The play deals with issues such as personal and national identity, metaphysics, psychological disturbance, politics, religion, pros and cons of altered states of consciousness, alcoholism, infidelity, and self-sacrifice, but ultimately it is a play about the agony and redemptive power of love.
Turquoise and Obsidian is a massive work, both in length and depth, encompassing five cultures (American, Irish, Mexican Metizo, Mexican indigenous, and ancient Aztec) and three languages (English, Spanish, and Nahautl), and drawing from a vast array of literary, historical, political, religious, ethnobotanical, and anthropological sources to tell the story of a group of individualistic characters drawn together by a confluence of personal and cultural forces.
On the surface, it is a story about an American botanist and an Irish literature professor, in Mexico and far from home, struggling to reconcile a marriage broken by alcoholism and infidelity, while, on soft feet, a shadow revolution burns around them.
Underneath, through an entwining of conventional narrative and magical realism, the play contains stories within stories, constructed in overlapping patterns that mirror the couple’s struggle to regain their faith in one another. This Russian doll structure expands to encompass the tension between an individual’s quest for self-discovery and one’s dependence on family, culture, history, and, ultimately, fate.
- September 2003, Theatre Noir, Portland, Oregon; staged reading.
- October 1994, LitEruption Book Fair, Portland, Oregon; staged reading (excerpt).