Crime & Punishment Preview
L to R: Porfiry (Algernon D'Ammassa) and Raskolnikov (William Zimmerman)
L to R: Porfiry (Algernon D'Ammassa and Raskolnikov (William Zimmerman)
L to R: Raskolnikov (William Zimmerman) and Lizaveta (Cyndi Cross)
L to R: Raskolnikov (William Zimmerman) and Sonya (Natasha Sanchez)
L to R: Porfiry (Algernon D'Ammassa), Raskolnikov (William Zimmerman) and Sonya (Natasha Sanchez)
L to R: Porfiry (Algernon D'Ammassa), Raskolnikov (William Zimmerman) and Sonya (Natasha Sanchez)
L to R: Raskolnikov (William Zimmerman) and Marmeladov (Robert Senecal)
Jan 21-Feb 13, 2011
The story concerns a young and destitute student who plans the perfect crime - the murder of a despicable old pawn broker that no one loves and will not be missed. But just because one can reason that such a crime could benefit humanity, does it still make the act just? In this new adaptation of Dostoyevsky's literary masterpiece "Crime and Punishment," the audience is transported into the mind of a murderer, where he relives the thoughts, ideas, and feelings that drove him to commit such terrible atrocity. Urging him along are his friend Sonia and the detective Porfiry, who along with other characters guide the viewer through a "conversation on the nature of evil." Many times Raskolnikov addresses the audience directly to plead his case, making them another character in the story. Infused with psychological, religious, and social commentary that is as true now as it was in 1860, the audience witnesses not only the darkest corners of the human soul, but the redemption of a man who ultimately cannot escape his own conscience.
"Who would have thought that the novel no high school student has ever finished reading would make such engrossing theater?" "Raskolnikov's journey may be, in essence, a 90-minute exercise in logic, but here it's a remarkably absorbing one." - New York Times
"Stunningly lean, taut and emotionally searing... a work of theatre that never feels like a condensation of a seminal 500-page novel, but rather has the swift, sharp impact of a blow from an ax." - Hedy Weiss, Chicago Sun-Times
'Crime and Punishment' now playing
New adaptation explores killer's mind
- By David Edwards , Las Cruces Bulletin
I was supposed to have read "Crime and Punishment" in Honors English during my senior year of high school. I didn't. Sorry Mrs. Roberge. Come to think of it, I was supposed to have read "The Scarlet Letter" and "Moby Dick" during my sophomore year. Didn't do that either. I have managed to avoid quite an impressive list of classic literature during my academic career. I'm sure I'm not the only one.
So what's a slacker like me supposed to do in order to get the necessary exposure to the classics? How does one go about filling those gaps? There's CliffNotes, I guess, or how about Wikipedia? Or I just might wander down to the No Strings Theatre Company and see its production of "Crime and Punishment," which starts Friday, Jan. 21, at the Black Box Theatre.
Take comfort in the fact that the director and at least two of the actors have actually read the novel, so when it comes to having the proper background to present a Dostoevsky-appropriate interpretation, these guys should be able to pull it off.
You may be at least slightly familiar with the story. But if you aren't, and don't want to know, skip the next two paragraphs.
Raskolnikov, a poor student, decides to murder an unscrupulous old pawnbroker for her money. He reasons that not only will he be ridding the world of an evil person, but he will be able to do good things with her money. He carries out the plan, but unfortunately kills the pawnbroker's innocent sister as well when she blunders onto the scene.
Raskolnikov suffers much mental anguish over his act and begins behaving strangely, which draws the attention of detective Porfiry Petrovich. Petrovich is convinced of Raskolnikov's guilt even though another man has confessed to the crime. Meanwhile, the saintly Sonya becomes Raskolnikov's confessor and spiritual guide, even following him to prison in Siberia.
This stage adaptation is by Marilyn Campbell and Curt Columbus, and it focuses more on the inner workings of Raskolnikov's mind, eliminating a number of characters and subplots. It was something that first-time Black Box director Shaun Hadfield had been searching for.
"It's a story I took interest in since high school," Hadfield said. "You have a man who does such a despicable thing, but ultimately can be sympathized with and is redeemed by the end of the story.
"When people started hinting at me that I should direct something, I really didn't know what I wanted to do, I couldn't really think of anything traditional. It popped into my head that it would be really cool to try and stage 'Crime and Punishment' in a way that people would enjoy."
The enjoyment factor probably included not having the show run for three hours and not be "drudgy," as Hadfield said.
He discovered this 90-minute adaptation about two years ago; he liked it and waited for a time when he not only had the experience, but an opportunity to direct it.
"I had directed at last year's Las Cruces Community Theatre's one-act festival an original script by an NMSU student and did another performance piece with a friend of mine," Hadfield said. "Ceil (Herman, No Strings Theatre Company artistic director) was looking for submissions, and I offered this to her. It is a bit of a daring piece for them (the Black Box Theatre) to take on. A bit of a risk. After she and Peter (Herman) saw the one-acts, we began talking about actually putting it on the schedule."
Hadfield promises the show is going to be "a classic piece of literature, a classic story being told in a way that is new and engaging. It will make you want to read the book to see how the rest of the angles play out."
The play version only tells one part of the story, but those who are familiar with the novel should be very satisfied with the relationships between Raskolnikov and Sonya, as well as with that of the criminal and detective. There are situations and characters that are absent, and while those may be missed by some, "the meat of the story is there," Hadfield said.
"It does cover the themes and theories that are covered in the book such as that of the 'extraordinary man.' Do certain people in society have the right to kill if it is for the betterment of the world?" he said.
Hadfield and his cast face the challenge of keeping an audience not familiar with the novel interested as well as satisfying those who are well-versed in the literature.
"In order to take a story as large as 'Crime and Punishment' and put it on a stage in a way that's interesting, especially for those who haven't read the book before, there are certain
liberties that have to be taken," Hadfield said. "I believe we have tried to approach the material in a way that stays in the spirit of Dosteovksy's work."
New Mexico State University theater student William Zimmerman plays Raskolnikov. Deming High School theater teacher Algernon D'ammassa portrays the detective Porfiry Petrovich. Natasha Sanchez is Sonya while Cyndi Cross plays the pawnbroker Alyona and her sister Lizaveta. Robert Senecal plays Sonya's drunken father Marmeladov and various other characters.
Performances are at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays Jan. 21, 22, 28, 29 and Feb. 4 and 5. Sunday matinees are at 2:30 p.m. Jan. 30 and Feb. 6. A Thursday performance is at 7 p.m. Feb. 3. Tickets are $10 regular admission, $9 students and seniors 65 and over, and all seats on Thursday are $7. For reservations or more information, call 523-1223.
'Crime and Punishment' keeps it simple
Shortened version provides much entertainment
This is a journey on which you should go. It is well worth the thought-provoking ride.
- By Gerald M. Kane, Las Cruces Bulletin
It was a relatively slow ride down the Volga, so to speak, at the Black Box Theatre last weekend at the opening performance of Marilyn Campbell and Curt Columbus' 90-minute adaptation of Fyodor Dostoyevsky's novel, "Crime and Punishment."
Slow boat rides can make you seasick, but as in this case, they can also give you much to contemplate as you sail through frequently stormy waters.
"Crime and Punishment" in 90 minutes - yes, you read correctly.
The adapters of this play chopped down the several- hundred-page iconic Russian novel to an hour and a half. I would doubt that even Evelyn Wood of speed reading fame could have read "Crime and Punishment" in that length of time.
Overall, the editing of this text is not a bad thing. None of the key themes elucidated and repeated over and over in the novel are forgotten. In some ways, this gives the story a sharper focus and clarity, which is blurred in the novel.
Many superfluous characters and plot turns are eliminated. The approach of the adapters is to present the play as a sort of stream of consciousness recollection of the central character in the novel.
The key premise is that certain "extraordinary" human beings are justified in performing acts - which they deem evil - for the betterment of society as a whole. The point of the novel, and the play, is that this is not necessarily the case.
For the most part, the performances by the cast are well defined, but two performers deserve special praise.
Most especially to be commended are William Zimmerman in the leading role of the doting, troubled Raskolnikov, along with his antagonist - the voice of "justice," the interrogator Porfiry, played with precision by Algernon D'Ammassa. I hope to see more of these talented performers in future productions.
Unfortunately, Natasha Rae Sanchez as the "heroine" Sonia did not project her voice sufficiently in the beginning of the play and we could barely hear the important lines she had to speak. To her credit, as the production progressed, her projection improved.
The scenic and lighting design by Peter Herman was appropriately stark. The direction of Shaun Hadfield in his Black Box directorial debut was crisp and clever.
In sum, the Volga Boatman delivered us safely ashore after our often dark and somber journey through Dostoyevsky-land.
He left us with much to contemplate and apply to the current world situation in which both "crime" and "punishment" are words that pepper our daily press and dinner table conversation. This is a journey on which you should go. It is well worth the thoughtprovoking ride. "Crime and Punishment" runs through Sunday, Feb. 6, at the Black Box Theatre, 430 N. Main St. Performances are at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 2:30 p.m. Sundays, Jan. 30, and Feb. 6, and a Thursday performance at 7 p.m.
Feb. 3. Tickets are $10 regular and $9 students and seniors over 65. All seats on Thursdays are $7.
For reservations, call 523-1223 or visit www.no-strings.org.
No seating plan has been posted.