by Federico Garcia Lorca new version by Gareth Jandrell.
New Diorama 15-16 Triton Street NW1 3BF In rep to 23 February 2013.
7.30pm 29, 30 Jan, 2, 5, 6, 9, 12-14, 21, 22 Feb. Mat 23 Feb 11am.
Runs 2hr One interval.
TICKETS: 020 7383 9034.
Review: Timothy Ramsden 28 January.
Poetic drama in production with a poetry of visual images.
The Faction’s in full spate now at the New Diorama, with Federico Garcia Lorca’s poetic tragedy joining Chekhov plus the annual Schiller play over four classics-filled weeks. The ensemble company’s the same; only the director’s changed, Rachel Valentine Smith taking over from Mark Leipacher. And the seating’s been rearranged, the formal rows of benches replaced by a single row of wooden chairs around the auditorium’s four sides, making us like wallflowers at the fated marriage.
This is a tough rural world (for a contemporary Spanish extreme try Luis Buñuel’s short film Land Without Bread, also from 1932). Survival means physical labour, tilling the reluctant earth; money here is a pile of soil, land and water are contained in wheel-barrows. If there’s a drawback to The Faction’s minimalist style of presentation it comes in minimising social differences; this wedding is between two families of different financial status, sharpening the contrast between marriage and love. Only the white sheets brought as a present suggest the Bridegroom’s social status; even they are conveyed in a wheel-barrow.
As with the other shows in this repertory, there are some strong performances – particularly the contrast between Andrew Chevalier’s Bridegroom and Jonny McPherson as his rival – while others have strong moments. But the main strength comes with the group; the howls and clangs of voice and tools which set the stark atmosphere, the moment when a mother tries pulling the Bride from the lover to whom she’s magnetically attracted.
For just as the poetry of fate, with its supernatural figures, overtakes the newspaper realism of an actual elopement which was Lorca’s starting-point, the production’s visual images transform physical elements into metaphors. The Bride enters to her wedding in a wheel-barrow, paraded like the statue of a saint, the garlands entwined around her transforming to ropes that bind.
It’s an idea picked-up in Richard Delaney’s straitjacketed Moon – by which time the symbolism, like some of the poetic speech, is coming adrift from the dramatic action. But the final quiet picture of women lying silent in suffering and defeat is telling, like much else in the production.
Bridegroom: Andrew Chevalier.
Moon: Richard Delaney.
Woodcutters: Gareth Fordred, Sam Millard, Jonathan Plummer.
Youth: Alexander Quiney.
Father: Lachlan McCall.
Leonardo: Jonny McPherson.
Bride: Derval Mallett.
Mother: Anna-Maria Nabirye.
Wife: Kate Sawyer.
Neighbour: Elizabeth Twells.
Director: Rachel Valentine Smith.
Lighting: Martin Dewar.
Composer: Thomas Whitelaw.