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October 23, 2001

Pomo's CSUS directing debut
possesses Spanish flair

Left Jenny Brock with Amy Forth Photo by Jason Reese Roberto Pomo says juggling myriad responsibilities as chair of California State University, Sacramento's theatre and dance department, combined with the challenge of making his CSUS directorial debut, is an easy art.

"It's been more than two years since I last directed a play and it's been very exciting to get back into it," Pomo says. "There was a moment of predication because of the demands of administration work, but once I was back in the cauldron of directing, I was right at home."

Pomo opens Federico Garcia Lorca's modern Spanish tragedy Blood Wedding at 8 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 1 in the University Theatre in Shasta Hall.

"It's one of my favorite modern tragedies," Pomo says. "As much as I respect Lorca's plays, it is his poetry that I find most captivating and there is a lot of poetry in Blood Wedding."
Lorca studied at the University of Madrid and then moved to Manhattan to study art at Columbia University. He returned to Spain in 1931 and formed his own theatre company. Composed mostly of students, the company toured the countryside giving free performances of the Spanish "Golden Age" classics.

"Lorca had a keen understanding of culture," Pomo says. "He felt that the peasantry classes could be reached through theater, through tragedies."

Lorca's company also produced the three "rural tragedies" on which Lorca's theatrical reputation rests. The first of these tragedies, Blood Wedding (1933), is based on a newspaper account of a bride who ran off with her lover on her wedding night. In this play, Lorca heightens the woman's conflict by placing her in the middle of an ancient blood feud.

Unfortunately, Lorca was early casualty of the Spanish Civil War. Intellectuals were considered dangerous by the Spanish Nationalists, and in the early morning of Aug. 19, 1936, along with a schoolmaster and two bullfighters, Lorca was shot and thrown into an unmarked grave.

After his death, Lorca's writings were outlawed and burned in Granada's Plaza del Carmen. Even his name was forbidden. The young poet quickly became a martyr, but his plays were not revived until the 1940s, and certain bans on his work remained in place until as late as 1971. Today, Lorca is considered by many to be the greatest Spanish poet and dramatist of the 20th Century.

Pomo says his directorial work on Blood Wedding has been made easy with a little help from his friends, colleagues and students.

"The actors run the gamut of experience and have been great," Pomo says. "But I couldn't have done this without the choreographer Taryn Lewis and the music composer Jeff Gregory."

Blood Wedding runs until Nov. 11 and plays at 8 p.m., Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. The two Sunday matinees are at 2 p.m. Tickets are $7 - 12 and are available at the CSUS Ticket Office at (916) 278-4323. Media assistance is available by contacting the CSUS public affairs office at (916) 278-6156.




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