Wow, Octavio’s Play Sounds Good

San Francisco’s coolest (and nicest) playwright, Octavio Solis, has a new play coming up called Ghosts of the River, debuting first in San Jose and then in San Francisco. Just the one-liner sounds amazing: “A collage of puppetry, movement and text, this shadow play tells the story of the [Rio Grande] through time, from the Mexican Revolution through today.”

And Octavio’s descriptions, in an interview with Karen D’Souza in the San Jose Mercury News, have me even more intrigued:

Puppets have fascinated me for a while. You can do things with puppets that you simply cannot do with live actors. With puppets you can make a man fly, you can give a coyote (the people who smuggle people across the border) the head of a coyote and the body of a man. You can’t do that with real actors. I wanted these stories to have a supernatural atmosphere, I wanted them to be richly metaphorical, as well as very real, and that’s what makes puppetry perfect….

Some [of the stories] are based on the truth, but some are very metaphorical. There is the story of a troll under a bridge, a monster who attacks people as they try to cross. He rips them to shreds, tears them limb from limb. It’s a fable. The river has taken on mythical proportions. There are many legends about it, told by people on both sides. So many have perished crossing that river that it’s very much a ghost story. It’s very dark. Some of the stories start out comically, but they all turn. The border is a heavy place. It feels as if it were filled with ghosts.

I’m not sure exactly when I’m going to fit it in, given that the dates coincide with my own play, but I definitely need to find a way to work it into my schedule.

Read the rest of the Merc article, including a discussion of what made writing this play different from writing a traditional play, here.

Ghosts of the River by Octavio Solis, at Teatro Vision, 1700 Alum Rock Ave., San Jose, Oct 1-Oct 11. Tickets at It’s then at Brava Theater Center, 2781 24th St., San Francisco, Oct 28-Nov 8. Tickets at (scroll down).


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