NEXTpittsburgh – Much as it creatively mines Pittsburgh’s topography and built environments in search of the ideal setting for each production, Quantum Theatre also traverses world cultures and histories for compelling texts to translate and transform.
Its latest production brings a world premiere adaptation of José Saramago’s Nobel Prize-winning book All the Names to Pittsburgh audiences for the first time. Starring Bridget Connors, James FitzGerald, Cameron Knight and Mark Conway Thompson, All the Names was translated by Margaret Jull Costa who won the Oxford-Weidenfeld Translation Prize for her work.
An award-winning Portuguese writer, Saramago is acclaimed for his modern writings that use allegory, parable and irony to explore subversive perspectives on historic events, the human condition and compassion.
To bring the distinct world of Saramago’s book to life in new ways, Quantum is collaborating with several prominent Pittsburgh artists, including Barbara Luderowski, founder and co-director of the Mattress Factory—where Karla Boos and her team staged a production in the museum’s outdoor Garden installation in 2004. Additional collaborators for the first-of-its-kind production include award-winning filmmaker Joe Seamans, theatre designer Narelle Sissons, sound artists Sarah Pickett and Chris Evans, dramaturge Megan Rivas and lighting designer Cindy Limauro.
Equal parts theatrical experience and multi-sensory installation art, All the Names will immerse audiences in Saramago’s metaphysical world and translate the book into three dimensions. Theater-goers will follow the story of Senhor José, a clerk in the central registry of “an unnamed city, obsessed with collecting in his intensely private life” who goes on an “uncharacteristically bold journey to find a mysterious woman who has slipped through the cracks of a bureaucracy worthy of Kafka.”
The setting? The now-closed Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh’s Allegheny branch on the North Side. Constructed in 1890 by architects Smithmeyer and Pelz—and once home to the Buhl Planetarium—the magnificent building will again be revived with words, ideas and imagination. The multi-dimensional production will utilize a sizable area, including multiple rooms, within the second floor of the library.
Born in rural Azinhaga, Portugal in 1992, Saramago died in 2010 while living on the Spanish island of Lanzarote, where he moved in exile after the Portuguese government ordered the removal of his book, The Gospel According to Jesus Christ, from the Aristeion Prize’s shortlist, claiming the work was religiously offensive….