The Queens College Theatre Guild will begin their production of “Cloud Tectonics,” a play written by Jose Rivera, at The Little Theatre in King Hall on May 19 at 7:30 p.m.
The play explores the relationship between three characters, Celestina del Sol, played by Victoria Gomez, Nelson de la Luna, played by Michael Alvarado and Anibal de la Luna, played by Christopher Guevara.
“The play begins when a lonely romantic, Aníbal, picks up a beautiful and very pregnant hitchhiker, who, over the course of one night, opens his mind to a new perception of time and a truer meaning of love,” Rina Dutta, the play’s director and a senior theatre major, said.
Magic realism is a genre that combines elements of dream or fantasy on stage with naturalistic techniques. Dutta said she wanted to experiment with the use of imagery and lighting to create a dream-like feel.
“Lighting design will play a huge part in transporting the audience to the world the play alludes to and things that aren’t physically in the space, but brought in through the character’s imagination,” she said.
This is Dutta’s first play as a director. It is also a student-run play, which means the crew is in charge of things—budgeting, ticket sales, design and more—a faculty-led production would usually handle.
“This rehearsal process is certainly unlike any other I’ve ever experienced,” Dutta said. “But, then again, this is the first time I’m directing something. It’s wonderful, changing, building on itself, exploding, dying and being reborn. Each day is completely different from the last.”
The play takes place in Echo Park in Los Angeles, Calif., in 1995. The characters take shelter inside Anibal’s apartment from a storm called “The Storm of the Century.” Anibal and Nelson are brothers that fall in love with Celestina, a 54-year-old woman pregnant for two years and looking for the baby’s father.
“I think my character is awkward and weird, yet graceful, which makes her loveable and attractive,” Gomez, a senior drama theatre and studio art major, said. “She isn’t on the same wavelength as everyone else in society. The audience will get sucked in time the way the characters do.”
Nelson is Anibal’s younger brother, a character Alvarado, a sophomore majoring in sociology and theater, explained was full of energy.
“He’s charming [and] a lovable guy. He’s energetic [and] brings life to everyone around him,” Alvarado said. “But this is replaced with darkness after he comes back from war in the second scene he’s in.”
Meanwhile, Anibal struggles with protecting himself, while opening up to someone.
“He wants to be touched, more than just a sexual way. It’s not until he finds Celestina that he knows, in absolute certainty, this is what love feels like, and it’s through what she is able to pull out of him,” Guevara, a senior theatre major, said.
Dutta said she wants the audience to try to see what love is through Celestina’s eyes.
“Here’s an example of what students can do when left to their own devices—a glimpse into the future of art. Not to be cheesy, but we are the future and the future is now. Then, there’s the play itself. The language stands alone so beautifully that to have it heightened through the medium of theatre—to have it pass through the hearts of so many artists—and then given to the hearts of the audience [is magical],” Dutta said.
There will be a total of four shows. Aside from the performance on May 19, there are two on May 21 at 2:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. The final production will be on May 22 at 3:00 p.m. Students can purchase tickets for $10 and an hour before the shows begins.
“People should come see this play because it’s a production done by students. It shows the dedication and the hard work that we’re all doing. We’re working with what we got and we’re making it work,” Alvarado said. “People should expect a damn good show.”