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Maria Vidal in \"Cientos de Pájaros te Impiden Andar\"

Review: Homage to Garcia Lorca | Teatro Dallas


We Have Lift Off

Teatro Dallas' Lorca celebration is off to a great start with a one-woman Spanish import inspired by Blood Wedding. Review in English and Spanish.



published Saturday, February 9, 2013
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Editor's Note: Scroll down to see the Spanish version of this review.

An Homage to Frederico García Lorca began Friday night at Teatro Dallas, kicking off a month-long celebration of the Andalusian author, poet, artist and composer.  

Performed in the Sala de Jesse Tafalla, Cientos de Pájaros Te Impiden Andar (Hundreds of Birds Impede Your Flight) is one part ultra-modern adaptation of Lorca's Blood Wedding—which was inspired by an actual crime that occurred in the small town of Níjar, Almeria in 1928—and one part tribute to Lorca himself. Rich with symbolism, the production blends traditional theater with Flamenco and modern dance, against a surreal multimedia backdrop. 

Written by Spanish author and director Pati Doménech, Cientos de Pájaros is, on the surface, a series of scenes that highlight Blood Wedding's most poignant themes via three of its female characters: the bitter and angry Mother of the Groom, the secretive Bride, and the resentful and bloodthirsty Moon. To these three characters, Doménech adds the Actress, who occasionally surfaces from the swirling current of action to rebel against Lorca's espousal of violence and for daring to mix the themes of love and death. It is through the Actress that we experience Doménech's fascination with Lorca, whose own life ended violently at the hands of Franquist soldiers during the Spanish Civil War. Lorca's final resting place is still unknown.  

The movement of the play is reminiscent of a flowing river: sometimes swift, sometimes unhurried, and sometimes churning with conflict, but always in motion. There are no pauses between scenes, no discernable delineations other than the exchange of one pool of light for another; the use of one of the set's three pieces of suspended fabric; or the subtle shift of the lone actress from one character to another. 

That lone actress, acclaimed Spanish dancer and actress María Vidal, lends grace and strength to the production's flow, moving through her roles with the seamless precision inherent to a lifetime of physical training. One moment she is the Actress, an upright woman of indeterminate age. Then she steps into a pool of light, manifests a few subtle shifts, and she is the slightly stooped and aged Mother beginning the tale of her son's murder with a voice roughened by heartbreak and loss. Elegant transformations of this nature require extreme physical and mental control, and can be heart-stopping for the audience when a master such as Vidal performs them. Her voice has the same flexibility, depth, and range as her body, and to see her perform is a multi-sensory marvel. 

To underscore the shifts in character, the costuming is simple and created for swift and graceful changes. Vidal is clothed in a two-piece ivory satin suit that allows freedom of movement, but is form-fitting enough to lie unobtrusively beneath the other characters' accoutrement: simple red-and-black for the Mother, embroidered ivory brocade for the Bride, and a sparkling, loose-fitting white shift for the Moon. 

The set is simple after the nature of a highly symbolic production and echoes the colors of the costuming. To the far left hangs a large white piece of fabric, used when Vidal becomes the Moon, and a red piece of fabric tied at intervals. To the far right hangs a piece of sheer black fabric edged with lace. The fabrics are used to add depth to the symbolism of certain scenes. When Vidal dons the Bride's white brocade, she employs the black lace-edged fabric in a haunting dance that blends nuptial and funeral tones.  In some scenes, black-and-white videos—dreamlike and sometimes disorienting—are projected onto the back wall between the fabric hangings. 

Issues with sound persisted throughout the production on Friday night. There was some difficulty with the speakers, which crackled and sputtered occasionally, and the music was at times overwhelmingly loud, drowning out even Vidal's powerful voice and causing audience members to cringe. The theater space is quite small: three rows of seating with zero legroom; don't expect to be able to cross your legs or get up once seated. 

Overall, Cientos de Pájaros is a stunning modern work, and well worth the view. 

Cientos de Pájaros is performed in Spanish, and English librettos provided for audience members. It repeats tonight, and then the Lorca celebration continues with Feb. 22-March 3 with Romancero Gitano, a collection of Lorca's poetry, performed in English. You can read more about the Lorca event in our preview story and interview with Teatro Dallas Artistic Director Cora Cardona, here

 

Spanish version of review: 

El homenaje a Federico García Lorca comenzó la noche del viernes en el Teatro Dallas, dando inicio a una celebración de un mes de duración del autor, poeta, artista y compositor andaluz. 

Realizada en la Sala de Jesse Tafalla, Cientos de Pájaros Te Impiden Andar es un tributo a Lorca y una adaptación muy moderna de Bodas de Sangre, que se inspiró en un crimen real que ocurrió en 1928 en el pequeño pueblo de Níjar, Almería.  Rico en simbolismo, la producción combina el teatro tradicional con el flamenco y la danza moderna, en un entorno surrealista multimedia. 

Escrito por el autor y director español Pati Doménech, Cientos de Pájaros es, en la superficie, una serie de escenas que ponen de relieve los temas más conmovedores de Bodas de Sangre a través de tres de sus personajes femeninos: la Madre amarga y desesperada, la Novia engañosa, y la Luna resentida y sanguinaria. A estos tres personajes, Doménech añade la Actriz, que a veces surge de la corriente arremolinada de acción para rebelarse contra Lorca por la violencia y por su osadía de mezclar el amor y la muerte. Es a través de la Actriz que experimentamos la fascinación de Doménech con Lorca, cuya vida terminó violentamente a manos de los soldados franquistas durante la guerra civil española. Último lugar de descanso de Lorca es aún desconocido. 

El movimiento de la obra es una reminiscencia de un río que fluye: a veces rápido, a veces sin prisa, a veces agitado por el conflicto, pero siempre en movimiento. No hay pausas entre escenas, no hay delimitaciones discernibles aparte del intercambio de un foco por otro; la utilización de una de las tres piezas de tela suspendida sobre el escenario; o el cambio sutil de la actriz solitaria de un personaje a otro. 

Esa actriz solitaria, bailarina y actriz aclamada española María Vidal, da la gracia y la fuerza al flujo de la producción. Ella se mueve a través de sus interpretaciones con la precisión perfecta inherente a una vida de entrenamiento físico. En un momento ella es la Actriz, una mujer sincera de edad indeterminada.  Entonces se mete en un foco, se manifiesta unos sutiles cambios, y ella es la encorvada y envejecida Madre, que comienza con una voz áspera por la angustia y la pérdida el relato del asesinato de su hijo. Elegantes transformaciones de este tipo requieren control físico y mental extremos; éstas pueden ser inmensamente conmovedoras para la audiencia cuando una maestra como Vidal las realiza. Su voz tiene la misma flexibilidad, profundidad y alcance como su cuerpo, y al ver su actuación es una maravilla multi-sensorial. 

Para enfatizar los cambios en los personajes, el vestuario es sencillo y creado en acorde a los cambios rápidos y elegantes. Vidal se viste con un traje de dos piezas de marfil raso que permite el movimiento, pero es suficientemente ajustado que cabe discretamente debajo de los trajes de los otros personajes: rojo y negro para la Madre, brocado en marfil bordado para la Novia, y un vestido blanco holgado y brillante para la Luna. 

El escenario es sencillo como es usual en una producción muy simbólica, y refleja claramente los colores del vestuario. En el extremo izquierdo cuelgan dos grandes piezas de tela: una pieza blanca que Vidal utiliza cuando interpreta la Luna, y una pieza roja que está ligada a intervalos. A la extrema derecha cuelga una tela negra y transparente con bordes de encaje. 

Las telas enfatizan el simbolismo de algunas escenas. Cuando se pone Vidal el brocado blanco de la Novia, ella emplea la tela negra en un baile inolvidable que combina tonos nupciales y funerarios. En algunas escenas, entre las telas de la pared del fondo, se enseñan videos en blanco y negro—de ensueño y a veces desconcertamente. 

Problemas con el sonido persistió durante todo de la producción, incluyendo dificultad con los altavoces, que crepitaban ocasionalmente. La música era a veces abrumadoramente fuerte, acallando la voz potente de Vidal y causando miembros de la audiencia a temblar. El espacio teatral es muy pequeño: tres filas de asientos con cero espacio para las piernas; no esperes poder cruzar las piernas o levantarse una vez sentados. 

En general, Cientos de Pájaros es una obra moderna impresionante que debe ser vista. Thanks For Reading




Comments:

Teresa Marrero writes:
Saturday, February 9 at 3:30PM

I entirely agree with the review above. Thank you for a such a succinct overview. Kudos to Floy and TheaterJones. --Teresa Marrero, Associate Professor of Latin American and Latino Theater, University of North Texas.


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Teatro Dallas' Lorca celebration is off to a great start with a one-woman Spanish import inspired by Blood Wedding. Review in English and Spanish.
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