Thursday, June 1, 2023

Vortex Theatre Presents "Blood Knot"


"Blood Knot" premiered in 1961 in Johannesburg, South Africa. During this time, apartheid was in full effect, a dangerous system of segregation and unlawful arrest that was present in South Africa from 1948 to the early 1990s.

"Blood Knot" is the story of two half brothers - Zachariah, a black man, and Morris, a light-skinned man - who share a one-room shack in apartheid-era Port Elizabeth. Zachariah begins exchanging letters with a white woman and falls in love with her.

When she writes that she will visit Port Elizabeth and would like to see Zachariah, Morris fears the move is too risky. Zachariah's correspondent does not know that he is black and she has indicated that her brother is a police officer.

Since Morris is light-skinned, Zachariah convinces him to pretend to be white and meet the woman. Zachariah spends the brothers' mutual savings on a suit for Morris but the woman never shows up.

A 1988 New York Times article stated, "The final scene of 'Blood Knot' depicts with a combination of surreal humor and harrowing cruelty how deeply the poison of apartheid has entered their spirits."

"I fell in love with the show because it touched my heart," Director James Cady said. Cady said that he holds a special place for any story that involves family - especially since this story has "no victory" for either of the characters.

According to Cady, there are a lot of themes in "Blood Knot" and the themes will "take care of themselves" and audiences will "take away from it what they want to take away from it," if the actors are playing their parts correctly. "Actors always respond to the role to try to tell the author's story," Cady said. "I would think that they would go away with a feeling just to be a little kinder to their fellow man after seeing what these guys go through."

As to the relevance of the story in today's world, Cady cited ongoing racial and political divisions in both the U.S. and South Africa.

Cady has directed theater for 50 years, 13 years in Albuquerque. Cady has overseen the production of shows such as "Hamlet" and "The Iceman Cometh," both at the Vortex, "Death of a Salesman" at The Adobe Theater and more. "There's probably 100 shows that I've directed," Cady said.

"Blood Knot" runs through Nov.13, Fri.-Sat. at 7:30pm and Sunday at 2pm.


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