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Great theatre at home: Black Box Theatre has new productions streaming


Black Box Theatre’s resident No Strings Theatre Company has kept busy doing creative projects since the Black Box Theatre (BBT) shut down in March because of state public health orders.

The theatre’s production of "Bosoms and Neglect" was presented as a streaming play in September, and past productions of "The Importance of Being Earnest" and "The Rivals" are viewable on the NSTC's YouTube channel.

In addition, Las Cruces actors Scott Brocato, Debbie-Jo Felix, Luz Resendez, Rachel Thomas-Chappell and Joshua Taulbee are in rehearsal for BBT’s upcoming production of Tony-winning playwright Mark Medoff’s play, "The Majestic Kid."

They recently took a break from rehearsals and used Zoom technology to present "Mr. Icky," a short comic play written by novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald in 1922.

BBT also has available online a collection of Shakespeare monologues, directed by Taulbee.

Also online are monologues and short plays written by Colorado playwright Dinah Swan (who is also a talented artist whose work has recently been on display at the Doña Ana Arts Council and the New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum).

Two of Swan’s pieces were directed by Herman and are available on YouTube: Rachel Thomas-Chappell performing "The Make Over," a comic monologue about a worldly wise east Texas makeup artist; and Marissa Bond performing (in her kitchen) "White Trash Etiquette," a true story about Southern cooking, bad husbands and redemption. Swan has performed this monologue at several theatre festivals, and she said it’s one of her favorite pieces.

BBT’s streaming plays can be viewed under the “Now Streaming” tab  at www.no-strings.org.

Swan began writing plays in the mid-1980s because, “as a theatre professor, I had a theatre,” she said.

“I wrote a Durango history play/musical about Durango's first newspaper, ‘The Durango Record,” and its female editor/owner, Carolyn Romney,” Swan said. “Encouraged, I followed up with ‘Butter Beans and Anglers.’”

Swan said she began painting about a decade ago, she said, and began focusing on her art. She is also a successful novelist.

“After retiring from college theatre teaching, I no longer had a theatre and actors at my disposal,” Swan said. “There's a reason Shakespeare, in addition to his genius, did so well: He had a theatre.”

Swan’s novels include “Romantic Fever,” “Hacienda Blues,” “Cana Rising,” “Now Playing in Cana” and “Cana Crossroads.” She has written a novella titled “The Root Cause”; short stories titled “Doing Good,” “Lemuel” and “Anna’s Tree House”; the non-fiction book “Fame Theatre Groups”; and these plays: “Life Support,” “It’s About Time,” “Sumo Below,” “Cellular, “Reenactors,” “Sperm Bank,” “Life Support,” “Car Shows,” “”It’s About Time,” “Aisle 12-B,” “Good Vibrations,” “Evelyn’s Sister,” “Invasion of the Cholesteroids” (three short education-in-the-arts musicals for children), “Christmas Presence,” “Anglers,” “Butter Beans” “Durango, CO!” “For the Record,” “White Trash Etiquette” and “I Can Be Taller.”

She also has written six screenplays: “White Trash Etiquette,” “T. or C.,” “The Scrimshawer,” “The Magic Touch,” “BMX Boys” and “Angela’s Dream.”

Swan has won multiple awards for her plays.