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

The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane

By Laird Koening, directed by Ceil Herman

  • L to R: Kelcee Covert (Rynn) and Shaun Hadfield (Frank)
  • L to R: Kelcee Covert (Rynn) and Travis Relyea (Mario)
  • L to R: Kelcee Covert (Rynn) and P.J. Waggaman (Officer Miglioriti)
  • L to R: Kathi-Jane (Cora Hallet) and Kelcee Covert (Rynn)

Nov 03-Nov 19, 2006

FRI NOV 3,10,17 | 8:00 PM
SAT NOV 4,11,18 | 8:00 PM
SUN FEB NOV 12,19 | 2:30 PM
THUR NOV 16 | 7:00 PM


An exciting mystery/thriller


Cora Hallet
Frank Hallet
Mario Podesta
Officer Ron Miglioriti
Rynn Jacobs
Assistant Director
Costume Design
House Manager Coordinator
Light Board Operator/Stage Crew
Set And Lighting Design
Set Construction Crew
Set Construction Crew
Set Construction Crew
Set Construction Crew
Set Construction Crew
Sound Board Operator
Sound Design
Stage Manager
Written By


'Little girl' lives down at Black Box
- By Melissa Nicholson, NMSU Roundup [November 13, 2006]

f you are looking for something to do with friends before heading home for Thanksgiving break and you are a fan of live theatre, head over to the Black Box Theatre this week for some thrilling entertainment.

Complete with a villain, mystery, suspense, humor and romance, the production, "The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane," is a spine chiller and nail biter.

Written by Laird Koenig in 1976, the story of a little girl who supposedly lives with her father in a secluded farmhouse, takes a dramatic turn, revealing this little girl's dangerous intelligence in a hidden dark secret.

The production, directed by Ceil Herman and presented by No Strings Theater Company, opens with a scene of 13-year-old Rynn Jacobs (Kelcee Covert) celebrating her birthday alone.

All is innocent enough until the "bad guy," Frank Hallet (Shaun Hadfield), crashes the party. What makes Hallet so bad is, as Rynn puts it, he "is the kind of man that likes to give candy to little girls," not to mention, he kills pet rats and makes little girls cry.

The plot unfolds with the murder of Rynn's snoopy landlady, Cora Hallet (Kathi-Jane), making the audience think twice about who the real villain of the story is.

Amidst all the mystery, suspense and murder, romance softens the drama with the "magic" between Rynn and Mario Podesta (Travis Relyea), a 16-year-old magician and cripple. P.J. Waggaman makes this production complete in his portrayal of the clueless and manipulated character of Police Officer Ron Miglioriti, who suspects something is amiss, but can never quite figure it out.

Throughout the play, the audience is immersed in a confusing whirlwind of doubt, horror and sympathy for the seemingly innocent Rynn.

One minute offering tea to guests, while enjoying "Chopin Piano Concerto #1," and the next, plotting the clever removal of those who would dare to crash her secret world, Covert delivers an intriguing performance as Rynn. Covert's acting is cool and confident, triggering laughter and gasps of horror from the audience.

Hadfield also gives a memorable performance as the villain, making the audience despise the perverse, yet intelligent character of Frank Hallet.

Not forgetting the snoopy and frumpy landlady, Kathi-Jane, who delivers her performance as Cora Hallet very convincingly.

In Relyea's performance as the crippled magician, the audience can't help but "fall in love" with this understanding and sympathetic character.

Officer Miglioriti becomes a popular character in the natural and calm acting of Waggaman.

As a whole, the production is entertaining and worth a view with its talented cast and experienced directing by Herman.

Intrigue and love meet up at the Black Box
'Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane' inspires and horrifies

- By Joel Courtney, Las Cruces Bulletin [November 10, 2006]

"The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane" directed by Ceil Herman, the latest production from No Strings Theatre Company, is a retelling of the book written by Laird Koenig. Although most people would know it best for the movie by the same name that starred Jodie Foster.

Luckily, I managed to avoid seeing the movie before attending the performance, which helps keep me focused on the merits of the play on its own, instead of comparing it to the film constantly.

The story is an odd twist on the classic young lovers tale. Without giving too much away, Rynn Jacobs (Kelcee Covert) is thrown together by fate with young magician Mario Podesta (Travis Relyea) in a struggle for survival. The two grow close even though they are seemingly from two different worlds.

Rynn is a transplant from London who has recently moved to "the lane" with her father and leased a home from the nosy Cora Hallet (Kathi-Jane). Mario is native to the town and seems slow in comparison to the book-smart Rynn, but is full of common sense and local knowledge.

Cora's son, Frank Hallet (Shaun Hadfield) is the creepy man who seems a little too friendly with 13-year-old Rynn from the very beginning, and he quickly becomes a despised character.

Officer Ron Miglioriti (P.J. Waggaman) is the small town cop who knows something fishy is happening in Rynn's little house and that Frank Hallet is up to no good, and he does his best to keep the situation under control.

Although officially a love story, the story was more about maturity. "How old does someone have to. be to be considered a person?" is one of the most memorable lines from Rynn throughout the play, and she does seem to be quite mature for a 13-year-old. She cooks for herself, cleans the house, does what she must to survive without a complaint.

Frank, on the other hand, still lives with his mother and doesn't seem to do anything without her approval. It is even alluded that his marriage was arranged by her to cover up a previous fiasco.

The "love" in this play may seem manufactured to some. It's hard to tell if the children only think they're in love because of the ordeal they experience or if children so young can even know what love means but I feel that's the question that Koenig meant for audiences to decide fo themselves

The cast does a great job of interpreting their characters. On opening night there were a few missteps with lines, but nothing that distracted from my enjoyment of the performance. Most importantly, you could really feel that the actors were connecting with their characters. Lines can be studied and practiced, but if the audience can't feel like that's really an English girl on stage and net a seventh-grade student, then something's wrong. That's were this performance really shined. I found myself in the lobby trying not to hate Hadfield as much as I hated his character and wondering what happened to Covert's English accent that seemed so natural only minutes earlier.

Covert and Relyea performed excellently, enough to make one wonder if they hadn't been on stage for years, rather than just one or two prior performances.! look forward to future performances from this next generation of Las Cruces thespians. Waggaman also slid easily into his role, and won the audience over as the only "adult" that seemed to be in the right throughout the play. You get the feeling that he had to dumb himself down quite a bit to play the police officer that couldn't get to the bottom of the mystery on the lane.

Herman's musical choices fit the mood of the play expertly, from the light, happy tunes of the golden oldies to the dark, foreboding music of Chopin, it all fit seamlessly together.

All in all, this was a great night of theater, and the story was the most enjoyable non-comedic offering that I've seen all year.


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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