September 2018

On Stage


Stage Talk by Carol Viescas

Menu of this month's listings, stories and columns

‘Indoor/Outdoor’ — No Strings Theatre Company presents the comedy by Kenny Finkle 7 p.m. Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 30-Sept. 2 at Black Box Theatre, 430 N Downtown Mall, in Las Cruces. Directed by Ceil Herman. Tickets: $15 ($12 students and seniors over 65; $10 all seats Thursday. Reservations: (575) 523-1223.
  The play is about a kitten who leaves home to find herself, finding kindness and love in the process.

‘Stand and Deliver’ — El Paso Playhouse, 2501 Montana, presents the play based on the movie of the true story of teacher Jaime Escalante Sept. 7-23. Adapted for the stage by Robert Bella. Showtimes are 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets: $15 ($12 seniors 62+, students, military; $9 12 and younger). Information: 532-1317 or

Kids-N-Co. classes — Kids-N-Co. offers acting classes geared towards ages 5-15. Classes are 3:30 to 5 Saturdays, taught based on experience and level, not age group. Session 1 class dates are Sept. 8-Nov. 17. Tuition: $200. Information, location: 274-8797 or on Facebook at El Paso Kids-n-Co.

‘The River Bride’ — American Southwest Theatre Company opens its season with “A Grim Latino Fairy Tail” by Marisela Trevino Orta Sept. 21-30 at NMSU’s Center for the Arts in Las Cruces. Directed by Wil Kilroy. Performances are 7:30 p.m. Friday and 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday. Tickets: $17 ($14 seniors; $10 students; $5 high schools students with current I.D.) Tickets: (575) 646-41420 or
   In a fishing village along the Amazon two sisters struggle to find their happily-ever-after. Helena is dreading her sister Belmira’s wedding. The groom, Duarte, should have been hers. And she knows that her sister only wants to escape their sleepy Brazilian town for an exciting new life in the city. Three days before the wedding, fishermen pull a mysterious stranger out of the river - a man with no past who offers both sisters an alluring, possibly dangerous future.

‘Parallel Lives’ — Las Cruces Community Theatre, 313 N. Main in the Las Cruces Downtown Mall presents the play based on the Kathy and Mo Show Sept 28-Oct.14. Directed by Teddy Aspen Sanchez. Performances are 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays. Tickets: $15 ($12 student, military and seniors, $11 per person groups of 10 or more) Tickets: $25 ($15 student). Angel Tickets (includes post show meet-and-greet) are $50. Information: (575) 523-1200 or

Shakespeare on the Rocks — Shakespeare on the Rocks 30th season runs at 7 p.m. Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays, Sept. 29-Nov. 4, at Chamizal National Memorial, 800 S. San Marcial, featuring three selected productions from previous seasons. Tickets: $10 ($8 for full-time students with valid id, seniors 65 and older, active military; $6 group rate, 10 or more. All season is general admission. Information: 474-4275,, or on Facebook.
  Season passes are $15 for all three shows (available through Sept. 21 at 540-3813.
Sept. 29-30: “Macbeth,” directed by Amanda Vasquez. The production, last seen in 2002, is set in a post-apocalyptic world where gender roles are often reversed.
Oct. 13-14: “The Comedy of Errors,” by Megan O’Toole-Pitts.
Nov. 3-4: Hector Serrano’s production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

El Paso Playhouse auditions — El Paso Playhouse, 2501 Montana, hosts these auditions for upcoming shows. Information, audition times: 532-1317 or
Upcoming auditions.
Sept. 30-Oct. 1: “Best Christmas Pageant Ever.” Shows run Nov. 30-Dec. 16.
Dec. 2-3: “And the Winner Is.” Shows run Jan. 18-27.
Dec. 9-10: “Always a Bridesmaid.” Shows run Feb. 8-24.

‘The World Goes ‘Round’ — No Strings Theatre Company presents the musical revue of distinguished and celebrated writing team, Kander and Ebb Oct. 5-21 at Black Box Theatre, 430 N Downtown Mall, in Las Cruces. Directed by Nora Thomas-Medina. Performances are 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., 2:30 p.m. Sunday Oct. 14 and 21; and 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 18. Tickets: $15 ($12 students and seniors over 65; $10 all seats Thursday. Reservations: (575) 523-1223.
  The nonstop hit parade features unforgettable gems from “Cabaret” to “Chicago,” including "Mr. Cellophane," "Maybe This Time," and "New York, New York."

STAGE TALK by Carol Viescas

SOTR’s‘MacBeth’ adds mutants, aliens, puppet

Directing Shakespeare can be challenging for any director. But first-time director Amanda Vasquez likes that challenge. She will be directing the first fall presentation of Shakespeare-on-the-Rocks, “MacBeth,” this month at the Chamizal and has chosen a fresh take on the classic material.
“I have decided to set “MacBeth” in a futuristic, post-apocalyptic setting,” Vasquez said. “There will be video transitions during some set changes and a lot of classic rock and heavy metal music to help ‘tell the story.’”
Just because she’s a first-time Shakespearean director doesn’t mean she doesn’t bring experience to the job.
“I auditioned for Shakespeare-on-the-Rocks several years ago, (2009ish) and stayed with the company since,” Vasquez said. “I’ve had the wonderful fortune to play the roles of Katarina, Olivia, Queen Elizabeth, Gertrude, Cleopatra and Verges. I also played Puck for the El Paso Playhouse, and have done a number of shows with them as well.”
She also brings experience working with Los Actores and the Jewel Box Series for the Philanthropy Theatre at the Plaza, and has done a few independent films and local and regional commercials.
Her cast of characters for her futuristic vision will include mutants, aliens, and even a puppet.
“Oh yes, and I’ve cast a woman as MacBeth, to be played as such. So, it will not be a woman in drag. MacBeth IS a woman in this show, as is Lady MacBeth.”
It isn’t the first time a female has taken on the lead male role in a Shakespeare classic. Sarah Bernhardt famously played Hamlet in 1899.
Veteran actress Vanessa Keyser takes on the role of MacBeth, with Didi Dominguez as Lady MacBeth, Jonathan Cantrell as MacDuff, and Herbert the Puppet (voiced by Andrew Leal) as The Doctor.
In this space, it is difficult to summarize the tale, but it is very much a political story as MacBeth, aided by his (in this case, her) wife, scheme to take the throne.
“MacBeth” is usually known as “The Scottish Play” because of theater superstitions that speaking the name can cause disaster. Vasquez calls her futuristic version “The Scottish Horror Picture Play.”
Indeed, getting the materials together to create the setting and costumes has been her greatest challenge, she said.
“I have been re-purposing used and recyclable materials to make costume pieces, weapons, and parts of the set,” Vasquez said. “I also have done all of the filming, cutting and editing of the videos that I will be using throughout the play with the use of my iPhone... so that has definitely been an interesting and educational challenge, to say the least.”
But, she added, her cast has been very game, taking on the challenge. As such, they have been her greatest joy in putting the show together.
“I put in a great amount of thought regarding who was going to be cast as who,” Vasquez said. “So being able to watch them work and display their craft has been magical.”
She also has directed, she said, with the everyday person in mind.
“I’ve tried to design this show specifically for people who say they ‘hate’ Shakespeare, for people who say they don’t ‘get’ Shakespeare. It’s for people who think Shakespeare is ‘hard’ or ‘boring.’ This is Shakespeare like our company has never done before. At the very least, it’s going to be fun to watch. I mean, come on... A PUPPET!”

Carol Viescas is a veteran of
community theater and teaches
journalism at Bel Air High School.

Shakespeare on the Rocks presents “Macbeth” at 7 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 29-30, at Chamizal National Memorial. Information:


This month's listings,
stories and columns

Feature story
Here's the Ticket
Program Notes
On Stage
Southwest Art Scene
At the Museum
History Lessons
Film Scene
Keep on Bookin'
Liner Notes
Stage Talk
Gallery Talk

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