Very little is known of Volturnus. In fact, there are no existing myths for him at all, though scholars have attempted to piece together his myth over the years. He was known as a river God and his name is thought to have derived from the word “volvere”, which is to roll along or wind around. Some scholars believe he had the character of a numen, and therefore never acquired personal characteristics. In Rome, numen often referred to a guardian spirit of a living ruler, which gave people a way to worship him without calling him a god. In Western tradition, numen can refer to the magical power residing inside an object.
Volturnus is a modern day story about a town which commemorates a local tall tale annually about a ring stolen from someone thought to be a wizard, a ring which possessed many magical attributes. The ring, protecting itself from being owned by the undeserving thief, summoned waters from the sea, creating a river which drowned him. The ring burrowed deep into the earth, where it remains. Each year following, during the town’s fair, the strongest men in the community attempted to retrieve the ring from the riverbed. In current day, this tradition has morphed into a gross display. Young men and women from the town gather during the annual fair to drink and compete. They plant a prop ring at the bottom of the riverbed and compete to see who can retrieve the it. One year, the real ring ends up in the hands of someone quite unlikely.
VOLUTURNS by Tonya Narvaez
Directed by Allison Page
Staged Reading on October 19, 2017 at the EXIT Theatre
Ron Chapman (Crispin)
Matt Gunnison (Stage Directions)
Christine Hong (Billie)
Gabriel Sanchez (Vince)
Tonya Narvaez is a writer, director, producer, and performer in San Francisco. Most recently she was Co-Artistic Director of San Francisco Theater Pub. She grew up an army brat, roaming from South Texas to the suburbs of Kansas to a tiny town in Arkansas to a tiny town in Nebraska, before landing in Southern California for a stretch of time, where she studied performing arts at California State University; Long Beach, South Coast Repertory, and in professional workshops in Los Angeles. In 2007, she trekked North to San Francisco, where she took classes with American Conservatory Theater and became involved in the local theater community.
After finding her footing as an actor in the Bay Area, she became interested in finding her own artistic voice and began writing. Her work draws from her experiences growing up in a complicated and culturally rich home, and especially from watching the women around her tap into their inner power to take control of their lives. She is deeply interested in exploring these themes through crafting mystery-thriller hybrid plays, which surprise and challenge the audience. She has written for the San Francisco Olympians Festival several times and is thrilled to write again this year. She has also had the opportunity to present two of her one-acts at PianoFight as part of San Francisco Theater Pub. In 2016, she was chosen by Loud and Unladylike to write a full-length script inspired by the life of Christine Jorgensen, which was read at PianoFight in July. In her free time, you can find Tonya singing her heart out at The Mint and Martuni’s or at home in a pile of blankets with a coloring book, watching Netflix and drinking mint tea. Or scotch.
The image of Voluturnus was created by Cody A. Rishell.