Properties of Silence Salon Series

Mar 1, 2015

mexicofinal3The L.A. Times has called Properties of Silence “an intriguing dreamscape,” while the L.A. Weekly simply writes, “wondrous.”

About Productions pairs the production of Properties of Silence, a one-act, with a series of after-events called the Post-Silence Salon Series.

Poets reading, music playing, panels discussing, scholars talking, and singers singing—it all happens throughout the month of March.

Poetry, science and history spiral out of control as a contemporary Phoenix realtor, her pool contractor husband, and the famed 17th century poet Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz meet in a multi-layered dreamscape. Sor Juana, considered the first great Latin American poet, is joined by her confessor who hopes to silence her pen and scientific inquiries. Reality bends as they all confront the nature of their identities and seek a new beginning. (Official text)


Rose Portillo at Sor Juana

Rose Portillo at Sor Juana; photo by Theresa Chavez


Elizabeth Rainey

Elizabeth Rainey; photo by Theresa Chavez


Photo by Theresa Chavez

Photo by Theresa Chavez


Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz died in Mexico City in 1695 after spending much of her life within the confines of the Convent of Santa Paula of the Hieronymite. Because of her exceptional intelligence (her knowledge was tested by “some 40 noted scholars”¹) and patronage, Sor Juana was able to engage in a life of teaching, studying and writing with “exceptional freedom.”

Sor Juana’s success in the colonial milieu and her enduring significance are due at least in part to her mastery of the full range of poetic forms and themes of the Spanish Golden Age. She was the last great writer of the Hispanic Baroque and the first great exemplar of colonial Mexican culture.²

This nun and scholar, Sor Juana, is a Mexican icon. At one point, she had amassed “one of the largest private libraries in the New World” and was the unofficial court poet, as well as a playwright. Her writing is described as inventive, witty, scholarly, philosophical, satiric, secular, religious, allegorical, and enlightened. Read one of her famous poems “Hombres necios” or “Foolish Men,” below the image of a portrait by Miguel Cabrera.


Properties of Silence & Post-Silence Salons
Performances through March 29th
Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 3 p.m.
One-act: 50 minutes
The Carrie Hamilton Theatre, Pasadena Playhouse
39 S. El Molino Ave., Pasadena 91101
Tickets: $30, general; $15, students (purchase here)
For more details, visit


Universidad del Claustro de Sor Juana

Universidad del Claustro de Sor Juana


Schedule of Post-Silence Salons:

March 5 – Post-Play Discussion with Properties of Silence Playwrights

March 6 – Post-Play Discussion with Properties of Silence Playwrights

March 7 – Vocalist Julie Adler / Poet Eve Wood / Musician/Actor Ellen Burr

March 8 – Benefit reception and performance in The Pasadena Playhouse’s Historic Makineni Library

March 12 – Poets Nicelle Davis / Laurel Ann Bogen / Amy Uyematsu 

March 13 – Poet Gloria Alvarez

March 14 – Scholar Barbara Fuchs, PhD

March 15 – Poets Iris de Anda / Felicia Montes / Rebecca Gonzales / Xitlalic Gujosa Osuna

March 19 – Panel Discussion: Women Who Submit

March 20 – Poets Gail Wronsky and Alicia Portnoy 

March 21 – Writer/Performer/Activist Karen Anzoategui

March 25 – Young Theaterworks: Post-Play

March 26 – Poets/Writers Las Lunas Locas

March 27 –Young Theaterworks: Student Poetry Night

March 28 – Maestra Atelier Artist Discussion

March 29 – Closing Night Salon


Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz by Miguel Cabrera

Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz by Miguel Cabrera


Foolish Men
By Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, 1651 – 1695
Translated by Michael Smith

You foolish men who lay
the guilt on women,
not seeing you’re the cause
of the very thing you blame;

if you invite their disdain
with measureless desire
why wish they well behave
if you incite to ill.

You fight their stubbornness,
then, weightily,
you say it was their lightness
when it was your guile.

In all your crazy shows
you act just like a child
who plays the bogeyman
of which he’s then afraid.

With foolish arrogance
you hope to find a Thais
in her you court, but a Lucretia
when you’ve possessed her.

What kind of mind is odder
than his who mists
a mirror and then complains
that it’s not clear.

Their favour and disdain
you hold in equal state,
if they mistreat, you complain,
you mock if they treat you well.

No woman wins esteem of you:
the most modest is ungrateful
if she refuses to admit you;
yet if she does, she’s loose.

You always are so foolish
your censure is unfair;
one you blame for cruelty
the other for being easy.

What must be her temper
who offends when she’s
ungrateful and wearies
when compliant?

But with the anger and the grief
that your pleasure tells
good luck to her who doesn’t love you
and you go on and complain.

Your lover’s moans give wings
to women’s liberty:
and having made them bad,
you want to find them good.

Who has embraced
the greater blame in passion?
She who, solicited, falls,
or he who, fallen, pleads?

Who is more to blame,
though either should do wrong?
She who sins for pay
or he who pays to sin?

Why be outraged at the guilt
that is of your own doing?
Have them as you make them
or make them what you will.

Leave off your wooing
and then, with greater cause,
you can blame the passion
of her who comes to court?

Patent is your arrogance
that fights with many weapons
since in promise and insistence
you join world, flesh and devil.







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