José Mercado knew his second big show at North High School was gonna have to be good. Last year, the actor and educator elevated North's theater department with Zoot Suit Riots, a larger-than-life production that made stars of its student actors. After nearly selling out the Temple Buell Theatre with a Riots reprisal in August, Mercado raised enough money to secure not only his position as a full-time teacher of drama and theater arts, but also the future of the school's Black Masque Theatre Company.
But Mercado went in another direction with this year's fall play. This week, Black Masque presents Blood Wedding, by Spanish playwright Federico García Lorca -- a classic tale of lust, revenge and rebellion. Written as a long poem, Blood Wedding is a sparse, difficult play with only nine actors, a minimalist set and simple black costumes.
"I knew it would be a challenge for both the students and the audience," Mercado says. "Chip Walton [of Curious Theatre Company] gave me props, because it's a hard show for anyone to do, even professional actors."
Blood Wedding features Elvis Nuñez and Alexandria Paulson, two Zoot stars. But new faces shine in this production, too, including junior Davina Santovena, who's striking and intense as the bride, and sophomore Maria Nambo, who brings an ease and energy into her first stage role. Blood Wedding opens tonight and runs through Sunday, November 21, at North High School, 2690 North Speer Boulevard. On Friday and Saturday, the production will include two Spanish-language scenes, performed as Lorca wrote them. For more information, call 303-964-2700. -- Laura Bond
There's a lot to dig at the Underground Film Festival
The 2004 Denver Underground Film Festival rolls out its big-picture bling tonight with Hip Hop Immortals: We Got Your Kids -- an 81-minute full-length documentary by Kris Palestrini featuring interviews with Busta Rhymes, Snoop Dogg and Cypress Hill. The screening, which launches the fifth annual flick fest, is at 7 p.m. at Revoluciones Collective Art Space.
Denverite Ronnie Cramer's experimental short Pillow Girl will show alongside more than fifty national and international films, including Jane Doe, Winter Sea, Who Killed Target 1967?and 666: A Gothic Romance. DUFF's frames from the underground will shine on three separate screens through Sunday: Revoluciones Collective Art Space, 3519 North Brighton Boulevard; Theatre du Quirque, 2119 East 17th Avenue; and the Oriental Theater, 4335 West 44th Avenue. All shows are for fans eighteen years and up; tickets are $8 for each film and available at the door. For more information, call 720-394-6198 or visit www.duffcinema.com. -- Kity Ironton