Olives and Blood
By Michael Bradford
Directed by Gary M. English
Lighting Michael Chybowski
Costume Design Thamiris Esteves
Sound Design Lexi Macchiaroli
Nafe Katter Theatre
When a poet writes about another poet
it can be a dangerous thing. We love our sisters and brothers and want to
support them; sometimes that sweeps us up into an elegiac frenzy and interferes
with the telling of the story. On the other hand we sometimes
over-correct and become so rigorous in our critique or analysis of another poet
that find only fault where there is much good to be seen.
In writing about Federico Garcia
Lorca, Michael Bradford manages to navigate the Scylla and Charybdis of
uncritical applause on the one hand and ungenerous fault finding on the other. His script for Olives and Blood reflects one poet/playwright’s appreciation for the
soul and work of another.
In another context, referring to his poetry, I said that
Michael Bradford is a writer who has found and is
comfortable with his own voice. We see
in this script that he is comfortable as a playwright as well as a poet.
Along with Ruben
Dario, Juan Ramón Jiménez and Pablo Neruda, Lorca brought modernism to Spanish
language poetry and drama, but he didn’t lose the sense of tremendum.
Duende is a spirit who
takes over the performer, a magic spell that sometimes happens when everything
is just right. The word is a
foreshortening of the Spanish, “duende de
la casa,” when flamenco dancers say the master
of the house has entered and the music is taken over by spirit. Lorca made much of it in his lectures in
Buenos Aires in 1933.
The most compelling
scene of the evening, the scene where everything comes together, starts with
Lorca directing The Actress. He wants
her to create the moment of duende. She
cannot find the truth of the scene and overplays her part. The Actor joins them and they rerun the scene
from Lorca’s play Yerma. As they continue The Actor breaks character
and starts to argue about her bringing their off-stage relationship into her
acting of Lorca’s play. This
time everything has meaning, Lorca is mesmerized by their performance, and
duende becomes manifest.
The scene at the Nafe
Kater theatre works like a charm.
Bradford has written an important and magical scene but it is a
difficult scene to make happen. Gary
English does a great job directing, and the three actors are pitch perfect, but
the secret ingredient is the lighting.
Michael Chybowski changes the mood as he imperceptibly softens the
lighting while the actress is talking. I
am sure the majority of audience members didn’t notice the lights change but
they felt the change in their body. The
lighting was not merely illumination but was integral to the meaning of the
creates duende in response to the requirements of the script. Wow!
The playwright should
be highly satisfied.
Michael Bradford got an
intelligent and sensitive production of his play from the team at UConn’s Nafe
Outstanding in the
cast are Anita Petry as Actress/Margarite, Martin Solá as Trescante, Nicholas
Urda as Lorca, and Gabriel Aprea as Antonio.
Labels: Anita Petry, Gabriel Aprea Nafe Katter Theatre, Gary M. English, Lexi Macchiaroli, Lighting, Martin Solá, Michael Bradford Lorca, Michael Chybowski, Nicholas Urda, Olives and Blood, Thamiris Esteves