When a compelling stranger arrives in a tiny seaside town and initiates radical changes to the community, three long-time residents begin to lose their sense of home. Spectacular lighting and video, live music, and innovative set design create a swiftly changing landscape of upscale living and chic restaurants that suddenly transforms into a magical sunken world. Inspired by a passage from Gabriel Garçía Márquez’s novella Sea of Lost Time — a town drowns on a Sunday afternoon but persists, submerged, in its daily life, as if the deluge had never occurred — Sea of Common Catastrophe challenges its audiences and its artists to consider the exploitations and the opportunities inherent in profound shifts of urban communities.

Conceived, designed and directed by Jeff Becker, Sea of Common Catastrophe was co-commissioned by 7 Stages Theatre in partnership with JEMAGWGA and National Performance Network, and was developed in part through a series of workshops and dialogues with these partners and Ashé Cultural Arts Center in New Orleans.

Sea of Common Catastrophe premiered in New Orleans and Atlanta (presented by 7 Stages) in 2017, and was presented by Irondale in New York City in June 2018.

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“They went down very deep, to where the light of the sun and then the light of the sea stopped, and things were only visible in their own light. They passed a submerged village, with men and women on horseback turning about a carousel. It was a splendid day, and there were brightly colored flowers on the terraces. “Here a Sunday sank at about eleven o’clock in the morning,” Mr. Herbert said. “It must have been some cataclysm.”

Gabriel Garçía Márquez, Sea of Lost Time, trans. by Gregory Rabassa