Sacra Theater is an expression of immanence theater, by which is meant an aesthetic of intensity which naturally effects an inversion of “artifice” and “reality,” such that the “script” of society is sounded for its tepidity through the aesthetic of intense and committed playing. This inversion is constituted fundamentally by a poetics of heartbreak—heartbreak at the loss of human vitality in society and in privacy, including the reach of emotion, the capacity for tragedy, the capacity for consummation, the risk of love, and the human body as a field of terrible beauty, fragility, and power.
The scripts of the plays of Sacra Theater are original to Zhenevere Sophia Dao, and Zhenevere directs the productions.
Currently, Sacra Theater is working on the production, HAMLETTE'S ROOM, which features Eve Bradford as Ophelia, Willa Roberts as the Muse, and Zhenevere Sophia Dao as Hamlette. The play, which relies heavily on music—on song and sound—and isolations of physical intensity that correlate to contemporary dance, depicts Shakespeare’s characters some four-hundred years after their creation. Here, they are almost deathless lovers, in contemporary times, in the throes of the spiritual and existential process of emancipating themselves and each other from the script in order to embody a combustion of human potential in love barely hinted at in Shakespeare's original play. In HAMLETTE'S ROOM, Hamlette, once Hamlet, is transgender, transitioned to female. The lesbian relationship between Hamlette and Ophelia revisions emotion as a mutual genesis rather than the histrionics of a singular, unattainable genius. Muse is the hurtable, poetical god-spirit embodying pain and the transcendence of pain, an emissary of the other world and a template of the immanence of sensitivity. Hamlette's "room" is both a concrete location, and a figure of the mind, a purgatory between eternity and mortal life, between death and destiny. But to leave the room—to be able, like people, to live and die—Hamlette and Ophelia must first face themselves and the brutality of the world.
Currently we are deep in the rehearsal process. Because the play encompasses 5 arts—narrative theater, poetry, dance, music, and plastic art, rehearsal is revealing itself to be a process of years. We anticipate performances to begin in April of 2024.
From Zhenevere Sophia Dao's writings on Sacra Theater
"It is important that the actor is not in direct, but only oblique service to the audience. To solicit an audience's attention would turn even primordial expression into a form of selling, into the marketing of emotions for results of one kind or another, however altruistically conceived. Rather, the actor is a form of sacrifice that does not conceive of itself as sacrificial. The immanent player is interested in the union of crises that their abjection is engendering on the sacramental stage, in lived, unrecordable, irreducible time."
"A theater of belonging would necessarily challenge or invert normative existential relationships of value, such as artifice and “reality,” actor and “character,” tragedy and affirmation, catharsis and embodiment, language and body, narrative and image, abjection and consummation, indeterminacy and redemption, identity and multiplicity, etc. Given that human culture invariably constitutes strategies of behavior employed to lessen the felt impact of the absence of belonging (alienation) through transcendental modes, such as transcendental religion, distraction, entertainment, addiction, consumerism, cheerfulness, information overload, high-speed technological processing, etc.—which invariably only engender more existential unbelonging—an immanence theater—a theater of human belonging—would necessarily be founded on a poetics of heartbreak, or even a poetics of pain. For pain would have to be the natural state of highly sensitive individuals (human creatures as opposed to human consumers) negotiating dominant cultural strategies that essentially avoid or violate belonging. The poetics of SACRa Theater, then, represents a rebellion against the diminution of human intensity in contemporary society."