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Theater News

'Tis the Season for Theater

Local productions are filling aisles and calendars this December

By Maggie Grimason
A small cast of two brings emotional power to Constellations at Desert Rose Playhouse
A small cast of two brings emotional power to Constellations at Desert Rose Playhouse
Desert Rose Playhouse

As the nights grow longer and colder with the onset of the last month of the year, the seasonally depressed and the perpetually cold may take heart that there is a wealth of theatrical performances being staged throughout the month by our talented local troupes. Passing time in the darkened playhouse as stories unfold in front of your eyes may accelerate the passing of winter, or—even if you have a more positive stance on the season—enhance your enjoyment of it. Opening in the final days of November, or otherwise on Dec. 1, are three noteworthy performances staged at three of Albuquerque's most beloved theaters.

First up is Constellations at Desert Rose Playhouse (6921 Montgomery Blvd. NE) in Northeast Albuquerque, which opened the day after Thanksgiving and runs through Dec. 17. The show premiered in London in 2012, finally making it stateside in 2015. Now, Constellations is debuting in Albuquerque with a small cast of just two, Roland and Marianne, played by Karen Byers and Christopher Chase. In a single act, the world as we know it is abandoned in favor of a heady series of alternate worlds, and all their alternate possibilities. A series of vignettes repeats the characters first meeting again, and again. In some scenarios girl meets boy and they part forever, in some they wind up together, in others they love and then lose one another. As Marianne tells Roland, “in the quantum multiverse, every decision you’ve ever and never made exists in an unimaginably vast ensemble of parallel universes.” Marianne specializes in “theoretical early universe cosmology,” and those cerebral concepts are poignantly applied to the infinities of love in Constellations. Rave reviews the world over means that you'll want to get this one in your calendar and buy a ticket ASAP at desertroseplayhouse.net.

Opening at Aux Dog Theatre (3011-3015 Monte Vista Blvd. NE) on Dec. 1 is an entirely different sort of show, though no less charming. Penned by none other than Nora Ephron (you know, writer of When Harry Met Sally and Sleepless in Seattle?) this play—which won a 2010 Drama Desk Award—is full of the smart laughs and relatable ruminations that has long made Ephron's work so popular. Andy Mayo, Project Director at Aux Dog summed up the show, titled Love, Loss, and What I Wore like this: “A series of hilarious, poignant and popular monologues and ensemble pieces about how women's clothing documents their history through memory and storytelling, the play is based on the book by Ilene Beckerman.” In fact, this play was so well-received locally that this is the second run of the production, this time around with a new director and cast. Find tickets online at auxdogtheatre.org and find your way to Nob Hill for a show before Dec. 17.

Rounding out a host of exciting shows to catch is The Vortex Theatre's (2900 Carlisle Blvd. NE) Absurd Person Singular. Here's one that suits the season—a thoughtful and humor tinged show that tells the story of Christmas Eve on three successive years, with three different couples, in three different kitchens. The show rightfully draws comparisons between those who have, and those who have-not, with surprising outcomes by the end of the last act. Written in the ’70s this play hits an appropriately reflective end-of-year note, as it tells the changing fortunes of the three couples. Written by Brit Alan Ayckbourn and here directed by Marty Epstein, this play makes for a nice evening of entertainment with a bit of palatable, lighthearted moralizing. The production runs all the way up to Dec. 23, what I like to call Christmas Eve Eve. Grab a ticket at vortexabq.org, settle into the house and forget the cold outside for a few hours of holiday cheer.

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