‘Every Light Form Has a Shadow’: Acting in Invisible Cities

Document Type


Publication Date


Journal / Book Title

New Theatre Quarterly


In the foregoing article Deborah Saivetz described the background to the creation of Pino DiBuduo's Invisible Cities on the Newark, New Jersey, campus of Rutgers University in October 1998, and the development, limitations and strengths of that production. Its ‘audience’ – for the most part members of the university community and attendees at the concurrently scheduted ‘Arts Transforming the Urban Environment’ conference – were impressed by DiBuduo's artistic vision and the conviction of the actors, though a few expressed disappointment that, despite the project's urban setting and conference tie-in, Invisible Cities seemed to have little to do with the historically and culturally rich city of Newark itself. Most, however, were fascinated by, and perhaps even grateful to, the visiting Italian director who, with his band of student artists, transformed an ordinary campus building into an at times baffling, frequently delighful, and always provocative sequence of worlds – as if, as one witness put it, ‘watching a dream in real life’. The actors and technicians who participated in Invisible Cities confronted challenges from all angles: the English–Italian language barrier, the University bureaucracy, the physical limitations of the performance space, inclement weather, and the shortage of finances, human resources – and, most of all, time. Yet, despite the constant ‘changes of direction’ that were part of the Invisible Cities process, the actors were inspired by DiBuduo's willingness to allow them complete artistic licence in the conception and execution of their cities, and they came to understand that even artistic tensions can strengthen the bonds within an ensemble, infusing its members with a fighting spirit that refuses to let the project die. In the following interview, the student artists reflect upon the unique process of creating Invisible Cities, the actor–director relationship, the role of the audience, and the effect of the project upon the Rutgers–Newark community.



Published Citation

Saivetz, D. (2000). ‘Every Light Form Has a Shadow’: Acting in ‘Invisible Cities’. New Theatre Quarterly, 16(1), 65-75. doi:10.1017/S0266464X00013464