The Carrie Hamilton Theater at The Pasadena Playhouse welcomes the reading of About…Productions’ original theaterwork Properties of Silence — written by Theresa Chavez, Rose Portillo, and Alan Pulner, and directed by Theresa Chavez.

Poetry, science, and history spiral out of control as a contemporary Phoenix realtor, her pool contractor husband, and the famed 17th C. Mexican poet Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz meet in a multi-layered dreamscape. Joined by Sor Juana’s confessor who hopes to silence her pen and scientific inquiries, reality bends as they all confront the nature of their identities and seek to find a new beginning.

As part of its 25th Anniversary Archival Project, About…Productions is reviving Properties of Silence as part of AxS Festival 2014 | CURIOSITY. The company will also present other production versions in 2014-15: first as part of the national Latino theater festival 2014 LATC Encuentro, and a subsequent full production run at The Carrie Hamilton Theatre at The Pasadena Playhouse in Winter 2015.

Properties of Silence is part of a series of works exploring the inner voice of unique individuals and their struggle for self-expression.  The four productions in this series also explore interrelated themes in science, spirituality and creativity.

Properties of Silence originally premiered in 1993, and in 2003 was presented by the L.A. Philharmonic in a staged reading, as one of the events related to the Phil’s production of John Adams’ El Niño, which incorporates text from a number of sources including Sor Juana. The reading for AxS Festival 2014 | CURIOSITY will include projections of images from the black and white video by Janice Tanaka, as well as production photos from the original 1999 premiere. The video emulates the Golden Age of Mexican Cinema and serves to underscore some of Sor Juana’s life story.

About….Sor Juana
Revered in Spanish-speaking countries and considered the first feminist writer, Sor Juana was a self-taught poet and playwright, scientist, and philosopher. Properties of Silence is inspired by Sor Juana’s most significant poem, “Primero Sueño (First Dream).”

Sor Juana began writing in rhymed verse at age 5, and became a nun at age 21 in order to continue her pursuit of knowledge, as the only other options open to her were to become a wife or prostitute. During her life, she acquired what is considered to be the largest collection of scientific and musical instruments in the Americas, and also possessed a substantial library. Before being silenced by the Catholic Church, she was commissioned by the vice-regal court of New Spain, residing in Mexico City, to write verse and plays, a number of which were published in Europe. She was dubbed by the most renowned writers and thinkers of her time as the “Tenth Muse” and the “Phoenix of the Americas.”

Properties of Silence
Directed by Theresa Chavez
Presented by About… Productions at the Pasadena Playhouse