Calender of Stone
June 12 - 15, 2003
Thursday - Sunday 7:30pm
Sunday MAtinee 2:30pm
The Annex Theatre

written, directed & performed by: Denise Stoklos
assistant director: Antonia Ratto
set design: Thais Stoklos Kignel and Leonardo Ceolin
costume design: Marie Toscano
lighting design: Pedro Kroupa and Antonia Ratto
voice-overs: Antonia Ratto
soundtrack: Denise Stoklos, Piatã Stoklos Kignel, Thais Stoklos Kignel and Antonia Ratto
photography: Thais Stoklos Kignel
english translation: Antonia Ratto
english translation supervisor: Wilson Lória
executive producer: Egla Monteiro
assistant costume designer: Carolina Ferraz

CALENDAR OF STONE presents a character in confrontation with time in all its aspects. Through her daily journal, a woman faces diverse moments allowing her intimate self to come to surface. Her subconscious is surprisingly filled with grandiose and simple moments, all of them being equally vital. The work promises to be the most comedic play in Stoklos' repertoire.

No Brazilian actress has ever had the worldwide impact of Ms. Stoklos, whose "essential theatre" performances have enthralled audiences from Scandinavia to the Orient with theater works based solely on body, mind and voice. Stoklos' body of work ranges from the serious-minded to the hilarious, and testifies to wide possibilities of the actor's craft. She has been named Best Actress in Brazil nine times and her repertoire of solo plays has been performed in 31 countries.

"Calendar of Stone" is a solo piece written, directed and performed entirely by Ms. Stoklos. Borrowing its structure from Gertrude Stein's "A Birthday Book", in which the poet writes about each and every day of a year, Stoklos' character goes through an entire year during which all sorts of things happen. Simple, daily events coexist with profound, existential questionings, all having an impact on the character's life. Ms. Stoklos explains, "It is not relevant whether the character is male or female, rich or poor, younger or older, only that her basic necessities have been provided: this is someone who has been fed, educated and sheltered. It could be anyone in the audience or the performer herself."

"Stein", which in many languages means "stone," led to the title and appears as a symbol in the character's dreams. The stone represents time in its sense of durability. Stoklos points out that many facts in the history of humanity are saved in stone for the knowledge of future generations. It is via the image of the stone that time reveals itself in the play as a god of many faces, at once ordinary and deeply religious. Inside its endless repetition of one day after another, we can eventually find cracks in which chronology is no longer relevant, when the tedious, arid sensation of being "trapped in time" dissolves into what could be called a "timeless time".

All of Stoklos' plays have had their American debuts at La MaMa. Her last appearance at La MaMa, in 2000, was a magnificent biographical work, "Louise Bourgeois: I Do, I Undo, I Redo." The piece was based on the life, work and writings of Louise Bourgeois, the French-born modernist sculptor who is considered one of the world's most important living artists.

Ms. Stoklos grabbed the American spotlight in 1987 with a signature piece, "Mary Stuart." The New York Times' D.J.R. Bruckner praised the enormous range of images created purely by her face and movements, writing "in the struggle to master illusion, Ms. Stoklos wins brilliantly." That piece returned to La MaMa in 1997 after an appearance at the Edinburgh Festival, where it was described as the best performance there by The Observer of London.

Many of Stoklos' works have combined classical themes with modern commentary: "Hamlet in Irati" (1988) sought to compare Hamlet's delay in revenging his father to Latin peoples' delay in bringing on revolution. "500 Years: a Fax from Denise Stoklos to Christopher Columbus" (1993), a piece regarding Latin America from the point of view of the exploited, was called "a feverish stream-of-consciousness monologue that begins in rage and slowly metamorphoses into an ecstatic assertion of freedom and love" (Holden, New York Times). Her "Un-Medea" (1996) deconstructed the myth by having Medea not kill her children but reflect on her fate and ponder her choices in opting for life.

Between 1988 and 1993, Stoklos created a series of memorable comedies, beginning with a rendition of Franca Rame's "Adult Orgasm Escaped from the Zoo" (1989). Seven Days (Nina Mankin) wrote, "Stoklos conjures up people and places with an energy and precision that is exhilarating to watch, and she barely needs to let a single word roll off her funny foreign tongue to have all of La MaMa rocking with enjoyment." Next came her only American ensemble piece, "Casa" (1990), which the Village Voice (Mark Gevisser) judged "worthy of the Monsieur Hulot Memorial Umbrella" as "not only a school for sophisticated clowns, but also a sharp parody of bourgeois Brazilian domestic melodrama and a challenging salvo in the discourse of comic alienation." Her solo sequel, "Basement" (1992), prompted The Village Voice's Francine Russo to call her "a master mime and self-caricaturist" while El Diario/La Prensa's Alberto Minero cheered, "As a performer she is at the top not only of Latin American theater but even of the universal theater scene itself."

Stoklos' manifesto on Essential Theatre has been published and widely read. She has been the subject of a master's thesis at NYU by Suzi Sobral and a lecture at Princeton, titled "The Gestural Art of Reclaiming Utopia: Denise Stoklos' Essential Theatre," by Leslie Damasceno, both in 1992.

2003 page