“When launching your marshmallow six-shooters, please aim below the neck.” This basic instruction for audience participation in the latest Victorian-styled melodrama by SouthWest Rural Theatre Project harks back to a sepia-toned era of stage when fluffy dime-novel plots riled up patrons to the point of demolishing the fabled fourth wall—that imaginary barrier between performer and spectator—with a barrage of rotten tomatoes, both proverbial and real. This interactive format is precisely the type of entertainment the nonprofit touring company hopes to recreate at The Cell Theatre (700 First Street NW) with I Do, I Do, Too-Doo, or The Heart House Home for Gals, running Thursday, March 19, through Sunday, March 22.
In this simple story, two heroes contend with villainess Ebony Tresses, who threatens to derail a dance revue at a girls’ home that’s being mounted to attract eligible bachelors. Keyboardist Phyllis Sanchez elevates the hour-long play with her whimsical musicality, but the players’ dance numbers don’t entirely make up for their lack of vocal projection, some questionable humor and a poorly wrangled pooch, so keep that six-shooter handy. In fact, entry includes projectiles to hurl at performers along with boos, hisses and cheers, all of which will go a long way to encourage this company endeavoring to involve the community and rural areas in a historic, lively form of theater. Performances are Thursday through Saturday at 8pm, a Saturday matinee at 2pm, and Sunday at 6pm, and tickets are $8 to $20 at liveatthecell.com (776-9412).
Paris’ Latin Quarter circa 1830 had everything a contemporary urbanite could possibly dream of—polygamist writers, philosophers and musicians fraternizing over cheap wine, cigars and heavy drama in adorably cramped, drafty inner-city flats, all within steps of the city’s hippest cafes and street vendors. Snapshots of Parisian city life in Giacomo Puccini’s La Bohème, which has become one of the most staged operas since its debut performance in 1896, illustrate that little has changed in nearly two centuries of bohemian hedonism.
Emily Dorn sings the role of Mimi
That being the case, present-day theatergoers enjoy an incredible theatrical advancement that their counterparts living before the technology of projection did not: supertitles. Viewers are no longer compelled to follow a multi-act tragedy sung entirely in Italian. Nowadays, they’re immediately drawn into the musical masterpieces of vintage epochs when they see, simultaneously with the first foreign word belted out in all its operatic glory, the English translation on an inconspicuous screen above the stage. No language barrier remains between would-be opera lovers and Opera Southwest’s revival of this traditional staging of a classic tale of love and loss à la vie bohème, conducted by Anthony Barrese and played by a revamped cast of vocal powerhouses. It hits the Albuquerque Journal Theatre stage at the National Hispanic Cultural Center (1701 Fourth Street SW) on Sunday, March 22, and runs through Sunday, March 29. Sunday curtains are at 2pm, and 7:30pm on Wednesday and Friday. Tickets are $12 to $82 at nationalhispaniccenter.org (724-4771) and operasouthwest.org.