FEDERICO, GRACE AND PASSION - At Gala Hispanic Theater through Sunday night, and next week Thursday through Sunday.
If you were to visit Spain, even briefly, you would surely hear of the poet Federico Garcia Lorca, who was killed by Franco's forces in 1936, early in the civil war. Quite likely, you would be quoted a passage or two of his work, probably "Berde, que te quiero verde," with piled-up images of green branches and green breezes.
But, unless you were unusually lucky, you would have to travel in Spain for some time to come to know the land and the people of Lorca's poetry: Little Tony Camborio, "brown in the green of the moonlight," arrested by the Civil Guard on the road to Seville and then killed, "broken . . . in half the way they break a cornstalk"; half a dozen of the most enchanting chickens you'll ever meet; a bride fleeing her wedding with her lover; a woman who goes to a sorceress because, trapped in a loveless marriage, she wants to have children; and Ignacio Sanchez Mejias, gored in the bullring and dead at "five in the shadow of the afternoon."
This weekend and next, you can meet these people (and chickens) and live in this land for a couple of hours, on 18th Street NW; the occasion is the extended run of "Federico, Grace and Passion," a selection of the poet's songs and plays that ranges over some 15 years - nearly all of his brief career.
The evening is in Spanish, with alternating English in most places, and the audience is provided with a booklet of translations of the larger works; but the most sparkling parts of the show need no translation: the delightful chicken scene, the crisp guitar of Paco de Malaga, the haunting voice and flute of June Starke and, of course, the grace and the passion of the poet himself.
As always, Gala's company makes striking and imaginative use of its limited space as a setting for the talents of its cast.