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BLACK BOX THEATRE

Block Box Theatre opens 2020 with ‘The Killing Game’

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Black Box Theatre (BBT), 420 N. Main St. downtown, continues its 20th season with a production of Eugene Ionesco’s “The Killing Game.”

Ionesco (1912-93), who was nominated for the Nobel Prize in literature in 1964, wrote the play in 1970, which features “an unnamed city in an unnamed country beset by an unnamed plague,” said Marissa Bond, who is directing the production. “Quarantined from the rest of the world and hemmed in by unknowns, how does the population of the city deal with the horror? Not well. Ionesco’s absurdist play uses gleefully dark humor and an unrelenting examination of human nature combine to keep us unbalanced and uncertain, but laughing through it all.”

“I have always loved the Theatre of the Absurd, but it wasn't originally my plan to do Ionesco,” Bond said. “I had been looking for a fun murder mystery when I came across ‘The Killing Game,’ which is absolutely not a murder mystery, but I was thrilled by the opportunities it brought to challenge collaborators on every level of the production: designers, crew, actors, director, and, of course, the audience.”

The cast includes Teddy Aspen-Sanchez, Karen Buerdsell, Vanessa Dabovich, Gina DeMondo, Avra Elliot, Cassandra Galban, Erica Krauel, Taylor Landfair, Ed Montes, Joseluis Solorzano, Nancy Sorrells, Josh Taulbee and Robert Young.

The play has no main characters, as 13 actors play 100 characters, Bond said. “It is one of the many ways that Ionesco challenges our expectations in this work. Each scene contains new people (with one very short exception), and it is the work of the actors to create new characterizations and to find ways to invest the audience in embracing the ephemeral.”

Bond said the biggest challenge the play has faced in rehearsal “has been our own case of dramatic irony -- in a play about the plague, most of the cast got sick in the first week, delaying the start of our rehearsals.”

The show will include the work of many talented designers and technicians, Bond said, including: Peter Herman, lighting designer; Bekah Taulbee running lights and sound; Josh Taulbee, set design; Robert Young, costumes design and assistant director; and Erica Krauel, creating props.

“I want the audience members to walk away with an awareness of their role as collaborators in the act of theater and in the creation of meaning,” Bond said. “Though the play interrogates the way we struggle against the inevitability of death, Ionesco tempers the brittle edge of satire with moments of softness and vulnerability which validate the reasons why we struggle. I hope the audience leaves with thoughts and questions, to be sure, but also joy and delight in the experience.

Bond first appeared in Las Cruces theater in the cast of “Avanti, or a Touch of Spring,” at Las Cruces Community Theatre. At Black Box Theatre, she has appeared in ‘Nora,’ ‘Mad Gravity,’ ‘The Explorer's Club’ and ‘Agamemnon.’ She was directed twice by the late Mark Medoff, including playing General George Armstrong Custer in LCCT’s production of the one-woman show “I, Custer.” 

Performances of “The Killing Game” are at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, Jan. 24-25, Jan. 31-Feb. 1 and Feb. 7-8; 2:30 p.m. Sundays, Feb. 2 and 9; and 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 6.

Tickets are $15 regular admission, $12 for students and seniors over age 65 and $10 for all seats for the Thursday night, Feb. 6 performance.

For more information and tickets, call 575-523-1223 and visit http://no-strings.org/.

Mike Cook can be reached at mike@lascrucesbulletin.com.

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