Quantum Theatre's 2014-15 season pushes the envelope of audience experiences


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Quantum Theatre turns 24 with three titles instead of the usual four, but don’t be fooled by the numbers. 

Two of the plays are “potentially multievent experiences” explained Karla Boos, Quantum’s founder and driving force. “The second is a bit unusual, too, as it seems to be ‘one-hijra stand-up comedy’ — but don’t be too sure that’s all it is.”

The environmental theater already has its first venue secured, opening Aug. 5 at Rodef Shalom Congregation with “Tamara,” an interactive approach to the interactive 1981 play about painter Tamara de Lempicka and her meeting with womanizing poet Gabriele d’Annunzio, who was hoping to commission the artist to paint his portrait.

Subscriptions ($110-$157) are available at 412-362-1713 or quantumtheatre.com. Extras include guided tours through the company’s site-specific shows.

The schedule:

Aug. 5-Sept. 14: “Tamara” by John Krizanc; conceived by Richard Rose and John Krizanc; directed by John Shepard.

Audience members are the guests in at a decadent party, circa 1927. Champagne is served, and you meet 10 characters including d’Annunzio, the Italian poet who influenced Italian Fascism, and Dante, the poet’s valet and our guide.

As guests move through Rodef Shalom’s 1907 structure, it’s suggested that they choose a character and follow that person throughout, and patrons who come together to the show will benefit from splitting up. But anytime a scene in a room breaks and the characters leave for another destination, the audience can choose whom to follow.

The performance runs about two hours, but when “the characters roar off (hopefully in a 1927 Bugatti) for a hotel lunch in town,” the audience shares a dinner provided by six restaurateur/caterers, one for each of the six weeks of the run.

Jan. 29-Feb. 22, 2015: “Brahman/I: a one-hijra stand-up comedy show” by Aditi Brennan Kapil; director and site TBA.

With the tagline “Indian deities dwell among us and try to find their way,” “Brahman/I” is part one of Aditi Kapil’s award-winning Displaced Hindu Gods Trilogy, and it offers a play within that “stand-up” comedy show.

Hijra, Quantum explains, is “Hindi for intersex, possessing both sexes, or in Kapil’s humorous language, ‘all-in-one.’ ” The title character riffs about the continent of Asia as a dysfunctional family and the naming of Mt. Everest, among other things but “Brahman/I” also is a play, with a second character helping to explore issues of identity, courage and those deities.

Ms. Kapil has current commissions with theaters such as Yale Rep, La Jolla Playhouse and South Coast Rep, and parts one (“Brahman/I”) and two (“The Chronicles of Kalki”) of the trilogy are nominated for the James Tait Black Prize for Drama.

April 10-May 3, 2015: “All the Names” (world premiere) from the Nobel Prize-winning book by Jose Saramago, translated by Margaret Jull Costa and created by Barbara Luderowski, Karla Boos, Sarah Pickett, Narelle Sissons, Joseph Seamans and Megan Rivas; site TBA.

The Mattress Factory’s Luderowski, a longtime inspiration for Ms. Boos’ experimental work, approached the Quantum leader with the idea of a collaboration 18 months ago. Ms. Boos said, “I looked for the right source material to support a unique creation … one that might look like theater from one perspective, but installation art from another; one that that would allow Luderowski’s love of architecture, sculpture and assemblage to contribute in a fundamental way. ‘All the Names’ is it.”

The Boos-Luderowski team includes scenic designer Sissons, filmmaker Seamans, sound designer Pickett and dramaturg Rivas, who recently came to Pittsburgh to teach in the School of Drama at Carnegie Mellon University.


Sharon Eberson: seberson@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1960. Twitter: SEberson_pg.

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