Upcoming play on campus meets theatre program objectives, presents new style

Although February and March bring notoriously cold weather to Notre Dame, they in no way silence the activities and events buzzing across campus.  Notably, the Department of Film, Television, and Theatre (FTT) will present intriguing performances throughout the upcoming spring semester.

According to the department’s website, FTT strives to “inspire intellectual inquiry and nurture creativity.”  Students pursuing the major choose one concentration—film, television, or theatre—and may study a variety of topics, from acting or playwriting to experiential Broadway field trips.  This artistic flourishing, however, is not solely confined to the department’s courses.  At the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center, FTT not only holds classes but also reaches out to the Notre Dame community with its theatrical productions.

Kevin Dreyer, Director of Theatre, described to the Rover how FTT chooses productions: “The plays FTT produces are chosen as a season, and the theatre committee considers the four slots against one another in order to address [five] objectives.”

The first objective to consider is variety—as Dreyer told the Rover, “a range in style, genre, time period, [and] language.”  Chosen productions also should connect to the curricula of FTT and other departments, as well as provide roles suitable for student actors, in order to create an instructive and enriching experience for each participant.  FTT also considers the overall size and demand each show, from cast members to required stagehands and technical assistants.  Finally, selected shows should potentially attract student and faculty audiences alike.

Last semester, the performances began with two student-written one-act plays, Beneath My Skin (Zachary Wendeln) and Out of Orbit (Lucas García).  Then the Patricia George Decio Theatre took the stage with Six Characters in Search of an Author (Luigi Pirandello).  The first two showcased originality and, according to the DPAC website, contributed to “the ongoing campus conversation about dignity and inclusion.”  The latter production drew in audiences with the intermingling of reality and fantasy, all within the modernized setting of a reality TV show.

This semester, FTT’s first production will be Cloud Tectonics, performed at the Philbin Studio Theatre in DPAC.  The Philbin uses a small space to create a simple, intimate atmosphere that allows audiences to connect closely with actors.  Dreyer told the Rover, Cloud Tectonics specifically answered the need for a smaller cast show that presents a voice we do not often hear at Notre Dame, a minority author writing in a mainstream medium.”

Written by Puerto Rican playwright José Rivera (who studied under the renowned author Gabriel García Márquez), Cloud Tectonics employs magical realism to create a dreamlike story that challenges the viewer’s sense of time, space, and reality.

In the play, Celestina del Sol, a pregnant woman and nomad, finds herself stranded in Los Angeles in the midst of a torrential downpour.  Upon finding her, a man named Anibal de la Luna welcomes her into the comfort and safety of his home.  As the two come to know each other, Celestina’s peculiarities arise; for instance, she claims that her pregnancy has lasted two years.  A timeless, ethereal atmosphere possesses the room, distancing it from the outside world, and a unique relationship of love and mystery begins to form.

As Dreyer told the Rover, Cloud Tectonics will bring a new and intriguing artistic style to Notre Dame theatre.  He commented, “This is a piece that feels unlike many of our past productions, and Anton Juan (the director) was very excited by the possibilities it presented.”

Dreyer hopes that the play will satisfy audiences and motivate them to talk about their experience with others.  “We try to pick plays that we believe will intrigue, entertain, provoke thought and discussion, and make our audiences excited about what we may be offering next,” he told the Rover.

Cloud Tectonics will run from February 19 to March 1 at the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center.  More information can be found at the DPAC or FTT websites.


Sophia Buono is a freshman majoring in the Program of Liberal Studies.  She enjoys music, and during Christmas break traveled with the Notre Dame Chorale to several cities such as Louisville, Nashville, and New Orleans.  Contact Sophia at sbuono@nd.edu.