Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
KPBS Midday Edition

Herbert Siguenza Brings Magic-Realism Classic 'Cloud Tectonics' To Life At New Village Arts

The poster for "Cloud Tectonics" is pictured.
New Village Arts in Carlsbad
The poster for "Cloud Tectonics" is pictured.

Herbert Siguenza Brings Magic-Realism Classic 'Cloud Tectonics' To Life At New Village Arts
GUEST:Herbert Siguenza, director, "Cloud Tectonics"

IMAGINE THEM LOOKING THROUGH -- DRIVING THROUGH A RELENTLESS RAINSTORM AND PICKING UP A WOMAN ON THE SIDE OF THE ROAD. THERE IS SOMETHING ODD ABOUT THE HITCHHIKER. TIME TRAVELS WEIRDLY AROUND YOUR. THAT IS THE FIRST PART OF CLOUD TECTONICS BEING PLAYED. TELL US A LITTLE BIT MORE ABOUT WHAT IS ACTUALLY HAPPEN IN CLOUD TECTONICS. >> CLOUD TECTONICS IS A CUP LOCATED PLAY TO EXPLAIN, BUT IT IS ACTUALLY QUITE SIMPLE. IT IS ABOUT LOVE AND TIME. I THINK THEY WROTE A CLASSIC, A MAGIC REALISM CLASSIC WHERE HE BORROWS FROM GARCIA MARQUEZ AND OTHER SURREALIST AND IT IS IN THAT STYLE WHERE HE TALKS ABOUT LOVE AND HOW LOVE CAN STOP TIME AND HOW LOVE CAN PROLONG TIME AND IT IS A BEAUTIFUL, ROMANTIC LOVE STORY ABOUT TWO BROTHERS WHO FALL IN LOVE WITH A WOMAN WHO IS PREGNANT, BUT SHE IS A CLOCK AS WELL. SHE IS ABLE TO MANIPULATE TIME AND STOP TIME, AND IT IS A VERY ROMANTIC AND BEAUTIFUL STORY. IT IS HARD -- IT IS VERY HARD TO EXPLAIN, BUT IT COMES TOGETHER IN THE PLAY. >> YOU MENTIONED MAGICAL REALISM. I READ THE PLAYWRIGHT DOES NOT LIKE THE TERM MAGICAL REALISM. DO YOU THINK IT IS A GOOD DESCRIPTOR FOR THIS PLAY? >> YEAH, I THINK IT IS BECAUSE IT IS REALLY THINKING OUT OF THE BOX. IT'S NOT LINEAR, YOU KNOW? IT IS REALITY, BUT SUDDENLY, MAGIC HAPPENS. I THINK THAT IS HOW REALITY REALLY IS, ESPECIALLY WHEN YOU ARE IN LOVE. SO I THINK STILL DESCRIBES HIS PLAY WELL. >> WHAT DOES THE O -- TITLE MEAN? >> FROM WHAT I KNOW, THESE ARE CLOUD FORMATIONS THAT SCIENTISTS HAVE NOT BEEN ABLE TO EXPLAIN WHY THEY FORM AND HOW THEY DISSIPATE, SO I THINK IT IS A PERFECT EXAMPLE OF THE PLAY. >> JUST LIKE HOW WE MAY NOT KNOW WHY LOVE FORMS? >> EXACTLY, WE DON'T KNOW HOW LOVE FORMS AND BREAKS APART. >> THIS PLAY WAS WRITTEN IN THE 1990S AND TAKES PLACE IN LA, WHEN THEY WERE GRAPPLING WITH THE RODNEY KING RIOTS, AND THE NORTHRIDGE EARTHQUAKE, WILDFIRES. HOW DID THAT TUMBLED IN LA IN THE 90s AFFECT THIS PLAY? >> I KNOW JOSE RIVERA. WE HAD A CULTURE CLASH. WE HAD AN OFFICE IN THE HOLLYWOOD BUILDING NEXT TO EACH OTHER AND WE WERE DEALING WITH THE SAME THINGS, WE REALLY FELT IT WAS -- NOT THE END OF THE EARTH, BUT WE THOUGHT IT WAS VERY INTERESTING. THESE THINGS, THESE THINGS HAPPEN WITHIN THE SUMMER OF 92 AND JOSE TOLD US THIS PLAY WAS INSPIRED THROUGH LONELINESS. HE THOUGHT LOS ANGELES WAS A VERY LONELY PLACE. I ALSO FELT THE SAME FEELINGS WHEN I LIVED IN LA IN THE EARLY 90s. A HUGE CITY, BUT YOU FEEL REALLY LONELY IF YOU DO NOT HAVE SOMETHING GOING ON, ESPECIALLY IF YOU DO NOT HAVE A PARTNER OR A JOB. IT IS A VERY BLEAK PLACE. >> THERE IS SOMETHING APOCALYPTIC, RIGHT? >> IVAN SHEDDED IN -- I SAID IT IN THE FUTURE. I SAID IT LOS ANGELES IN THE FUTURE, WHERE IT IS AFTER THE BIG ONE, AFTER THE BIG EARTHQUAKE, AFTER BIG STORMS, SO I SET IT IN AN APOCALYPTIC FUTURE. >> WHAT ELSE WAS YOUR APPROACH IN DIRECTING THIS PLAY? >> I WANTED IT TO BE LYRICAL. I AM A VISUAL ARTIST, SO I THINK PEOPLE ENJOY HOW I MOUNTED IT AS FAR AS VISUALLY -- I TRIED TO SET UP BEAUTIFUL IMAGES THAT PEOPLE CAN LEAVE WITH, YOU KNOW? >> ONE OF THE KEY PIECES OF MAGICAL REALISM IS YOU ARE NOT ENTIRELY SURE WHAT IS HAPPENING. IT CAN BE ETHEREAL. WHEN YOU ARE LOOKING AT SOMETHING ON A STAGE, YOU CAN SAY THERE IS THAT PERSON. THIS IS THE ACTUAL, TANGIBLE ACTION THEY ARE DOING. HOW DO YOU CREATE THAT ETHEREAL QUALITY, EVEN THOUGH WE CAN SEE WHAT IS GOING ON? >> I AM VERY BLESSED TO BE WORKING WITH THE COMPOSER NAMED MARK SPIRO, WHICH I AM CURRENTLY WRITING A MUSICAL WITH. HE PROVIDED ME WITH SOME BEAUTIFUL, BEAUTIFUL MUSIC THAT IS ETHEREAL AND ROMANTIC AND I REALLY BASED -- A REALLY MOUNTED THE SHOW USING HIS MUSIC, AND THAT REALLY HELPED OUT A LOT. I WAS ABLE TO MOUNT THE SHOW WITH HIS RHYTHMS. >> CLOUD TECTONICS IS PART OF ITS BILINGUAL PROGRAM. WHAT IS THAT PROGRAM SCHOOL? >> IT IS A GREAT PROGRAM BECAUSE THEY ARE TRYING TO REACH AN AUDIENCE OUT THERE, TRYING TO REACH A LATINO AUDIENCE IN THE NORTHERN PART OF THE COUNTY. HE IS THE ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR AND LEADING THE INITIATIVE. THAT IS BASICALLY TRYING TO BRING LATINO WORKS TO THE FOREFRONT AT THE NEW VILLAGE ARTS. I HAVE TO SAY, I HAVE BEEN WORKING AT THERE FOR MANY YEARS, BUT IT IS A VERY, VERY INTERESTING SMALL THEATER THAT I THINK HAS A LOT OF POTENTIAL, AND I THINK THEY WILL BE COMING UP AND WE WILL BE HEARING FROM THEM A LOT. >> HOW DO YOU THINK THIS PLAY FITS INTO THAT? >> THIS IS THEIR FIRST PLAY AND I THINK THIS IS -- THIS IS THEIR FIRST PLAY, A GREAT EXAMPLE OF WHAT GOOD, EXCELLENT LATINO THEATER SHOULD LOOK LIKE AND FEEL LIKE, AND I THINK NADIA PICKED A GREAT PIZZA TO START HER INITIATIVE WITH BECAUSE I THINK, LIKE I SAID, THIS IS NOT ONLY A LATINO CLASSIC, BUT I THINK IT IS AN AMERICAN THEATER CLASSIC AND IT TRANSCENDS ALL EXPECTATIONS. >> WE ARE MORE THAN 20 YEARS AFTER THIS PLAY WAS FIRST WRITTEN. WHAT ABOUT IT IS STILL RELEVANT IN YOUR MIND, OR DOES IT TAKE ON NEW RELEVANCY RIGHT NOW IN 2018? >> I THINK -- YOU KNOW, LIKE ALL CLASSICS, THEY TAKE ON A NEW MEANING WITH NEW THINGS. LIKE I SAID, THERE IS SOME LINES IN THE PLAY THAT ARE FUNNY, FOR EXAMPLE, THEY MOVED THE CAPITAL TO LOS ANGELES. THE WHITE HOUSE IS NOW ON THIS BOULEVARD. IT MAKES PEOPLE LAUGH AND I THINK IT IS BECAUSE, YOU KNOW, WE HAVE A CELEBRITY IN OUR WHITE -- WHITE HOUSE, AND IT KIND OF MAKES SENSE TO ME. [ LAUGH ] >> CLOUD TECTONICS RUNS THROUGH THE 25th AT NEW VILLAGE ARTS IN CARLSBAD AND I HAVE BEEN SPEAKING WITH THE DIRECTOR. THANK SO MUCH FOR JOINING US.

Jose Rivera's magic-realism classic "Cloud Tectonics" is being brought to life at New Village Arts by director Herbert Siguenza.

Advertisement

The play runs through Feb. 25 at the Carlsbad theater. It is a story of two brothers falling in love with the same woman. The play is about how love can stop and prolong time.

"I even set it in Los Angeles in the future. It's after the big one, after the big earthquake, after big storms. So, I set it in an apocalyptic future for sure," Siguenza said.

"Cloud Tectonics" is part of the Village Arts Theater's new bilingual Teatro Pueblo Nuevo program, which is bringing Latino works to the theater.

"Cloud Tectonics" runs through Feb. 25 at New Village Arts in Carlsbad.

Siguenza joins Midday Edition on Monday to discuss the play.

Explore all national, state and local returns now.