April 14, 2008

‘Lorca’ explores martyred poet’s many aspects

Three aspects of Lorca: Blood (Omar Sahak), Green Dress (John Dryden) and Flamenco Dancer (Diana Mandujano), interact in Sacramento State’s production of “Lorca in a Green Dress.” Three aspects of Lorca: Blood (Omar Sahak), Green Dress (John Dryden) and Flamenco Dancer (Diana Mandujano), interact in Sacramento State’s production of “Lorca in a Green Dress.”

A renowned Spanish poet, killed by Fascist forces in the Spanish Civil War, finds himself in purgatory, where he is confronted by the many different aspects of his personality and life.

Sacramento State’s production of Lorca in a Green Dress explores the life, times, culture and works of Frederico Lorca Garcia, who died in 1936 under mysterious circumstances, says Theatre and Dance professor Manuel Pickett, director of the Nilo Cruz play.

Performances in the Playwrights Theatre are at 8 p.m., May 1-3 and 9-10; 2 p.m., May 4 and 11; 6:30 p.m., May 7 and 8; and 10:30 a.m., May 9.

Under the dictator Francisco Franco, Lorca’s works were banned from Spain for about 40 years, but the poet is now recognized as one of Spain’s most renowned writers, Pickett says. “Lorca’s poetry was somewhat political, but he was basically writing for the poor. And they also killed him because he was gay.”

The seven-member cast portrays Lorca in his many different forms. “Green Dress,” played by John Dryden, represents the poet’s secrets, desires and dark love, says the actor. “I see ‘Green Dress’ as Lorca’s living diary that he speaks with,” Dryden says.

Amanda Morish plays “Lorca as a Woman,” the poet’s muse, and says the cast has done considerable research into his life. “In the Lorca Room in purgatory nothing can be hidden,” Morish says. “He has to face every aspect of himself.”

“He is faced with different facets of his life and character because he has not accepted his death and has not come to terms with his life,” says Omar Sahak, who plays “Blood,” the murdered Lorca.

But the play is not an oppressive piece of theater. It’s a powerful play, Pickett says, but it also has intimate moments. “And it’s fun for the audience to watch. The poetry of Lorca is very beautiful. Cast members also change roles, portraying other characters of the times, such as surrealist artist Salvador Dali, and they also perform some of Lorca’s music.

The play does present a few hurdles for its director. “It’s challenging because there are no stage directions,” Pickett says. As an example, one of the characters opens a box and light comes out. Where he got the box and what he does with it afterward are not explained. “So you have to be creative with the play in that respect.”

Tickets for the 2 and 8 p.m. performances are $12 general admission; $10 for students, seniors and Sacramento State employees; and $11 for children 11 years of age or younger. The 6:30 p.m. performances are $5 for children and $8 for everyone else. Tickets are available at the Sacramento State Ticket office, (916) 278-4323.

For more information, contact the Theatre and Dance department at (916) 278-6368 or www.csus.edu/dram/. For media assistance, call Sacramento State’s Public Affairs office at (916) 278-6156.