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

Prelude to a Kiss

by Craig Lucas, directed by Rachel Space

  • (L to R) Patrick Payne (Peter) and Maria-Luisa Winslow (Rita)
  • (L to R) Patrick Payne (Peter) and Maria-Luisa Winslow (Rita)
  • (L to R) Dave Edwards (the Old Man), Mike Cook (Dr. Boyle), Zack Bannister (Minister), Eric Young (Taylor), Patrick Payne (Peter), Maria-Luisa Winslow (Rita), Connie Welch (Aunt Dorothy), Joe Pfeiffer (Uncle Fred)
  • (L to R) Patrick Payne (Peter) and Dave Edwards (the Old Man)

Jan 16-Jan 25, 2004

FRI JAN 16,23 | 8:00 PM
SAT JAN 17,24 | 8:00 PM
SUN JAN 18,25 | 2:30 PM
THUR JAN 15 | 7:00 PM





Prelude to a Hit
- By Maggie Adkins, NMSU Round Up

No Strings Theatre Company's newest production "Prelude to a Kiss," is the sort of rare play that can appeal to any audience.

Part comedy, part drama, this romantic, yet somewhat cynical play by Craig Lucas, can be enjoyed as a two-hour break from reality, or it can be picked apart and thought about for days afterward.

"Prelude" begins as the typical girl-meets-boy story. Rita (Maria-Luisa Winslow) and Peter (Patrick Payne) meet and quickly fall in love. Winslow and Payne are perfectly awkward together in the first half-hour of the play, getting to know each other, easily overlooking some very important differences and focusing on what they have in common. Rita giggles her way through their relationship, charming both Peter and the audience.

The two decide to get married, but at the wedding all the trappings of a normal love story fall away. Rita kisses a very old man (David Edwards), who wasn't on the guest list. Their honeymoon in Jamaica is a bust, and Peter realizes that Rita isn't who he thought she was.
Peter's struggle to keep the marriage together and find the love that they once shared raises interesting questions about romantic love and the nature of sexual attraction while keeping the audience on the edge of their seats, eager to know what will happen to the couple.

Payne and Winslow share a very sweet chemistry and the closeness of the Black Box Theater lends a very intimate feel to the play. David Edwards plays his unusual role of the Old Man perfectly, giving a gentle realness to what could be easily overplayed for laughs.

Dr. Boyle (Mike Cook) and Mrs. Boyle (Cindy Murrell), Rita's parents, lighten the mood of the play with their old married-couple squabbles. The scene where Peter meets Rita's parents is one of the funniest of the play. Peter's friend Taylor (Eric Young) is another reason to see "Prelude." His Jason Lee vibe is a perfect match to Payne's more serious demeanor.

Director Rachel Space, and the work of a great production team, including properties designer Barbara Alford, stage manager Charlie Davis, assistant stage manager Scott Lunsford and producer Ceil Herman, made it possible for such a small theater to put on a play with so many scene changes.

Movement from a bar to Rita's house, to Rita's parents house, to Jamaica were done quickly, and a soundtrack of romantic songs gave the play a seamless feel and kept the audience engaged during set changes that could have broken the overall mood.

Light designer Peter Herman recreated the New York skyline and a Jamaican night for the more romantic scenes of the play using subtle light backdrops that added to the scenes without being overbearing.

"Prelude To a Kiss" is a great play for couples, friends and families. It's the perfect play for a Saturday night, and may be enjoyable for those people who don't normally enjoy plays. A definite must-see.


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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