Amongst the world’s literary masterpieces, Federico García Lorca’s ‘Blood Wedding’ stands as a poignant and haunting exploration of human passion, societal constraints, and the inexorable force of fate.

A tragic play, it unfolds a tale of forbidden love and family vendettas in rural Spain.

The plot is based on a newspaper fragment which told of a family feud and a bride who ran away with the son of the enemy family.

Leonardo (played by Alan Donnelly), the bride’s former lover, ignites a fateful chain of events by eloping with the bride on her wedding day, building towards a devastating climax.

A departure from EADS’ recent comedic offerings, Director Nick Hambly explained: “I wanted to do a play that would challenge us as a group.

“It’s a beautiful play, poetic, and will resonate with all who see it. The central themes are of family, tradition and land, and the interconnections of all those things.

“The characters are victims of the things that should hold them high – their culture, their place, their sense of right and duty. It is also a love story, and audiences will be moved by the story and the very real connections to our society today.”

The talented and experienced cast include many familiar names and faces, including Clare Holmes as The Mother in Law, Victoria Johnston as The Wife of Leonardo, Christian Carbin as The Bridegroom, and Christine Maher Irvine as Death/Beggar Woman.

This is Lorca at his poetic best, and the characters of The Moon (Deborah Fallis), The Woodcutter (David Wilkinson) and Death (the beggar) are surreal and almost mythological, adding a supernatural edge to this human story.

Reflecting on her character, Shelby Keys – who plays The Bride – said: “She is a young woman getting married to a man she is not interested in romantically, but he is judged by her family to be the safest for her future wellbeing, and then her true love comes back into her life.

“There’s a message here that often women have to put themselves into a box that’s acceptable to others, even if it doesn’t make them happy. But what if you choose to be happy?”

This contrasts to the views of The Mother, played by Aly Finlay, who explains the source of conflict between her and The Bride.

The Mother “is constantly stifling and repressing her grief and anger; has very clear ideas about conforming to duty and respectability, tradition, society and morality; sons must follow fathers, and daughters their mothers; but her underlying feelings do leak out”.

Aly added: “When she says, ‘That’s what I like, men to be men; wheat, wheat’, her position is clear.”

The cast also features Padraig Connolly as The Father of The Bride; Paul Blake as The Youth; Amy Robinson as The Neighbour; and three girls, performed by Meabh Hambly, Seanan Breen and Muirne McKeagney.

The fact that most of the characters are given titles rather than names underlies Lorca’s intention that this could be any character, anywhere, at any time, making the play truly universal in its exploration of the ties that bind us.

However, the setting is Andalusia, with a hinterland that’s the hottest area of Europe.

Nick wants to create “a sense of breathlessness, the intense heat, a feeling that everything is closing in on these people, and in the end they are pushed beyond boiling point”.

The flamenco music in the production adds to the passionate and intense atmosphere of the play.

A central tenant of ‘Blood Wedding’ is the belief that “to burn with desire and to remain silent is the greatest punishment we can inflict on ourselves”, and the play explores the truth and the tragedy of this.

EADS have been entertaining audiences since 1928 with recent productions including ‘The Comedy of Errors’, ‘The Field’, ‘Steel Magnolias’, ‘Black Comedy’, ‘The Odd Couple’, ‘Sive’, ‘The Factory Girls’, ‘Plaza Suite’ and ‘The Game’s Afoot’, and this performance promises to be a thought-provoking addition to their impressive canon of work.

‘Blood Wedding’ transcends its Spanish setting, where the central characters grapple with the consequences of pursuing love.

This play is an exploration of the human condition; and promises to be searing and powerful production that should not be missed – one that will stay with audiences long after they leave.

The performance runs at The Ardhowen Theatre on February 8, 9 and 10, with a nightly 8pm start.

Tickets are available online and at the Ardhowen Box Office; telephone 0286 632 5440.