Suffolk Commissions New Musical Adaptation of Lorca Classic

The Suffolk University Theatre Department has commissioned a new musical adaptation of Federico García Lorca’s classic tale of forbidden love, Blood Wedding. The text is newly translated and adapted by award-winning playwright and Suffolk faculty member, Melinda Lopez. Argentinean jazz fusion artist Claudio Ragazzi composes the score.

Marilyn Plotkins, chair of the Theatre Department and Founding Director of the Boston Music Theatre Project (BMTP), spearheads the endeavor. Inspired by her summer Flamenco study abroad program, Plotkins wanted to tie her work at Suffolk’s Madrid campus in with the next BMTP piece. Lorca, Spain’s most important poet-playwright of the 20th century, was an obvious fit.

Lopez interprets the rhythms of the original Spanish for an American audience. By weaving in Spanish selectively, as one might hear in a bilingual household, she creates a recognizable world that still honors Lorca’s intentions. Ragazzi similarly integrates traditional and contemporary sounds in his music. He infuses traditional flamenco with contemporary jazz, folk, blues and rock rhythms.

“We wanted to connect with the passion and the poetry of the original but have it feel natural and necessary for our actors today,” says Plotkins.

Based on a newspaper account of a young woman who left her fiancé at the altar for another man, Lorca’s Blood Wedding explores the primal needs of a young couple who rebel against the proscriptions of a repressive society with tragic consequences. The play disturbingly foreshadows the author’s own fate. Lorca was executed at the beginning of the Spanish Civil War as a homosexual and outspoken critic of the fascists. He was thirty-eight.

Blood Wedding concludes a year of special programs presented by the Suffolk University Theatre Department that explore the diverse cultural traditions of the Spanish-speaking world, including flamenco music and dance and Mexico’s Day of the Dead celebration.

Melinda Lopez is an actor and playwright. In addition to her recent fellowships at the Huntington Theatre Company and the Sundance Institute, she was the first recipient of the Charlotte Woolard Award, given by the Kennedy Center to a “promising new voice in American Theatre.” Her plays include Sonia Flew (Elliot Norton Award: Best New Play, IRNE: Best Play and Best Production) God Smells Like a Roast Pig (Women on Top Festival, Elliot Norton Award: Outstanding Solo Performance) and Caroline in New Jersey (Williamstown Theatre Festival). She has performed in regional theatres across the country, and is featured in the movie Fever Pitch. She resides in Bedford, Massachusetts.

Claudio Ragazzi is an award-winning composer and guitarist who has written for television, film and theatre. A graduate of the Berklee College of Music, he has received the prestigious Duke Ellington Master’s Award, a Boston Music Award, and a regional Emmy. His work can be heard in the films Next Stop Wonderland, Something’s Gotta Give, and The Blue Diner and in programs on the Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, and PBS. A native of Argentina, Ragazzi resides in Belmont, Massachusetts.

Blood Wedding runs April 2-5, 2009, Thursday-Saturday at 8pm, Saturday & Sunday at 3pm in the Studio Theatre, located on the 4th Floor of the Archer Building at 41 Temple Street, Beacon Hill, Boston. Admission is free and open to the public but seating is limited. To make a reservation, please call the Theatre Department at 617.573.8282. All reservations expire 10 minutes prior to curtain. A limited number of seats may be available at the door. Please note: this production contains adult themes and language that may not be suitable for all audiences.