Pi Theatre
in association with

The Vancouver Playhouse Theatre Company

Cloud Tectonics
Book by Jose Rivera

Venue: Performance Works on Granville Island
Dates: 25 February - 13 March 2004

Reviewer: Jane Penistan



Director Bill Dow Set design Bryan Pollock and Del SurjikCostume design Barbara Clayden Lighting design Del Surjik Stage managerJessica Chambers




Cloud Tectonics"Magic realism is characterized by two conflicting perspectives, one based on a rational view of reality and the other on the acceptance of the supernatural as prosaic reality" -  Bill Dow's introduction to his notes on the production of Cloud Tectonics. Celestial symbolism runs through the play, in the names of the characters, Celestina del Sol and Anibal and Nelson de la Luna, and the moon and stars on the back drop, glittering with reflected light. The entrance to the theatre is through rain which does not damp the assembling audience, who hear and see the water streaming down but sit dry and warm, cocooned in the soft, dim light and soothed by sound of running water. Already a sense of unreality pervades. The elements of earth, air, fire and water are all embraced in the ensuing action and dialogue.

A Spanish song of unrequited love, accompanied by guitars, is the prelude to the opening of the play. This quiet, melancholy mood is shattered by bright lights of a car, the sound of hurrying traffic through the rain and a crash of noise, followed by off stage voices. Here is Anibal offering the pedestrian Celestina shelter from the elements in his car and his home. Light, warmth and safety greet Anibal (Alexander Ferguson) and Celestina (Carmen Aguirre) as they enter the safety of Anibal's house and are surrounded by the circle of the sands of time. 


The practical Anibal is enchanted by the enigmatic and very pregnant Celestina. Time stands still as their affection for each other grows. The idyll is shattered by the noisy entrance of Anibal's soldier brother, Nelson (Michael Scholar jr.), on short leave. He also falls under Celestina's spell and on returning to duty promises he will soon come back and marry her. Nelson's homecoming is not as planned. He is broken physically and disillusioned. Celestina disappears, leaving the brothers devastated. In vain Anibal searches the world for his lost love. The still young Celestina, with her infant child, comes home to the now aged and infirm Anibal. But it is too late. All her love and affection cannot rekindle his dying fire. "Time like an ever rolling stream/ bears all its sons away". Through the mobile, undulating clouds the sun can only illuminate the moon, not warm it into blazing life.This beautiful and strange poetic work is well performed and tunefully sung by Carmen Aguirre, Alexander Ferguson and Michael Scholar Jr.  Bill Dow's direction juxtaposes magic and reality in this time warp play.

Cloud Tectonics runs at Performance Works on Granville Island, February 25 - March 13, 2004, at 8.00 p.m. with late night March 6 at 11.30. p.m. and matinee March 13 at 2.00 p.m. For tickets call 604-257-0366.

2004, Jane Penistan