as well as enticing actors from across the globe. "When I was at drama school I was cast as Bernarda in Lorca's The House of Bernarda Alba. To this day, I remember every single line of dialogue," explains Colloca, "I find myself reciting the final monologue at the most bizarre times and I have a vivid memory of the smell of my costumes and the feel of my grey wig. The work we did on that play affected me very deeply. May it be because I was so young and impressionable, but most likely because Lorca's poetry is so unapologetically potent that its force hit me and never really left me. To be able to explore those emotions again as an adult and accompanied by Marion Potts and my beautiful cast mates has shaken my soul and I know that Blood Wedding will stay trapped within my skin just like The House of Bernarda Alba did. What I have found the most challenging is to rely on the language to convey the emotions. It is very easy to fall into the temptation to be lyrical when delivering poetry, and I have had to go through the process of stripping everything to the essential core. When the words are so powerful, what is left to do for us actors it to say them simply as they are, listen and trust one another."

It could be said that the meeting between Colloca and Potts was very fortuitous – it was initiated by Potts while Colloca was visiting her family in Italy. Since she couldn't attend the audition in Sydney, she put herself on tape read from the play in her mum and dad's bedroom in Milan. She never thought it could work but it did and that, as they say, is history.

Colloca has a strong, clear and precise definition of the term 'a good director' and cites one of the key requirements as a high degree of intelligence. "The insight into life and human souls required by the job isn't for everyone. The hardest challenge for a good director is to be able to communicate his/her vision to the creative team and the actors in order to get everybody speaking the same theatrical language," she explains." Most importantly, a good director guides the actors to search for the truth and not 'act' it. I personally love it when directors shake things up just when you thought you were safe in the scene and things were going smoothly. It can be quite scary, but inevitably you end up learning so much more about your character and, consequently, yourself."

I certainly get the feeling that Potts has engendered this spirit within the rehearsal room – for Colloca the Blood Wedding journey has been enthralling. " We have all so deeply rooted ourselves in the world that Marion has created, she says. "Strong bonds, alliances and friendships have formed in a short space of time. We had no choice in the matter. It just happened. There is trust and support in the room and generous amounts of cuddles. Marion finds it very endearing that we feel the need to be affectionate to one another so literally, but we are a Mediterranean/Latino cast, this is how we express friendship, and ultimately, such level of intimacy has helped us build the relationships on the stage. Everyone is very committed. Very rarely I have worked with a bunch of actors that meet before rehearsals to go through lines and toss ideas or that devote their lunch hour to "figure stuff out". It's electrifying. We feel very alive. "

Colloca will shortly be seen in Aaron Wilson's Triple Happiness, as an Italian immigrant caught up in a love that may never be, working alongside Robert Menzies and Mark Leonard Winter. But for now the Mediterranean passion of Blood Wedding is the hot topic of the day and it is this that Colloca hopes the audience is enticed by:  "I wish for the audience to feel part of what we have created. I don't think we would be doing our job correctly if the audience felt like they were just watching a play. I hope for them to live and breathe the play, to go home and feel the urge to talk about it and read more of Lorca's poetry. And if the passion we speak of rubs off, maybe they should take that home too… ¿Por que no?…"

Blood Wedding
Malthouse
July 21 – August 19
http://www.malthousetheatre.com.au/show-listing/blood-wedding/

 

 

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