Stage Talk by Carol Viescas
‘The Last Night of Ballyhoo’ — El Paso High School’s Tiger Theatre Troupe presents the play by Alfred Uhry at 6:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Nov. 1-2, and Thursday and Friday, Nov. 7-8, at El Paso High School Auditorium, 800 E. Schuster. Admission: $6 at the door; or in advance; and for students. Information: 236-2500 or msmossephs.weebly.com.
This comedy/drama takes place in Atlanta, Ga. in December of 1939. “Gone with the Wind” is having its world premiere and Hitler is invading Poland, but Atlanta’s elitist German Jews are much more concerned about who is going to Ballyhoo, the social event of the season.
El Paso Comic Strip — 1201 Airway. Shows are at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 7:30 p.m. Sunday. Closed Oct. 31, Nov. 10 and 28. Tickets: $6 Thursday, $12 Friday and Saturday; $8 Sunday, except as listed. Age 17 and older admitted. VIP Booths $10 more per ticket for all shows; available at ticketweb.com.
Information, reservations: 779-LAFF (5233), elpasocomicstrip.com or on Facebook at El Paso Comic Strip.
• Nov. 1-3: Rusty Dooley
• Nov. 7-9: Jerry Garcia
• Nov. 14-17: Drew Thomas
Six-season SNL alum Jay Pharoah performs at 7:30 p.m. Thursday and 7:30 and 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Nov. 21-23. Tickets: $25; $30 VIP.
‘Boy Gets Girl’ — No Strings Theater Company presents the play by Rebecca Gilman, directed by Autumn Gieb, through Nov. 3, at Black Box Theater, 430 N. Main in Las Cruces. Showtime is 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 2:30 p.m. Sundays, and 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 31. Tickets: $15 ($12 students and seniors over 65; $10 all seats Thursday). Information: (575) 523-1223 or no-strings.org.
A blind date turns into a living nightmare in this play that examines stalking, sexism and romantic pursuit.
‘The Full Monty’ — Alamogordo Music Theatre presents the comedy based on the hit movie at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Nov. 8-9 and Thursday through Saturday, Nov. 14-16 at the Flickinger Center, 1110 N. New York, in Alamogordo. Adult content. Tickets: $12, available at ticketforce.com. Information: alamogordomusictheatre.org or on Facebook.
Six unemployed steelworkers in Buffalo, N.Y. have no cash and no prospects. Meanwhile, they catch their wives and other women going crazy over male strippers. The six men then set out to make some quick cash by becoming a team of male strippers.
‘The Green Bird’ — Virus Theater hosts the commedia dell’arte theatrical spectacle by Carlo Gozzi Nov. 8-23, at El Sol Theater, 406 N. Bullard, Downtown Silver City. Showtime is 7:30 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, 6 p.m. Sundays. Tickets: $14 ($6 students). Information: virustheater.com.
‘Bringing the Heat’ — Burlesque on the Rio hosts a show 8 to 11:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 9, at Touch Bar & Nightclub, with Bunny Galore, Pistol Holliday, Mena Domina, Tito Bonito as Emcee, and El Paso’s own VSF Strut. Admission: $10 in advance; $15 at the door. VIP $100; adults only. Information: burlesqueontherio.weebly.com.
‘Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol’ — T or C Community theatre hosts presents the one-man play Nov. 15-17 and Nov. 22-24 at, T or C Civic Center, 400 W. Fourth Street, in Truth or Consequences. Showtime is 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday. Seating is limited. Admission: $12 ($10 seniors and students). Pre-show dinner at 6 p.m. is available before the two Saturday night shows, by reservation at 609-226-5387, Information: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The story begins when Jacob Marley finds himself dead and condemned to a hellish eternity. He’s given his own private tormentor: a malicious little hell-sprite who thoroughly enjoys his work. Desperate, Marley accepts his one chance to free himself: to escape his own chains, he must first redeem Scrooge.
‘My Sister in This House’ — El Paso Community College Theatre presents the play by Wendy Kesselman as its first production of the season Nov. 15-24, at the Forum Theatre on the Transmountain Campus. Nov. 23 will include signing for the hearing impaired. Performances are 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2:30 p.m. Sundays. Directed by Ted Karber, Jr. Ticket: $15 ($7 EPCC students, staff, and seniors; $10, Non-EPCC students and military). Information: 831-5147 or on Facebook.
The play tells the story of Christine and her little sister Lea, the maids who were known as the gems of 1930s’ Le Mans society. In the crucible-like atmosphere of this home, the sisters become more isolated and less human. One afternoon their rage surfaces in a horrifying and shocking manner.
The Roadrunner Revue — The showcase of talent benefiting community radio station KTAL-LP is 5 to 9 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 17, at Rio Grande Theatre, 211 N. Main in Downtown Las Cruces. with Gene Keller, CW Ayon, Teresa Tudury, Doug Adamz, Chris Sander, and the Cosmic Troubadours. Cash bar offered. Tickets: $25 (Eventbrite).
‘A Christmas Carol’ — American Southwest Theatre Company presents the musical adaptation of Dickens’ holiday classic with book and lyrics by Tom Smith and music by Roger Butterly Nov. 22-Dec. 8 at NMSU’s Center for the Arts in Las Cruces. Directed by NMSU student Xodia Choate. Performances are 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, plus 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 30 and Sundays. Preview night is 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 21. Tickets: $18 ($15 seniors; $11 students; $5 high school students with current I.D.) Tickets: (575) 646-4515 or nmsutheatre.com.
Jesters League of America — El Paso’s improv comedy group, presents a show at 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 23, at Glasbox, 210 Poplar. Tickets: $5 at the door. The JLA is in its third year of completely unscripted hilarity. Information on Facebook at jestersleagueofamerica.
Improv Auditions — Jesters League of America hosts open auditions at 5:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 25, at Glasbox, 210 Poplar. Auditions are open to anyone willing to learn something new and work as a team, and exhibits wit, slapstick, characters, quick on the comebacks. No experience required. Auditions will include games centering on the basics of improv and short scenes with current members. There is no cost to join. Information on Facebook at jestersleagueofamerica.
Players practice each Monday at Glasbox from 5:30 to 7 p.m., with shows one Saturday evening per month.
‘Dogfight’ — UTEP Dinner Theatre, in the UTEP Student Union West building, presents the hauntingly beautiful musical as part of its Side Dish Student Production at 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, Dec. 3-7, and 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 8, with music and lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (”Dear Evan Hansen,” “The Greatest Showman,” ”A Christmas Story”) and book by Peter Duchan. All seats general admission; no meal served.(Ticketmaster). Information: 747-6060 or utep.edu/udt. Adult subject matter and language.
‘A Christmas Carol en la Frontera’ — The UTEP Department of Theatre and Dance presents an original adaptation of Charles Dickens’ holiday season classic by Jay Stratton and Adriana Dominguez Dec. 5-13, in UTEP’s Fox Fine Arts Wise Family Theatre. Showtime is 7 p.m. Friday through Sunday, Dec. 6-8 and Dec. 13; plus 4 p.m. matinees Dec. 7-8 and 6 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 15. Student matinees are 9:30 a.m. and noon Tuesdays through Thursdays, Dec. 11-12, and Dec. 17-19, and Monday Dec. 16. Tickets: $12-$18 (All seats $10 on Dec. 5). Information: 747-5118, theatredance.utep.edu or on Facebook.
‘Miracle on 34th Street’ — El Paso Playhouse, 2501 Montana, presents its adaptation of the classic film celebrating the true spirit of Christmas Dec. 6-21. Showtimes are 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets: $15 ($12 seniors, students, military and teachers; $9 children). Information: 532-1317 or elpasoplayhouse.com.
‘My Sister’ based on tragic true story
Ted Karber likes challenges. He founded Aardvark Theatre and ran it for nearly 10 years in El Paso, directing more than 30 shows. He’s a playwright, with two shows becoming semi-finalists at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center’s National Playwright’s Conference: “Precious Heart” and “Bunty’s Bones.” He’s taught theater at UTEP and YISD, and now is the coordinator for theatre at El Paso Community College.
And for his first outing at EPCC, he’s chosen a challenging play, “My Sister in This House,” by Wendy Kesselman.
“I wanted to choose a play which would give our EPCC talent a chance to work on character development,” Karber said. “ ‘My Sister in This House’ is truly an actor’s piece, it revolves on character interaction. I think the play gives our four wonderful actresses an opportunity to truly discover all of the delicious intricacies of these very unusual (and sometimes frightening) relationships.”
The story is based on a true incident.
“It centers on the lives of Madame Danzard (played by community theater veteran Veronica Frescas) and her daughter Isabelle (played by EPCC theatre student Dominique Joseph) as they live a life of quiet isolation in 1930s Le Mans, France,” Karber said. “Madame Danzard employs two maids, sisters Christine and Lea (played by EPCC and community theater veteran Cristy Zermeno and EPCC theatre Student Daniela Mendoza), who soon prove to be ‘two pearls,’ whom Madame Danzard hopes all of Le Mans society will envy.
“Separated from their employers by the strict class structures of 1930s French society, Christine and Lea begin a tightly bound relationship, which eventually turns sexual. As time passes, and the two young maids become more estranged from humanity, the seething atmosphere of Madame Danzard’s demanding household leads them down a terrifying and bloody path. Based on an actual occurrence in France, the play is at turns a comic view of social behavior, a probing investigation of human motivation, and finally a great murder story.”
Producing the four-actress, character-driven show has been a challenge.
“I suppose the biggest struggle has been mapping the very complex and subtle manner in which the characters change over the course of the production. Each character travels a very psychologically multifaceted road and ends up in a very surprising and disturbing place. Discovering the landscapes the characters journey, and how to translate those journeys to the stage, has been a great challenge, but also the most exciting task for each of us involved in the show.”
On the plus side, Karber said, are the five women who have helped bring the show to life.
“I include the four actresses and the production’s assistant director, Eurydice Saucedo.” It’s been a joy, he said, to watch these “talented women, witnessing what they bring to each moment of the show, and watching them grow as theatre artists.”
Karber hopes to keep expanding EPCC’s offerings: “I see great things for the theatre arts discipline at EPCC. We have begun to open our theatre to more community theatre entities (Shakespeare on the Rocks, El Paso Youth Opera), and we’ve begun a very solid effort to work collaboratively with our fellow arts colleagues at EPCC. We’re so lucky to have Greg Thompson directing our summer musical (‘Fun Home’), and we hope to continue that wonderful relationship and to continue offering a summer musical.
“We hope to stage a mix of modern and classic theatre (as you know, modern classics are my ‘thing’). We are making plans for our first Tejano Theatre Festival in conjunction with several El Paso high schools.
“And one of my own personal goals is to build the playwriting program at EPCC. We have a wonderful pool of writing talent here at the college, and I hope to start a ‘new plays festival’ during the summer, which will highlight some of that talent. As a playwright, I know how important it is to hear and see your work on the stage.”
Carol Viescas is a veteran of
community theater and teaches
journalism at Bel Air High School.
El Paso Community College Theatre presents “My Sister in This House” Nov. 15-24 at Transmountain Campus Forum Theatre. Information: 831-5147.
Feature storyCopyright 2019 by Cristo Rey Communications.
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