Cover photo by Dale Roesch

Adoration of the Old Woman

José Rivera
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Set against the backdrop of Puerto Rico's struggle with the issue of statehood, a young woman, who speaks no Spanish, moves in with her 105-year-old great grandmother who speaks no English. Both women deal with problems of love — the younger with two new suitors and the older with the ghost of her husband's mistress.

Production Info

Cast: 5 total (3 female, 2 male)
Full Length Drama (about 100 minutes)
Multiple Sets
Contemporary Costumes

Press Quotes

“… There is more — much, much more — to José Rivera’s new play, ADORATION OF THE OLD WOMAN. But the play’s internal engine — its life and humor and earthiness — is driven by the shockingly profane, deeply poetic words of this spiritual old woman. Doña Belen may be the most fascinating character in Rivera’s fertile oeuvre … his plays are infused with the flavor we’ve come to associate with Latin writing — the rich imagery and lyricism of Federico García Lorca, the earthy sensuality and surrealism of Gabriel García Márquez. But Rivera’s concerns are universal. His characters may be brown-skinned, but his subject is the human soul. ADORATION OF THE OLD WOMAN is Rivera’s most overtly political play yet. It’s a work that combines Rivera’s heightened sense of language and visually rich dreamscapes with a deeply felt probing of Puerto Rican independence. It’s part ghost story, part political debate. It’s magical realism meets a Puerto Rican Crossfire … if Rivera never really seems to make his — the decision about Puerto Rican self-determination — he has left us with the evidence we need to make one for ourselves. And in that he fulfills what the physician-turned-playwright Anton Chekov said is the writer’s chief responsibility: not providing a cure, but correctly diagnosing the problem.” —Joel Beers, Orange County Weekly

About the Author


  • José Rivera

    José Rivera is an award-winning screenwriter and playwright. Mr. Rivera has won two Obie Awards for playwriting for MARISOL and REFERENCES TO SALVADOR DALI MAKE ME HOT, both produced at The Public Theater in New York. His plays THE PROMISE, EACH DAY DIES WITH SLEEP, CLOUD TECTONICS, THE STREET OF THE SUN, SUEÑO, SONNETS FOR AN OLD CENTURY, SCHOOL OF THE AMERICAS, BRAINPEOPLE, GIANTS HAVE US IN THEIR BOOK and THE HOUSE OF RAMON IGLESIA have been produced in theaters across the country and around the world. Plays-in-progress include THE LAST BOOK OF HOMER, HUMAN EMOTIONAL PROCESS, THE HOURS ARE FEMININE, a new translation of KISS OF THE SPIDERWOMAN and SCREAM FOR THE LOST ROMANTICS. ADORATION OF THE OLD WOMAN made its New York debut at INTAR Theatre in March 2014. Celestina, based on his play CLOUD TECTONICS, will mark his debut as a feature film director. Mr. Rivera has received awards from the Fulbright Arts Fellowship, the Whiting Foundation, the Kennedy Center, National Endowment for the Arts, the National Arts Club, New York Foundation for the Arts, the McKnight Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation. Mr. Rivera's screenplay for The Motorcycle Diaries was nominated for a Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar in 2005 making him the first Puerto Rican writer to be nominated for an Academy Award. Also nominated for a BAFTA and a Writers Guild Award, The Motorcycle Diaries won top writing awards in Spain and Argentina. His screenplay based on Jack Kerouac's On the Road premiered at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival and was distributed nationally in the winter of 2013. His film Trade was the first film to premiere at the United Nations. He has story credit on the film The 33 and shares credit on Letters to Juliet. Other screenplays include The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (Scott Rudin, producer); The State Boys Rebellion; Compositions in Black and White; Three Apples Fell From Heaven (Shekhar Kapur, director); Face Value; Riders on the Storm; American Rust; The Crown (Rodrigo Garcia, director); Vincent (Ben Foster, director); Patriotic Treason (Giancarlo Esposito, director); White Fang (Lance Acord, director); Deity; an untitled film based on the Korean film Failan (Andres Moore, director); and Even Silence Has an End. Television credits include an untitled HBO pilot, co-written and produced by Tom Hanks; The House of Ramon Iglesia; A.K.A. Pablo (Norman Lear, producer); The Eddie Matos Story; Eerie, Indiana (co-creator and producer); Goosebumps; Mayhem (Bob Cooper, producer); The Conquest (Ron Howard, producer); and Latino Roots, an untitled 10-hour limited series for HBO. Mr. Rivera made his film-acting debut playing himself in Margarita with a Straw. He is a former member of the Board of Directors of the Sundance Institute and has been a creative advisor for Screenwriting Labs in Utah, Jordan and India. A member of the LAByrinth Theatre Company and Ensemble Studio Theatre, he leads a weekly writing workshop in New York City, where he lives. In the works is his first novel, Love Makes the City Crumble.

About the Book

Book Information

Publisher BPPI
Publication Date 11/1/2010
Pages 80
ISBN 9780881454307

Special Notes

Special Notes

Licensees are required to include the original stage producers credits in the following form on the title page in all programs distributed in connection with performances of the Play and in all advertising in which the full cast appears in size of type not less than ten percent (10%) of the size of the title of the Play:

Originally produced by La Jolla Playhouse

The following must appear within all programs distributed in connection with performances of the Play:
Adoration of the Old Woman is produced
by special arrangement with Broadway Play Publishing Inc, NYC


Upcoming and Recent Productions


3/1/2019 – 3/10/2019
Humboldt State University
Arcata, CA

9/18/2018 – 9/18/2018
Otterbein University Dept. Of Theatre & Dance
Westerville, OH

2/12/2016 – 3/13/2016
Urbantheater Company