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The play's quite the thing

A student production of a tragedy revolves around themes of lust, betrayal and death.

Published October 20, 2006

[Times photo: Keri Wiginton]
Shelby Petruzzi, left, and Shawn Doolittle play the parts of Bride and Leonardo, respectively, during dress rehearsal for Nature Coast Technical High School's production of Blood Wedding.

BROOKSVILLE - Nature Coast Technical High School drama director Lori Erickson says she never underestimates the abilities of her young student actors. Time and time again they have risen beyond her expectations when it comes to bringing challenging material to the stage.

Which is why Erickson had no qualms in choosing to bring Federico Garca Lorca's gripping drama Blood Wedding to her school's Black Box Theater.

"Our philosophy has always been to offer our students quality material, the kinds of things that will help them to elevate their skills," Erickson said of the production, which will run Oct. 26 to 28.

Erickson said that Blood Wedding, with its decidedly adult themes of lust, betrayal and death, epitomizes the kind of work that she and her co-director husband, Tim, believe creates value in the art of young thespians.

In the three years since the launching of the school's drama department, the Ericksons have brought several thoughtful productions to the stage. A Shayna Maidel, Spoon River Anthology and Twelve Angry (Men) Jurors are hardly typical fare for high school drama departments, which tend to lean toward visually appealing, youth-oriented musicals and comedies.

Though Erickson admits that not all of her students view drama as anything more than a lightweight elective, there's no reason not to aim higher when it comes to teaching stagecraft.

"If you give an actor quality material, they will rise to the occasion," said Erickson. "These kids have done a remarkable job with this work."

Garcia Lorca's play, which is set in Spain during the 1930s, involves a young bride (except for the lover Leonardo, none of the characters have names) who abandons her husband-to-be on their wedding day to escape with her childhood sweetheart.

Garcia Lorca presents a turbulent spectacle of human passion through the use of sophisticated and surrealistic poetic technique, elevating the love story to a tragedy of fate.

Nature Coast High senior Miranda Peloquin, who plays the part of the bride's mother, has found the production a powerful and exhilarating experience.

"It's probably the most emotionally demanding role I've ever played," she said.

"It forced me to really dig to find a way to express this woman's anguish over her daughter's actions."

Patrick Gonzalez, who portrays the groom, said that one of the most enthralling aspects of the production is its use of surrealism and metaphorical characters.

"It's very unusual in that it doesn't always rely on realism to get the point across," said Gonzalez. "It often forces you to think and to come up with your own conclusions."

[Last modified October 19, 2006, 22:36:10]

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