Theater in the City Different has become a force to be reckoned with over the years, standing tall alongside art, music and dance. The Santa Fe Playhouse, a leader in the advancement of theater arts for over a century, continues to put its sterling reputation to its best possible use, by introducing the works of rising playwrights with messages to impart on its storied stage. This year a new new-works festival called the Skeletal Series, featuring solo shows by visiting theater artists from around the world, will take audiences where few have gone before, July 27 – August 14, 2022.
The Skeletal Series also includes Shop/Talks, held on Sundays, which are part panel discussion, part workshop, and part Q&A. Visiting artists are paired with local theater artists to share works in progress and engage in conversations with each other and the audience. Shop/Talks welcomes audience members to volunteer for participatory aspects of the sessions, including the reading of new work.
The first in the series of four new works is Marooned! A Space Comedy, by acclaimed puppeteering duo Alex & Olmsted. In this uncommon multimedia puppet show, an astronaut crashes on an uncharted planet. Can she survive strange creatures, isolation and an anomalous atmosphere, to find her way home? Alex and Olmstead (Alex Vernon and Sarah Olmsted Thomas) is an internationally acclaimed puppet theater and film production company, based in Maryland, that has won two Jim Henson Foundation grants, including one for Marooned! Marooned! A Space Comedy runs Wednesday thru Saturday, July 27 – 30, 7:30 p.m., and Saturday, July 30, 2 p.m. Shop/Talk, Sunday, July 31, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
The second work features actress Marsha Mason performing a staged reading of Gary Dontzig’s latest play, In That Little Village Near Perm, which explores the question: whatever became of the Prozorov family after the events of Anton Chekov’s enduring classic Three Sisters? It’s now 1950 and we’re about to find out what happened to Olga, Masha, Irina, and their brother, Andrei. Tesuque resident Gary Dontzig has written for and produced numerous television shows, including Murphy Brown, Suddenly Susan, and A Different World. In That Little Village Near Perm runs one night only, Monday, August 1, 7 p.m. No Shop/Talk is included with this event.
The third featured piece Driving Around is a provocative brew of physical comedy, absurdism, and American naiveté by Amrita Dhaliwal. In a show full of insights into what unites us and separates us, a bus driver takes audiences on a ride that is so far past stupid it becomes compelling! Dhaliwal is a Punjabi American comedian and devising artist based in Los Angeles whose style has been compared to Mel Brooks. Her work explores themes of humanity through the lens of the current political climate. Driving Around runs Thursday thru Saturday, August 3 – 6, 7:30 p.m., and Saturday, August 6, 2 p.m. Shop/Talk, Sunday, August 7, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
The fourth and final performance is a solo show by playwright Psalmayene 24, Dear Mapel, in which he performs letters to a father he never really knew. At turns dramatic, gripping, and comedic, occasionally delivered as spoken-word poetry, the narrative chronicles the playwright’s creative coming-of-age, recalling his Brooklyn childhood, formative showbiz experiences, encounters with racism, and more. Psalm is a preeminent voice in hip hop theater and Mosaic Theater Company of DC’s Andrew W. Mellon playwright-in-residence. Dear Mapel runs Wednesday thru Saturday, August 10 – 13, 7:30 p.m., and Saturday, August 13, 2 p.m. Shop/Talk, Sunday, August 14, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
If you’re in the mood for staged theater that stretches the boundaries of performance and audience interaction, the Santa Fe Playhouse Skeletal Series may be just what you’re looking for. New works have never looked quite so compelling. Ticket prices run $30 – $75 general admission, Seniors $27, Students $15. Flex Passes are also available. For more information, visit the website.This article was posted by David Salcido