There’s Blood at the Wedding is set within six giant-scale pop-up book constructions, through which we reflect on the lives and deaths of six victims of police violence: Sandra Bland, Sean Bell, Philando Castile, Justine Damond, Amadou Diallo, and Eric Garner. Sxip Shirey composes and performs original songs and music. Fragments of Lorca’s masterpiece connect a Circle of Mothers–the mothers of the American victims–with the grieving mothers of the classic Spanish play.
Cover Photo by Kristina Loggia
Theodora Skipitares is an interdisciplinary artist and theater director based in NewYork. Trained as a sculptor and theater designer, she began creating personal solo performances in the late 1970’s, which revolved around the use of handmade objects that were worn on her body. Gradually she moved away from autobiography to explore social and historical themes. She introduced small 3-dimensional representations of herself into these performances, which she understood (later) to be puppets. She has created 25 works featuring as many as 300 puppet figures, live music, film, video and documentary texts. These projects include UNDER THE KNIFE, a site-specific history of medicine which took an audience to twelve different theater environments, and BODY OF CRIME, a history of women in prison. More recently, she created three plays about the Trojan War: HELEN, ODYSSEY, and IPHIGENIA. In 2014, she devised THE CHAIRS, a take-off on Ionesco’s absurdist classic, and in 2016, she created SIX CHARACTERS, a response to Pirandello’s play.
Skipitares has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York Foundation for the Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts, UNIMA, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Rockefeller Fellowship and a McKnight Playwriting Fellowship, among others. Her visual work has been exhibited widely in the U.S., Europe, and Asia, most recently at the Whitney Museum. She has worked frequently in India as a Fulbright Fellow, as well as in Vietnam, Cambodia and Korea. Skipitares is Associate Professor at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York. http://www.theodoraskipitares.com/
“Tiny details — the way Eric Garner ate a pizza, or a tattoo that Mr. Castile cherished — humanize the victims beyond what’s been presented in news reports….Sxip Shirey, Ms. Skipitares’s collaborator, supplies eerie sounds and powerful songs as the composer and lyricist for the live musical sections. Alexa Jordan and Eric Lawrence Taylor deliver strong performances in various roles…“There’s Blood at the Wedding” succeeds in remembering those snuffed out by violence.” – Ken Jaworowski, The New York Times
“The Blood Wedding puppets are classic Skipitares (like three-dimensional Picasso paintings, the giant faces of the mother and son are particularly striking). But she has devised a new creation called a performing book to tell the six main stories. Beautiful and impressively rendered, these giant pop-up books unfold to tell each story while the performers activate the moving parts. Each design is different and personalized, adding to our sense of not only the individual, but also how their story has been conveyed through the media.” – Zachary Stewart, TheaterMania
“This is political avant-garde theatre at its finest. It’s an intense show that unapologetically confronts the sad reality facing people of color in America today, in a matter that is just as emotionally raw as it is artfully presented. By the end of the show, if you weren’t already thinking about these issues, you will be afterward. It’s one of those theatrical experiences that should be seen by everyone, regardless of their prior thinking on these topics, and I’d encourage anyone reading this to attend one of its next performances over the next two weeks…and be prepared with tissues, just in case.” – Anthony J. Piccione, OnStage Blog