@ The Black Box Theatre, 430 N. Main St.
 

The Same Life Over

Written and Directed by Mark Medoff

  • L to R: Jennifer Perry (Veronica Hamblin), Marcele Bowman (Analise Franco), Ben Adams (Lee Cook), and Austin Tremblay (Daniel Hamblin)
  • Left, L to R: Ben Adams (Lee Cook), Austin Tremblay (Daniel Hamblin), and Marcele Bowman (Analise Franco)
  • Right, L to R: Austin Tremblay (Daniel Hamblin), and Marcele Bowman (Analise Franco)
  • Left, L to R: Dave Edwards (Paul Gregory), and Marcele Bowman (Analise Franco)
  • Right, L to R: Marcele Bowman (Analise Franco) and Dave Edwards (Paul Gregory)
  • L to R: Austin Tremblay (Daniel Hamblin), and Marcele Bowman (Analise Franco)
  • Left, L to R: Ben Adams (Lee Cook) and Marcele Bowman (Analise Franco)
  • Right, L to R: Marcele Bowman (Analise Franco) and Jennifer Perry (Veronica Hamblin)
  • L to R: Marcele Bowman (Analise Franco), Dave Edwards (Paul Gregory) and Jennifer Perry (Veronica Hamblin)
  • L to R: Austin Tremblay (Daniel Hamblin), Ben Adams (Lee Cook) and Marcele Bowman (Analise Franco)

Sep 25-Oct 18, 2009

FRI SEP 25, OCT 2,16* | 8:00 PM
SAT SEP 26, OCT 3,17* | 8:00 PM
SUN OCT 4, 11, 18*| 2:30 PM
THUR OCT 8 | 7:00 PM
* RUN EXTENDED

Description

No Strings Theatre Company presents "The Same Life Over" written and directed by Mark Medoff. The play opens Friday, September 25 and runs through Sunday, October 11 at the Black Box Theatre, 430 N Downtown Mall in Las Cruces. A child disappears and the detective investigating the disappearance, childless herself, assumes the father of the child is guilty. The father, bereft at having looked away from his child for a moment, is at first willing to take the blame for the loss of his child, guilty or not. But then, forming a strange duo with the detective, other possibilities drive father and detective into ever more dangerous personal waters, where both chance drowning. From this simple plot, "The Same Life Over" spins a complex web of deceit and compassion.

Analise (Marcelle Bowman)The play started from an article Medoff read in a newspaper or on line about a similar incident -- father loses child in wilderness and he started writing something immediately. Normally, he contemplate ideas for 2-3 years in his unconscious before he start writing. He has done the play once before, in 2003, at The Electric Theater Company in Scranton, PA. Medoff says "In the interim I've thought about the play occasionally, knowing I would want to take another whack at it. I'm attracted to the spareness of the design of the play and interested in the challenge of taking a character who is complicated and not always likable to be the audience's guide through the play. I've done another play where I have all the actors seated on stage, "witnessing" the events of the play, but like in this production, the use of the actors who aren't in scenes serve as echoes of their characters from past scenes and from the backstories of the characters, stories we learn as the play proceeds."

Medoff is a playwright, screenwriter, and director. He received a Tony Award for "Children of a Lesser God" as well as London's Olivier Award for Best Play. He was nominated for an Academy Award and a Writers Guild of America Best Adapted Screenplay Award for the film script of "Children" and for a Cable ACE Award for his HBO Premiere movie, "Apology." He received an OBIE Award for "When You Coming Back Red Ryder.". Among his movies are "Clara's Heart", "Off Beat", and "City of Joy." He has written one novel, "Dreams of Long Lasting" In 2000, Medoff directed and co-produced the documentary film, "Who Fly on Angels Wings" about a mobile pediatric unit traveling through the underserved areas of southern New Mexico. In 2001, Mark directed the feature film, "Children on Their Birthdays," based on the story by Truman Capote. Among other awards, it received the Houston World Film Festival Award for Best Family Film. His latest play, "Prymate," ran briefly on Broadway in 2005. In 2006 he directed the short film "100 MPG," which was invited to a number of film festivals. In 2007, he directed BOOM, a training film for the military. Most recently, directed the new musical "Extinction: A Love Story" by Bob Diven, and "The Men of Mah Jongg" a new play by Richard Atkins, that ran at New York Citys Queens Theater in the Park in December 2008. This summer, he directed the feature film "Refuge."

He was Reynolds Eminent Scholar in the School of Theatre at Florida State University 2003-2006. He is now Distinguished Lecturer in Playwriting at the University of Houston and Artistic Director of the Creative Media Institute for Film & Digital Arts at New Mexico State University. He formerly taught at NMSU for 27 years and was Co-Founder and Artistic Director of the American Southwest Theatre Company and Head of the Department of Theatre Arts for 9 years. In 1974, he received NMSUs highest faculty honor, the Westafer Award. In 1980, he was honored with the Governors Award for Excellence in the Arts, New Mexico's most prestigious artistic honor. In 2005, he received The Kennedy Center Medallion for Excellence in Education and Artistic Achievement.

"The Same Life Over" cast includes Ben Adams, Marcelle Bowman, David Edwards, Jen Perry, and Austin Tremblay. The production features spectacular photo image backdrops which are the work of local and well-known photographer. Mike Groves. Lighting design is by NSTC's Resident Designer, Peter Herman and Costume Design is by Cortney Newtson. Rachel Howell is the Stage Manager.

Credits

Analise Franco
Daniel Hamblin
Lee Cook
Paul Gregory
Veronica Hamblin
Costume Design
House Manager Coordinator
Light And Sound Board Operator
Lighting Design
Police Consultant
Police Consultant
Producer
Projection Design & Photography
Properties Artisan
Scenic Artist
Stage Manager

Reviews

'The Same Life Over' explores grief
Medoff creates genuine tension and intrigue

- By Jonathan Butz, Las Cruces Bulletin

We all have read the horror stories in the news about children who mysteriously disappear and the parents who are left behind to deal with the grief. Inspired by the tragic but all too familiar headlines, writer-director Mark Medoff creates a chilling picture of such an incident in his latest play, "The Same Life Over."

The No String's Theatre Company and the Black Box Theatre, 430 N. Downtown Mall, present Medoff's most recent venture that is part drama, part character study and part police procedural, all mixed in with a hanging cloud of tragedy and despair.

We meet Daniel Hamblin (Austin Tremblay), a single father and environmental activist with a mysterious past in the military, who has just lost his young daughter while day tripping in the wilderness.

Questions emerge as the child's disappearance remains unclear, leading to a number of possible suspects including Daniel himself.

The tale unfolds through the eyes of Analise Franco (Marcelle Bowman), a hard-nosed detective who struggles with her own past and insecurities while searching for leads on the missing child. As she interviews witnesses and possible suspects, the case becomes increasingly blurred. Her investigation serves as an introduction to the play's key characters, including the mother of the missing child and Daniel's ex-wife, Veronica Hamblin (Jennifer Ann Perry).

We also meet Paul Gregory (David Edwards), a rich farm owner of old-money sentiment and questionable business practices. We discover that Daniel and Gregory have been longtime enemies over environmental disputes, including accusations that Gregory has been knowingly distributing contaminated grain. This connection is one of many in the play that adds to the numerous possibilities of the child's disappearance.

Set somewhere in New Mexico, the play implies an alternate universe very similar to that of the valley. Although the script never directly establishes a connection to Las Cruces, Medoff seems to capture the local culture well and uses the parallel to discuss issues and politics relevant to present-day Las Crucens. Additionally, the minimal set incorporates photographer Mike Grove's photos as a backdrop, in which we find many familiar shots of places in Las Cruces.

Medoff's writing is incredibly tight and not a single word in the script goes to waste as the plot maintains a perfect balance of ambiguity and intrigue, keeping the audience guessing the entire way.

It is evident Medoff has his character development down solid. Every scene and line of dialogue feels authentic and each character's well-developed back-story adds to the production's overall merit. Although the missing child is the plot's main focus, it seems "The Same Life Over" is really about flawed characters and how they deal with tragic situations. Medoff successfully replicates the gray uncertainty of life as his characters bend and blur the lines of morality, relationships and ethics.

It may seem obvious, but you can't have a good character study without good actors. Much of the cast has collaborated with Medoff before, including Bowman, who brings an incredible mix of strength and vulnerability to her character. Bowman handles the daunting role - which comprises much of the dialogue in the script - with ease, which is surprising considering the play is 95 minutes long with no intermission.

Additionally, Perry is an amazing force at work on stage - she seemed incredibly comfortable and commanded her role with flawless confidence.

Tremblay and Edwards also add layers of complexity to their characters, completing the play's overall package of sheer power.

The lean plotting and emotional exploration in "The Same Life Over" will remain with the audience long after its end and fans of drama and neo-noir films such as Roman Polanski's "Chinatown," will enjoy Medoff's careful, yet subtle attention to detail.

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