It’s a nice day for a Blood Wedding. A re-imagined modern day version of Spanish dramatist Federico Garcia Lorca’s classic tragedy is being staged at Clapham’s Omnibus theatre. Writer and director George Richmond-Scott talks to the Weekender about fated love and family conflict.
“I’ve loved Lorca since I was a teenager,” George said. “During A-level college I went to see this play and it made a strong impression on me. I felt very connected to the style and that world even though it felt so different to my own experience and life. It was alluring because of its otherness.”
The adaptation is set in modern day London, in the heart of the capital’s Spanish community, where passion and vendetta collide with fate and claustrophobia. Performed in a bold physical style with original live music and movement, the play explores cultural divisions and the power of community, told through the female lens.
“Lorca popped out at me. It was exciting and new and different, and he’s been bubbling away in the background,” George said.
While studying the Theatre Directing MFA at Birkbeck University (where George met Omnibus’ Artistic Director Marie McCarthy) the director did a project on Yerma. “Quite a lot of people who knew Lorca said he did come out with extraordinary ideas and imaginings. They’re all tied into the Andalusian landscape where he grew up, surrounded by a huge extended family in the village,” George said. “He was heavily inspired by other people, by reading other plays or newspaper articles.”
This staging of Blood Wedding is set in a non-specific area of London. “Spanish people are pretty well integrated in London. It can limit the imagination to set it in Brixton or Stockwell where I live. The point is it’s a big urban environment -the complete opposite to a rural Spanish peasant environment,” the director said. “I’ve tried to reinvent the metaphorical language the characters use, references to earth and water and plants and moon. Recalibrated to this environment it’s concrete, surrounded by noise and pollution.”
George is juggling this with his gig as the associate director of West End hit Everybody’s Talking about Jamie. “I do Lorca on my spare days, weekends, evenings, early mornings,” he said. “I’m in a couple of times a week to watch Jamie or other times a lot. I end up working most days at the moment.”
He describes Everybody’s Talking about Jamie as a “big sleeper hit.” “It’s a massive creative team, huge cast, the theatre are really invested in it. I’ve seen it a gazillion times, it’s amazingly uplifting and makes you feel good about yourself and life and being exactly who you are,” he said.
There’s a dynamic cast of seven in Blood Wedding. “I’m very excited about the cast of Blood Wedding. I took a long time casting,” George said. “Casting is 80 percent. Who you bring into the room can change everything. I’m super happy with all of them. It was worth the hunt.”
Blood Wedding is at Omnibus Theatre, 1 Clapham Common Northside, SW4 0LH, from September 4-23 at 7:30pm and Sundays at 4pm. Admission: £16, £13 concession. Phone: 020 7498 0544. www.omnibus-clapham.org