It's no secret that I'm a big fan of the Miracle Theatre: They generally do solid work, and they're a valuable community organization. So it's in the spirit of tough love that I have to say that their current production of Bodas de Sangre is just not up to their usual standards.

Written by the poet Federico García Lorca, the show's simple storyline hinges on a young woman who runs away from her husband on her wedding day, escaping into the woods with an old suitor, to whom she feels a powerful and undeniable magnetism. The fugitive couple is hunted down by the townspeople, and eventually both her lover and her husband are killed.

The script is difficult, superficially simple and symbolically rich. Recent productions at the Miracle Theatre have amply demonstrated the ensemble's uncanny ability to communicate profound themes with immediacy and panache; unfortunately, that strength seems to have been waylaid for the purposes of this production.

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While the principles pull their weight, many of the supporting actors seem to lack a connection to the material, so much so that those who do fully inhabit their characters (most notably Mayra Acevedo as the bride and Bibiana Lorenzo as the husband's mother) seem downright overblown in comparison. A sense of aimlessness is reinforced by Olga Sanchez's direction, which has actors milling about in the background, cluttering up the stage to little effect. This is particularly problematic when you consider that the show itself is in Spanish, with English supertitles. The difficulty then, at least for English-speaking audience members, is that it's virtually impossible to simultaneously consider supertitles above the stage, the primary action onstage, and action going on in the background. Perhaps it's unreasonable to ask that Sanchez simplify her direction for those of us who don't speak Spanish, but it's certainly worth considering that for many audience members, this will pose a problem.

Even chalking some concerns up to logistics, the production strikes an uncertain tone, somewhere between telenovela and Greek tragedy. Where Lorca's script should feel weighty, rich in blood symbolism, here it mostly just feels tedious.

SLAY Film Fest
In person at the Clinton St. Theater 10/29 & 10/30