Jose Rivera’s emotionally rhapsodic Cloud Tectonics is the first mainstage production mounted by Teatro Pueblo Nuevo, New Village Arts Theatre’s bicultural outreach initiative. The time-tripping love story, with an apocalyptic, then idealized Los Angeles as its backdrop, dates back to the 1995 Humana new-play festival in Louisville and to La Jolla Playhouse, where it made its West Coast premiere. At NVA, Herbert Siguenza directs a sensual staging that evokes the dreamlike play’s dark and inscrutable atmospherics yet places the emphasis where it should be: on its passionate and yearning characters.
Nadia Guevara beautifully underplays Celestina del Sol, the anchor of the tale and the woman who in Rivera’s world of magical realism and metaphor, can stop time with and for love. The unsuspecting but powerless Anibal de la Luna (Jose Balistrieri) learns this on a night – or is it two years? – that challenges his very comprehension of time … and much more. Cloud Tectonics, like other fabulist works of literature or drama, resides in its enchantment with the inexplicable and the lyricism of its words. (Review originally published in San Diego CityBeat on 2/7/18.)
David L. Coddon is a Southern California theater critic.