Sacra Theater

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 AND OPHELIA, which features Eve Bradford as Ophelia and Zhenevere Sophia Dao as Hamlette. The play depicts Shakespeare’s characters some four-hundred years after their genesis, as almost deathless lovers, in contemporary times, struggling to embody a love that Shakespeare’s own script prohibited them. Hamlette, once Hamlet, is transgender, transitioned to female, and the lesbian relationship between Hamlette and Ophelia exposes the coercion of tragedy in Shakespeare’s patriarchal values, for it is the script that doomed the lovers, not the lovers themselves. HAMLETTE AND OPHELIA is the story of the emancipation of the lovers from their canonized selves.

As with all public artistic endeavors, the advent of COVID has greatly influenced—and perhaps even strangely abetted—the production. Performances may begin in the summer of 2022.


From Zhenevere Sophia Dao's writings on Sacra Theater

"It is important that the actor is not in service to the audience; that 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. Immanence Theater, then, represents a rebellion against the diminution of human intensity in contemporary society."

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