Celestina

celestina

A site-specific performance-installation piece, created in collaboration with Chicago-based puppetry company Manual Cinema and composer Matt Rogers, and commissioned by New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Through projected shadow puppetry and multi-channel sound sculpture, Celestina brings the museum’s early sixteenth-century Vélez Blanco patio to life, retelling the story of the celebrated, contemporaneous Spanish novel La Celestina, among the marble statues and behind the shuttered windows of the castle courtyard.

The tragic fate of lovers Calisto and Melibea, and bawdy schemes of the procuress and witch Celestina, are recounted in snatches of rumor and gossip by an ensemble of voices whose idle speculation blends with fragments of 16th-century villancicos and Judeo-Spanish folk music. Meanwhile the unraveling tragicomedy can be glimpsed through the windows of the castle, as shadowy figures engage in secretive trysts, hatch schemes and exact cold-blooded revenge on one another.