Stage Talk by Carol Viescas
‘Middletown’ — No Strings Theatre Company presents the new play by Will Eno March 2-18 at Black Box Theatre in Las Cruces. Directed by Autumn Gieb. Performances are 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., 2:30 p.m. Sunday, March 11 and 18; and at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 15. Tickets: $15 ($12 students and seniors over 65; $10 all seats Thursday. Reservations: (575) 523-1223.
Mary is settling in nicely to her new home, but wants to know more than what the tiny local library can offer. Then John, an inquisitive jack-of-all-trades, enters her life forming a connection like no other.
Shakespeare for Kids auditions — Shakespeare on-the-Rocks hosts auditions for middle and high school age students 4 to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday, March 2-3, at EPCC’s Valle Verde Campus Cafeteria Annex (Building C), for an all-student production of abridged versions of “Macbeth” and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” directed by Vanessa Keyser. Performances planned for 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, April 13-14. Information: 540-3813 or shakespeareontherocks.com.
Shakespeare-on-the-Rocks is launching the new initiative for young people as part of its 30th anniversary celebration.
‘The Heiress’ — El Paso Community College Theater Ensemble presents the play by Ruth and Augustus Goetz March 2-11 at Transmountain Campus Forum Theater, 9570 Gateway North, directed by EPCC Theater instructor Ted Karber Jr. Performances are 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2:30 p.m. Sunday. The March 4 matinee will be signed for the deaf and hard of hearing. Tickets: $15 ($10 non-EPCC students and military; $7 EPCC students and staff and senior citizens); available at the door. Information: 831-5056.
Plain Catherine Sloper, who lives a spinster's life with her unloving father and eccentric aunt, is courted by the dashing Morris Townsend, seemingly for love and not for money, in this adaptation of the Henry James novel “Washington Square.”
No Strings Theatre auditions — No Strings Theatre hosts auditions for “The Rivals” at 2 p.m. Sunday, March 4, directed by Ceil Herman, at Black Box Theatre, 430 N. Downtown Mall in Las Cruces. Auditions consist of cold readings from the script. The role of Sir Anthony Absolute has been precast. Information: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Perusal script is on reserve at the “Ask Here” desk at Branigan Library.
‘On Golden Pond’ — El Paso Playhouse, 2501 Montana, presents the Ernest Thompson drama through March 4. Directed by Veronica Flores. Showtimes are 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets: $15 ($12 seniors 62+, students, military). Information: 532-1317 or elpasoplayhouse.com.
Ethel and Norman Thayer return home to Golden Pond for the 48th year, in a love story made famous on film by Henry Fonda, Katherine Hepburn and Jane Fonda.
‘An Enemy of the People’ — Las Cruces Community Theatre, 313 N. Main in the Las Cruces Downtown Mall presents the Arthur Miller play, adapted by Henrick Ibsen, March 9-25. Directed by Patrick Payne. Performances are 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays. Tickets: $15 ($12 student, senior, military). Information: (575) 523-1200 or lcctnm.org.
‘Hellman v. McCarthy’ — El Paso Community Foundation’s Jewel Box Series presents the new play by Brian Richard Mori at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, March 11, at the Philanthropy Theatre (next to the Plaza Theatre), directed by Camilla Carr Tickets: $16 (Ticketmaster). Information: 533-4020 or epcf.org.
The play is about the legal battle that raged after writer Mary McCarthy accused fellow author Lillian Hellman of lying during an appearance on Dick Cavett’s PBS talk show.
Next month’s event is Josefina Niggli’s 1938 one-act English-language drama “Soldadera,” at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, April 15, directed by Hector Serrano.
‘The Greek Mythology Olympiaganza’ — ACT (A Children’s Theatre) of Mesilla Valley presents the comic interpretation of Greek myths for all ages at 1 and 7 p.m. Sunday, March 11, at Rio Grande Theatre, 211 N. Main in the Las Cruces Downtown Mall. Tickets: $6 in advance; $7 at the door; $8 online. Information: (575) 541-2290 or riograndetheatre.org.
Two battling narrators attempt to cover the entirety of Greek mythology using audience participation, cross-dressing, and general theatrical insanity.
‘The Wizard of Oz’ — Sun City Musical Theatre, 3733 Shell Suite C, presents the classic musical based on L. Frank Baum’s story through March 11. Showtime is 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, plus 2:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Tickets: $12 ($10 children); Saturday matinees (available at the door on a first come, first serve basis only): $10 ($5 children). Information: 637-1618, suncitymusicaltheatre.com or on Facebook.
‘Hand to God’ — The UTEP Department of Theater & Dance presents the Obie-winning play by Robert Askins March 21-25, at UTEP’s Fox Fine Arts Studio Theatre. Show time is 7:30 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Tickets: $14; $12 UTEP faculty/staff, seniors, military, groups of 10 or more, Alumni with card, non-UTEP Students; $9 UTEP students and children. Information: 747-5118, theatredance.utep.edu or on Facebook.
Play asks question:
Is it money or love?
Playwright Ted Karber puts on another hat this month as director of El Paso Community College’s, “The Heiress.”
Karber, an adjunct faculty member at the college, has a long history of writing and directing, not just in El Paso.
“My play ‘Precious Heart: A One Character Play’ has had an active production history in the Midwest and even in Dallas and also El Paso,” Karber said. He founded Aardvark Theatre, Inc. in 1996 in El Paso and was the artistic director until I closed it in 2005. “During that time, I had the opportunity to direct many of the plays I dreamed of directing. It was a charmed part of my life.”
And now he is directing another favorite with “The Heiress.”
“I’ve always loved the story of ‘The Heiress,’ and similarly James’ ‘Washington Square’ (on which ‘The Heiress’ is based). I first read the play in college, and at the time thought I would very much like to direct it someday,” Karber said. “I like the story; I think it has great stage impact and is representative of a type of playwriting and storytelling which was so popular in the 1940s and ’50s. It is good for our EPCC theatre students to tackle this piece. It will make them stretch as actors and learn a different form of dramatic storytelling.”
The play takes on a classic theme of love.
“Catherine Sloper, the 20-something daughter of an affluent New York doctor in 1850, has met a young man named Morris Townsend,” Karber said. “Although Catherine has been lead to believe she is ‘dull’ and unmarriageable, she is pursued romantically by Morris, and she falls in love with him. Catherine will be a great heiress when her father dies, and the play asks us to decide whether Morris is courting Catherine because he loves her or because of her money.”
Leading the cast is Cristy Zermeno as Catherine, who has also worked in El Paso Playhouse and UTEP productions.
“Fernanda Antoine, Lavinia Penniman in ‘The Heiress,’ was in the EPCC production of ‘Rumours,’ and ‘Roll Call.’” Karber said regarding other lead actors. “Ricardo Hernandez, who plays Dr. Austin Sloper- Catherine’s father, was in the EPCC production of ‘Rumours,’ as was Jesus Hernandez, who plays Morris Townsend.”
Rounding out the cast are Daniela Tapia as Maria, Ana Paula Montoya as Elizabeth Almond, Victoria Rosales as Marian Almond, Francisco Bocanegra as Arthur Townsend and Melody Carrillo as Mrs. Montgomery.
Karber said it’s been a joy “hearing the words of this beloved play come to life ... the joys and the traumas of the characters realized on the stage. This play makes me think of Dr. R. Milton Leech, one of my favorite UTEP theatre professors. I can hear him say, ‘Ted, it’s a good play.’”
Not that there haven’t been difficulties. Doing a period play requires different costuming and props.
“The look of the period, with no costume stock and no real prop stock to pull from, has been a very large challenge,” Karber said. “Thank all the theater gods for Crystal Herman and Nicole Read in the UT El Paso Department of Theatre and Dance costume shop. They have been absolutely wonderful and very, very generous.”
A period set was also a challenge.
“This show has been reinvented by the amazing scenic designs by David Paz,” Karber said. “His beautiful set has helped me see the show in a new light... and has helped me breathe new artistic life into my concept of the play.”
As a bonus, the Sunday, March 4 performance will be signed for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community.
Carol Viescas is a veteran of
community theater and teaches
journalism at Bel Air High School.
EPCC Theater Ensemble presents “The Heiress” March 2-11 at Transmountain Campus Forum Theater.
Feature storyCopyright 2018 by Cristo Rey Communications.
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