theater


V.23 No.15 | 4/10/2014
Love ain’t easy—just ask Molly Bloom (Sheridan Johnson) or Leopold Bloom (Brennan Foster).
Photos by Russell Maynor

Art Theater Preview

Sometimes Poison Is the Only Cure

Gibraltar stages edgy relationship at the heart of Joyce’s Ulysses

By Christopher C. Guider
Gibraltar follows Molly and Leopold Bloom over the course of a single day in Dublin. With their marriage on the rocks, Leopold is willing to try anything to rekindle the passion, even allow Molly to hook up with her overbearing concert manager Hugh “Blazes” Boylan.
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V.23 No.13 | 3/27/2014
Ethel Mertz was hawt.
Brooks Studio, PA1978.153

Arts Feature

Loving Vivian Vance

The highs and lows of an Albuquerque legend

By Kristi D. Lawrence
Beautiful, talented and compassionate, the real Vivian Vance was more than an “I Love Lucy” sidekick. She didn’t always gel with her famous costars, and her personal life wasn’t always picture-perfect.
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V.23 No.12 | 3/20/2014
Juno and the Paycock’s Phil Shortell as Captain Jack and Shangreaux LaGrave as Joxer
Photos by Alan Mitchell Photography

Arts Feature

A Terrible State of Chaos

Laughter lands admidst tragedy at the Southwest Irish Theater Festival

By Christopher C. Guider
In Juno and the Paycock, great storytelling, social commentary and lyrical language elevate a seriocomic classic of Irish theater.
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Theater

The F-Word and the Happy Life

Rapture, Blister, Burn lays out all the options

Did feminism really change anything? Do we even want it to? Over 50 years after Betty Friedan helped spark a second wave with The Feminine Mystique, we're still arguing about the morality of birth control and telling young women to “spend far more time planning for your husband than for your career.” (Gag.) As it happens, a fiercely funny, Pulitzer-nominated play is onstage right now in Albuquerque, tackling questions like these without resorting to flimsy stereotypes or strident manifestos. Rapture, Blister, Burn at the Aux Dog Theatre isn't just clever—it's nuanced, thoughtful and uproarious. I asked Aux Dog's producing artistic director Victoria Liberatori about the play, whose run comes to a close this weekend.

Let's start off with a biggie: The Aux Dog website asks, "Are you afraid of the F word?" and insists this "is not a 'feminist' play." Why shouldn't audiences be afraid of the lady-problems in Rapture, Blister, Burn, and how soul-crushingly sad is it that you even have to explain that?

Victoria Liberatori: Feminism has always gotten a bad rep as a man-hating, humorless, strident political movement for unfulfilled upper-class women. Was any movement for civil rights a laugh riot? However untrue, that label has stuck and, if anything, Rapture, Blister, Burn seeks to dispel those misperceptions and succeeds in debunking the dreary women's libber image. The show is funny, sexy and not at all preachy. Yes, it's sad that the image was falsely created and promoted by anti-feminist forces in the media, government and business. It's also shocking that we're still fighting the same battles today for equal pay, for access to abortion and for equal representation in our government, on corporate boards and in the media.

The New York Times says Rapture, Blister, Burn contains "a joke about pornography and Google maps — believe it or not — that’s worth the ticket price alone." What do you think is the key to the humor in this play?

VL: Unflinching honesty in the eye of hypocrisy and the fact that the real wisdom comes from the mouth of the youngest character in the play, Avery, a 21-year-old. The playwright, Gina Gionfriddo, has brilliantly interwoven the perspectives of three generations of women and that of the sole man in the play. When these points-of-view clash there are great comedic explosions!

Tell me a little about what your actors bring to their roles in the Aux Dog rendition of Rapture, Blister, Burn. What would you most like Albuquerque audiences to take away?

VL: The actors all do an amazing job of inhabiting these funny, neurotic, complex characters, yet they bring their own unique personal qualities to the roles. Our Catherine, played by Sheridan Johnson, is a high-strung academic rock star; Gwen, played by Jessica Osbourne, is a dreamy stay-at-home mom who feels she deserves more; Don, played by Ryan Montenery, is an attractive, charming slacker who settles for being a dean at a fourth-rate college; Avery, played by Sara Rosenthal, is a 21-year-old prophet of sorts who wants to be a reality TV star; and Alice, played by Gail Spidle, is Catherine's mother who just wants her daughter to be happy no matter how much must be compromised. The characters in this play are so rich in nuance and depth. What a joy to work with our director, Kristine Holtvedt, on them.

The take-away, I suppose, although I hope the play touches each audience member in a way that resonates for them, is that the grass is not always greener in someone else's garden and that we simply cannot reclaim the past no matter how much we want it. Creating a life that's happy isn't easy, but we must try.

And finally, what are you most excited about on Aux Dog's horizon?

VL: Launching our new Shakespeare classes with Jerry Ferraccio and our new acting classes with Jessica Osbourne in our new space, the AUX BOX next door to the Aux Dog. Solidifying our Aux Dog Theatre Company of actors, designers and production personnel, and building on the incredible success we had in 2013! Expanding our audience base and taking on new, challenging projects that excite us and our audiences is always a goal.

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Rapture, Blister, Burn final weekend

Friday and Saturday, March 7 and 8, 8pm
Sunday, March 9, 2pm

Aux Dog Theatre
3011 Monte Vista NE
Tickets: $14
auxdog.com, 254-7716
V.22 No.49 | 12/5/2013

Arts Feature

Knowing Your Enemies ...

In the War on Christmas

By Mike Smith
This … this is war! No! No! Oh no! A Christmas war! We’re in a war! A very special Christmas war.

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V.22 No.46 | 11/14/2013
Hannah Kauffmann-Banks, Dodie Montgomery and Katy Houska
Joanna Furgal

Art Theater Preview

Frozen Loss Envisioned Afresh

Tricklock takes on Black River Falling

By Genevieve Mueller
Created and written through ensemble work by the Tricklock Company, Black River Falling is set in the home of four sisters during one of the worst snowstorms in 1890s Wisconsin.
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V.22 No.45 | 11/7/2013

Stage Whispers

Upward mobility

From dance in the air to down-home drama, Stage Whispers highlights performance arts worth watching.
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V.22 No.43 | 10/24/2013

Film News

Big-Screen Screams

Count down to Halloween with scary screenings around ABQ

By Devin D. O’Leary

Like a bat on fire, Halloween is fast approaching. For those of you who like an extended season of scares, Albuquerque offers a week-long lead-up of cinematic spookiness. Here are some of our suggestions for spending your pre-Halloween in the dark.

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V.22 No.42 | 10/17/2013
Adrian Esparza, Superstructure, from installation Vitrina de Colonias, 2013, serape, plywood, nails, 18 x 16 feet

Culture Shock

By Lisa Barrow

The fine unline

This week in Culture Shock, grab your straight razors, climb a mountain and confront your fluid borders.
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V.22 No.41 | 10/10/2013
When quarantine is unsuccessful
Blackout Theatre Company

Horrorshow

Zombie Outbreak Won’t Lower Chile Prices

But it will spook the bejesus out of you

By Jeremy Shattuck
Nights grow longer, drier, colder. Fall is upon us, and with it, a new and frightening October epidemic.
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Arts

Frontiers in Puppet Theater

Grownup puppetry comes to Albuquerque for one night

Poncili Creacion
Poncili Creacion deals in mystery.

A strange new breed of puppet makes its way to Barelas tonight. Hailing from Puerto Rico, Poncili Creacion is the latest experimental, transcendental, elemental act to grace the ring in the Tannex’s revolving circus of mysteries. What we know of their show “Sacred Candy” is wispy at best: Masks will be employed. Objects will be manipulated. Expectations will be subverted. Cosmic questions will be pondered via optics of encrypted meaning.

Blind Date
A glimpse from “Blind Date” by Josefus & Friends

“Sacred Candy” is a labyrinth you will enter in due time. First: Feast your eyes on “Blind Date,” a live puppet + projection sketch presented by Albuquerque’s own Josefus & Friends. Josefus is Joe Annabi, the multitalented member of former bands THEN EATS THEM and Yoda’s House, whose ingenious cartoons you may have spotted adorning the menu boards at Winning Coffee Co.

“I am a huge fan of the Henson style of puppetry, which was a style developed for television and film,” explains Annabi, who teaches puppet making for kids at the Zia Family Focus Center. “It's not just the technical side of the Henson school of thought that I find appealing, but also very much the aesthetic.” His “Blind Date” will feature two puppets of Annabi’s own creation, Foxi der Fuchs and Drabney Lodores (played by Jenni Bage).

The grown-up-only fun begins at 9pm at the Tannex (1417 Fourth Street SW). Cost is $5 to $10, sliding scale. “I think, between myself and Poncili, this will be a very unique performance for Albuquerque,” says Annabi. “Hopefully we can inspire more experimentation on the fringes of the usual.”

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“Sacred Candy” and Josefus

Tuesday, Sept. 17, 9 to 11pm
The Tannex

1417 Fourth Street SW
Tickets: $5 to $10
thetannex.com
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