United States of America
Sonnets for an Old Century
Category: Performance Design
José Rivera’s Sonnets for an Old Century is a series of monologues, spoken by characters newly deceased – final attempts to communicate ideas, stories, and lives that have never been fully heard. They find themselves in a place of waiting that is, at the same time, a place of transition and transportation, as well as of communication. My version of scenery and lighting is informed by liminal spaces like hospital waiting rooms, highway underpasses, warehouses, train stations, tent cities, and, of course, theaters. The key to the production concept, though, is the modes of communication.
In the twenty first century, and particularly in the Silicon Valley where this play was produced, a question of communication is necessarily a question of technology. Recorded or live, audio or video, face-to-face or mediated, life-sized or amplified, literal or abstract, how do technological manipulations amplify or diminish these messages shouted out from death to life? The television and video screens embedded in the scenery, which variously flatten as they enlarge, simplify as they multiply, echo as they contradict the live actors convert the conventional moment of live theatrical communication into a dispersed yet immersive experience.