Philadelphia Artists Collective's BLOOD WEDDING Begins Today

The Philadelphia Artists Collective is following up their recent Philadelphia Fringe smash with a production of Federico Garcia Lorca's rarely produced play, Blood Wedding, at Drexel University. The show, part of Drexel University's Mandell Professionals In Residence program, runs November 6-23 at Drexel University's Mandell Theatre, 33rd & Chestnut Streets. Opening Night is Saturday, November 8, at 8 p.m. Tickets cost $15-$25 and are available online at www.philartistscollective.org.

A lover awaits. A bride flees into the night. A celebration becomes a nightmare. Lorca's sensual tragedy of passion and revenge is brought to life in this unique collaboration. In Blood Wedding, a vendetta between two families comes to a head when a bride runs away with her former lover, the son of an enemy family. Written in 1932 by Spanish poet and playwright Federico Garcia Lorca, this chilling and powerful play has become a classic of 20th century theater. The play addresses universal themes of desire, repression, vengeance, deception, fate and nature.

The Philadelphia Artists Collective typically performs in non-traditional theatre spaces. The Mandell Theater is a traditional proscenium space. For this show, PAC is set to transform the space into a more intimate setting. Audiences will begin in the lobby, where they will find actors, musicians, and dancers performing three pieces choreographed by Elba Hevia y Vaca, artistic/executive director and founder of local flamenco company Pasion y Arte Flamenco. Then, the actors, musicians and dancers will stage a celebratory wedding procession, which will lead the audience into the theater. The audience will come enter from a side door and will sit on the stage, which is built out into the seats. The seating area will even transform into a forest during the show. The set includes distressed beams and arches that were inspired by Cortijo del Fraile, the true-life setting of the crime of passion that Blood Wedding was based on.

"I've always imagined PAC shows as events and intimate ones at that. This is the first time in our five years that the PAC is producing in a theater. Having such a large space at Drexel presented a wonderful challenge to keep that intimate experience people have associated with our shows," said PAC Co-Artistic Director and Founder Damon Bonetti. "People will come into the lobby of the Mandell to find a wedding celebration beginning with music and dance. The Bridegroom gives a speech and invites everyone in to the theater - but instead of entering through the Mandell doors they are brought in an alternate way onto the stage where The Moon and a mysterious beggar are present in a new created space. We've built over the pit and brought the audience on stage - giving them a perspective and intimacy they've never seen in the Mandell."

Bonetti directs the piece. The cast includes: New York and Regional Theater veteran Judith Lightfoot Clarke as The Mother; real-life husband and wife Mort Paterson and Susan Blair as the Father of the Bride and the Mother-in-law; Victoria Rose Bonito, J. Hernandez and Eric Scotolati as the doomed trio of lovers; Laura Allan as The Moon; Virginia Barrie as The Neighbor; Nancy Ellis as The Maid; Joy Weir as Leonardo's Wife; and Stephen Lyons as Death (as a Beggar).

The ensemble, who will at times serve as a Greek chorus includes: Dean Bloomingdale, Alex Cummiskey, Betina Dalope, Corey Fedorowich, Sophie Hirsch, Georgie Manera, and Ben Webster.

Guitarist Guy West and percussionist Adam Bailey greet audiences at the beginning of the production. They are joined by Mari Ma on cello.

Joining the nine professional actors are Drexel university students. Through the program, the students are mentored and given the opportunity to work with theatre professionals and see the business from the inside.

The inventive set is designed by Matt Campbell. Dominic Chacon is the Lighting Designer. Christopher Colucci has composed original music for the show. Mike Cosenza is coordinating the fights. Katherine Fritz is the costume designer. Elba Hevia y Vaca is the Choreographer. Michael Kiley is the Musical Director. Samantha Wend is the Stage Manager.

"The PAC are guests of Drexel and we have cast the Co-Op Theater Actors in some principal and ensemble roles. They are not incidental to this production but an integral part of the ensemble. Often this play is cast with older actors, but the younger characters should be in their twenties," said Bonetti. "I often compare this play to Romeo and Juliet, which has many similarities - the impulsiveness of youth, the inability of the older characters to reconcile and understand the younger generation and, of course, what should be a happy event a wedding, turning tragic."

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