Sep 29-Oct 23, 2005
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Find a marvelous mystery 'Underneath the Lintel'
- By Patricia L. Garcia, Las Cruces Sun News [9/28/05]
There's a mystery unfolding at the Black Box Theatre. It's a funny mystery, but a mystery nonetheless. It all starts in a library in Holland when a staunch librarian (Joe Denk) comes across an overdue book. The book's not just a few days overdue. Or even a few months. Try 113 years late!
This blows the Librarian away and leaves him wondering who was the mysterious character who checked out the book more than a century ago.
Perhaps obsessed is a better word for it. After looking through library files, the closest the Librarian comes to an identity is simply: A.
The Librarian, determined to send the culprit an overdue fine, embarks on a worldly adventure, collecting clues and specimens about the person who checked out the book. Sure, the Librarian talks a bit about his life in the library, but the play focuses more on his adventures to France, the United States and China.
The Librarian - both awkward and pensive - is a bit facetious, bringing humor to his audience as he recalls his misadventures. He even schemes to get time off of work to start his journey by feigning sickness. He's got a week's worth of sick-leave, he explains. But a month and half later, he's in pretty hot water.
Through the heartache and humor that the Librarian faces, we begin to hope that he does find out who left their mark 113 years ago. But we find that "Underneath The Lintel," is more about the mysterious person who checked out the book than it is about the Librarian.
The "Lintel" looks at something that many a person has pondered throughout time: How can I be remembered through time? How can I make a mark that will last through the many years that will span mankind? How can little old me become significant in the history of man?
Suddenly, the "I was here" marks scrawled on bathroom stalls seem more than insignificant graffiti.
The short production is a great piece for Denk, who's had more than 50 or so performances in the Las Cruces theater scene. Denk is a natural, from his accent to his every movement.
With "Lintel," Denk shows off his abilities and teaches a thing or two about how a one-man show should be executed.
"Lintel" a one-man tale of mystery and adventure
- by Claire D'Mura, The Roundup [9/29/05]
he No Strings Theatre Company is presenting "Underneath the Lintel" beginning Friday at the Black Box Theatre.
"Underneath the Lintel," written by Glen Berger, is a one-man show that explores the adventure of a man who is only identified as "the librarian, played by Joe Denk.
The librarian lives a dull but contented existence checking in books day in and day out at a Dutch library. His life takes an adventurous turn when he finds a book that has been returned 113 years overdue
He is determined to discover who has checked out the book, but finds the name of the patron who checked it out is simply "A."
The play opens on a stage lightly decorated with books, a doorway and a large, brown suitcase. Denk begins by addressing the audience, who has presumably come to see his presentation of "An Impressive Presentation of Lovely Evidences."
What begins as a quest to impose the biggest fine of his career quickly becomes a mystery much greater than anything the librarian has encountered in his life.
- The tale that unwinds is the story of the librarian's travels around the world in search of the offending library patron. He presents his tale with anecdotes of his travels and numbered pieces of evidence to back up his assertions of what he thinks he has discovered.
It is a mystery that has taken the librarian around the world to places such as England, Germany, China, America and Australia.
Denk portrays the kindly librarian with charm and grace. He endears the audience to go along with his story and hear him out to the end. Denk carries the entire play for nearly an hour and a half by himself
The humor of the play is matter-of-fact and honest, and Denk delivers his performance successfully. It is almost as if the character is unaware he has said something humorous at all.
The play almost drags the mystery out too long, leaving the audience to become impatient and wonder where the story is going. However, the pace picks up again as Denk begins to tell the tale of his missing traveler with a folktale characteristic.
The play is enjoyable, yet offers much to think about. In the course of his explanation, the librarian brings up questions about topics ranging from the existence of God, to the value of a life and the occurrence of miracles.
While the subject matter can be very heavy at times, it iloes not make one feel beaten over the head with a stick of morality. Denk softens the tone with his endearing expressions, and the mood never stays too deep for too long.
Also opening Friday at the Black Box Theatre is a photographic exhibit, "Individual Expressions." The exhibit features work by New Mexico State University students of the Photographic Society 505. The exhibit will showcase work by Jennifer Clingenpeel, Matthew Montoya, Theresa Montoya, Alia Pinedo and Eugene Smith.
There will be a reception Saturday at 9:30 p.m., following the performance of "Underneath the Lintel." The exhibit will be open one hour before performances, or by appointment.
Leaving your mark
'Underneath the Lintel' focuses on a journey of discovery
- By Joel Courtney, Las Cruces Bulletin
Would you recognize a miracle if it happened right in front of you? The Librarian (Joe Denk) thinks he has found something extraordinary and would like you to take part in "An Impressive Presentation of Lovely Evidences" to the fact.
"Underneath the Lintel", written by Glen Berger and presented by the No Strings Theatre Company, will be showing at the Black Box Theatre through Oct. 23. This one-man show can only be described as a comedic mystery on being human.
The story begins in 1986 when a 113 year overdue travel guide is returned to a Dutch library by a man known only as "A." The Librarian's quest to find this mysterious man turns to obsession as he travels from country to country following A's trail.
"I didn't know what was happening to me," the Librarian says. "I had heard that travel broadened the mind, but at this rate I would need a sombrero soon."
Throughout the presentation, the Librarian pauses to muse about past love and the triviality of human life, never tarrying on one subject for too long. Over an hour into his tale, you begin to feel that his search has become more about finding a way to leave his mark in the world than finding the man responsible for a long overdue book.
The presentation is brought to life with slides of the Librarian's travels accompanied by lighting and music to help submerse us in his travels.
Joe Denk is superb as the obsessive Librarian, from his frantic pacing across the stage to his fidgeting with the date stamp he wears around his neck as his story moves through time. Denk has appeared in more than 50 plays in Las Cruces and currently is teaching the New Testament as Literature in the Honors program at New Mexico State University
This was my first experience with a one-man show and it exceeded all of my expectations. I would encourage anyone who hasn't seen one to enjoy "Underneath the Lintel and see what you've been missing.
No seating plan has been posted.