By Mike Cook
The New Mexico State University Theater Department has something for everyone in its 2021-22 season. All shows will be presented at the ASNMSU Center for the Arts, 1000 E. University Ave., on the corner of University and Espina Street on the NMSU campus. Performers will be NMSU theater students and staff, as well as community actors.
Here is the show schedule for fall 2021 and spring 2022:
- “Fefu and his friends”, written by Cuban-American playwright Maria Irene Fornes (1930-2018) and directed by assistant professor of the theater department Nichole Hamilton. The play will begin on Thursday, September 23 and will run until Sunday, October 3.
The play, which is the dramatic equivalent of a collection of poems, tells the story of seven friends who come together at Fefu’s for some kind of reunion, explore their lives – the pain, the tension, the comfort and the fragility of women’s experiences. After the initial scene in the living room, the actors tour the kitchen, bedroom, and garden, with actors performing the same thing four times so the audience can see it from each different perspective.
- “The Thanksgiving Game” will be a staged reading of a play written by California-based Native American playwright and choreographer (Sicangu Lakota) Larissa Fasthorse. It will be led by Theater Department professor Claudia Billings and will be presented on Saturday and Sunday, October 16 and 17. How do you celebrate Thanksgiving and Native American Heritage Month at the same time? This is the question faced by three ‘awake’ white comedians tasked with designing an elementary school show on First Thanksgiving while avoiding any cultural misstep.
- “Syd, the child of the solstice”, is the Southwestern premiere of the Storybook Musical Theater (SMT) for the whole family. The adaptation is by Lani Brokman, with music and lyrics by Susan Bardsley.
On the show, Syd wants answers! Why are the days so short in December? Where is the sun going? Join Syd as he travels the world to find answers.
- “Mojada”, by Luis Alfaro, directed by Associate Professor of the Department of Theater Larissa Lury and performed from Thursday February 17 to Sunday February 27, 2022. From www.dramatists.com: “After a grueling journey across the US-Mexico border, Medea and Jason have traveled safely to the United States, where they can work for a better life for their families. While Jason is convinced the future looks bright, Medea fears a darker fate as they face the challenges of living without papers. The play is a blend of classic Greek tragedy by Euripides with Mexican folklore as it explores the tragedy behind America’s immigration system and the fate of a family caught in its grip.
- Two-step readings will perform on Friday and Saturday March 4 and 5, 2022. The NMSU Theater Department’s High Desert Play Development Workshop, founded in 2005 as a biannual program that solicits new plays from 15 to 20 nationally renowned emerging playwrights, will present new works of two playwrights as part of a week-long developmental reading program in which a director, playwright and actors prepare the script for a staged public reading. The workshop is currently led by Larissa Lury.
- Broadway on stage, the drama department’s annual fundraiser, will be presented by the department and the American Southwest Theater Company, the non-profit organization created by award-winning playwright Mark Medoff to benefit students and staff in the theater department. Broadway Onstage will feature favorites from current and past Broadway shows. It will be played on Friday and Saturday April 29-30.
“Our students and all faculty and staff at NMSU are delighted with the intention to reopen our doors to the public and provide live theater to our community,” said Wil Kilroy, Head of the Department of NMSU theater. “While we have remained active during the Covid restrictions with numerous video presentations, nothing compares to having performers out there ‘live’, with an audience – to hear their laughs, gasps and applause. It’s really an exchange between the performers and the audience and we missed it very much. We hope to celebrate with an opening reception of our first show with all the ticket holders for this evening invited to come and meet the actors and the team.
For more information, including purchasing season tickets, visit theater.nmsu.edu.