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

Mad Gravity

By William Missouri Downs, directed by Ceil Herman

  • L to R: Archie (Donny Prosise), Dakota (Emily Parr), Eudora (Britney Stout), Mary (Marissa Bond) and Dr. Joe (Rafael Medina)
  • L to R: Dr. Joe (Rafael Medina), Mary (Marissa Bond), Eudora (Britney Stout), and Archie (Donny Prosise)
  • L to R: Dr. Joe (Rafael Medina), Mary (Marissa Bond), and Eudora (Britney Stout)
  • L to R: Archie (Donny Prosise) and Eudora (Britney Stout)
  • L to R: Dr. Joe (Rafael Medina), Eudora (Britney Stout), Archie (Donny Prosise), and Mary (Marissa Bond)
  • L to R: Dakota (Emily Parr), Mary (Marissa Bond) and Dr. Joe (Rafael Medina)
  • L to R: Archie (Donny Prosise), Dr. Joe (Rafael Medina), and Eudora (Britney Stout)
  • L to R: Dr. Joe (Rafael Medina), Mary (Marissa Bond), Archie (Donny Prosise), and Eudora (Britney Stout)
  • L to R: Dr. Joe (Rafael Medina), Mary (Marissa Bond), Eudora (Britney Stout), and Archie (Donny Prosise)
  • L to R: Dakota (Emily Parr), Archie (Donny Prosise), Dr. Joe (Rafael Medina), Eudora (Britney Stout), and Mary (Marissa Bond)
  • L to R: Mary (Marissa Bond) and Eudora (Britney Stout)
  • L to R: Eudora (Britney Stout), Mary (Marissa Bond), and Archie (Donny Prosise)
  • L to R: Dr. Joe (Rafael Medina) and Eudora (Britney Stout)
  • L to R: Dakota (Emily Parr), Archie (Donny Prosise), Mary (Marissa Bond), and Eudora (Britney Stout)
  • L to R: Archie (Donny Prosise) and Eudora (Britney Stout)
  • L to R: Britney Stout), Marissa Bond, Emily Parr and Donny Prosise
  • L to R: Donny Prosise, Emily Parr, Marissa Bond, Britney Stout and Rafael Medina

May 01-May 21, 2015

FRI MAY 1,8,15 | 8:00 PM
SAT MAY 2,9,16 | 8:00 PM
SUN MAY 10,17 | 2:30 PM
THRS MAY 14 | 7:00 PM


No Strings Theatre Company presents the Southwest Premiere of "Mad Gravity" a kooky new comedy by William Missouri Downs, the author of "Cockeyed," previously produced by No Strings Theatre Company. The plot centers around two Dada performance artists who have built a theatre in their living room and who are hosting a dinner party. Things go quickly awry when they discover an asteroid is headed their way which threatens to demolish the earth. They and the audience are forced to answer existential questions: Can humans be good if no one is watching? What is the meaning of life? What is performance art?

Director's Note

Peter and I were very fortunate to see Cockeyed by William Missouri Downs, mounted by the HotCity Players in St Louis, shortly after it won their 2008 Greenhouse new play competition. We were quite taken with the humor, the intelligence of the script and the seeming ease of producing it at the Black Box Theatre which we did in our NSTC 2010-2011 season. Because we were on Bill's radar screen, he sent us the script for Mad Gravity which had just won the Reva Shiner Comedy Award. We were thrilled to have the rights to produce this very funny play.

The playwright, William Missouri Downs, in addition to Cockeyed and Mad Gravity, has written over 20 plays as well as a textbook, The Art Of Theatre used in more than 100 universities including NMSU. Mad Gravity, like Cockeyed, questions the meaning of existence and has a very funny take on what is performance art.

I thank my amazingly creative actors and great production team for allowing me the pleasure and challenge of directing this wonderful play and Meredith Loring and Margaret Bernstein for the exhibit in thetheatregallery and on the set of Mad Gravity. Enjoy!


Dr. Joe
Backstage Crew
Costume Designer
Fight Choreographer
Light And Sound Board Operator
Scenic Designer
Stage Manager
Written By


'Mad Gravity' a unique comedy bursting with extremes
- By Mike Cook, Las Cruces Bulletin

"I will be novel. I shall be unique," performance artist Archie Gyges (Donny Prosise) tells his wife, Eudora Gyges (Britney Stout), a death counselor. Later, she tells him life should be "bursting with extremes."

These are words to live by when you see "Mad Gravity" at Black Box Theatre on Main Street Downtown. And see it you should -- it will give you an evening's entertainment unlike any other you are likely to find. The play was written by William Missouri Downs and won the 2008 Greenhouse new play competition. The Las Cruces production is the first time the play has been performed in the Southwest.

The Gyges' daughter, Dakota (Emily Parr), is dating Tommy Celeste (Tommy Medina), who is the son of Dr. Joe Celeste (Rafael Medina) and Mary Celeste (Marissa Bond).

Joe, a dentist, and Mary, a stay-at-home mom, come to dinner at the Gyges' home, only to discover that there is a live audience watching and listening to everything they say and do. (Two hints if you want to have a shot at being even more involved in the show as an audience member: Find out the difference between a comet and an asteroid and have your cell phone close at hand.) As the couples debate their children's future, they learn that a comet (or is it an asteroid?) may strike the earth in the next few minutes. They laugh, they cry, they engage in physical confrontation, do a bit of Shakespeare, act out the bubonic plague with black balloons, dance and perform a live musical number. It is novel, it is unique and it is bursting with extremes.

Prosise and Stout played husband and wife when the Black Box presented "Cockeyed," also written by Downs, in 2010. Their on-stage chemistry is obvious and both excel in their roles.

Bond and Medina (who are husband and wife in real life) were just seen in the world premiere of "Recreational Living" at the Las Cruces Community Theatre, when they also played a married couple. Their chemistry and talent (both theatrical and musical) are also strongly in evidence throughout "Mad Gravity." And, there is a connection among the four actors that director Ceil Herman clearly recognized and used to hilarious result.

Emily Parr, an eighth grader at Camino Real Middle School, holds her in a small part that will no doubt lead to many other roles. Tommy Medina excels on the drums in the play's second act.

"Mad Gravity" includes the contributions of New Mexico State University Dance Department Director and professor Debra Knapp, dance choreographer; actor/director Algernon D'Ammassa, fight choreographer; Jeanne Luper, costumer designer; Karen Ross, stage manager; Becky Riley, light and soundboard operator (she also speaks a line from the booth); and Carmen Call as backstage crew. Actor Rafael Medina is the sound designer.


No seating plan has been posted.


Our next production is Animal Tales The normal ticketing system will be used but you may only select the number of seats you require and we will assign seats to comply with NM Covid requirements. You may request row 1, 2, 3, or 4 and we will do our best to honor your request. Please see the event pages for details.

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