Giulio Cesare Perrone Launches an Intimate Look into Love
by K. Marguerite Caronna
“Quantum Desire” invites us on a journey exploring the intersection of attraction, love, and physics. Human desire meets quantum theory across the stars through poetry, movement, and hypnotic visuals. This is not your high school physics class.
Bring your thinking cap, an open heart, and prepare to be amazed. “Quantum Desire,” third play in a trilogy, offers flashes of poetic beauty, existential questioning, and comic irony.
In Studio 12 at the Sawtooth Building in Berkeley, writer, director, and designer Giulio Cesare Perrone has created a multi-sensory performance piece, co-produced by Inferno and Pear Theatres. We are seated level with the dance floor, as Perrone invites us to be observers and participants.
Perrone’s simple yet effective set consists of a large, white projection screen where ripples of water and flowing images enhance the interwoven vignettes. Two pendulums hang from the lofty rafters, reminding us of gravity. The pendulums spin, attraction and repulsion, orbit, and shared spaces are set in motion.
A gong reverberates (sound and light design by Sinjin Jones). The actor/dancers bend with the sound wave as we enter different planes of experience.
The ensemble enters with suitcases, as we all carry our longings with us. The dynamic performers launch their journeys through dance mingled with poetry, scientific theory, and a quest for understanding. The performers query each other: “Desire, my love, what is it you long for?”
Answers take many forms. Air (versatile Liddy Freeman) contemplates a shoe that summons the memory of her mother through time and space. Devan (indomitable Miranda Li), dreams of colonizing Mars, leaving behind her lover Jessie (energetic Alec Braun). Devan’s desire signals his loss. Yet, Devan asks Jessie to understand her down to her DNA, journeying inward to the essence of life.
A fluctuating foursome—Air, Dakota, Jibril, and Indigo—(dynamic Liddy Freeman, David Truong, Olga Molina, and Max Seijas) circulate in electric orbits like charged particles as they ponder attraction and repulsion during a symbolic game of catch. What is it about a person that triggers goosebumps?
Ash (ethereal Andre Szarmach) plays a fantasy lover from a different plane, just out of reach of Indigo (multi-talented Molina). Giulia (elegant Hafsa Tepekule) provides an amused, haughty cat-walk view of desire—manifested in beauty, clothes, and jewelry.
Perrone’s ever-changing costumes evoke intimacy and movement. My favorite is the white cloth “top” that entwines two potential lovers as they push and pull in a cosmic dance.
Freeman’s daring choreography embodies the notion of forms in electrically charged orbits. Sinjin Jones’ hip hop song and Anne Victoria Banks Perrone’s western song, “Chemical Attraction,” lighten the mood, asking if it is “love” or simply chemistry that binds us in longing.
“Desire begins in our bodies and ripples out into space,” notes Perrone. The audience is left with a sense of awe, swept up in something larger than ourselves.
In Physics, mechanics explores the motion of bodies influenced by outside forces. For Perrone, that force is love. When Tina Turner asks, “What’s love got to do with it?” Perrone answers, “Everything.”
“Quantum Desire” by Giulio Cesare Perrone, by Inferno Theatre & The Pear Theatre, at The Sawtooth Building, 2525 Eighth Street, Studio 12, Berkeley 94710. Info: Inferno.org – to October 30, 2022.
Cast: Alec Brown, Liddy Freeman, Olga Molina, Max Seijas, Miranda Liu, Andre Szarmach, Hafsa Tepekule, and David Truong.