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

Life in the Theatre

by David Mamet, directed by Michael Wise

  • L to R: Richard Rundell and Jonathan Benson
  • L to R: Jonathan Benson and Richard Rundell
  • L to R: Richard Rundell and Jonathan Benson
  • L to R: Jonathan Benson and Richard Rundel

Oct 27-Nov 12, 2000

FRI OCT 27, NOV 3,10 | 8:00 PM
SAT OCT 28, NOV 4,11 | 8:00 PM
SUN NOV 5 | 7:00 PM
SUN NOV 12 | 2:30 PM
THRS NOV 2,9 | 7:00 PM




Minor Roles
Set Design
Stage Manager


'A Life in the Theatre' is a class act
- By Cheryl Thornburg , Sun News C-5 [ Friday, Nov. 3, 2000]

At first glance, "A Life in the Theatre" is the story of two actors, one near the end of his career and the other on the threshold of stardom, but there is much more to David Mamet's play.

It is a treatise on life and relationships that has relevance for anyone who likes plays with substance.

The show opened Friday Oct. 27 at Ceil and Peter Herman's Black Box Theatre on the Downtown Mall and runs through Nov. 12. The key to this character-driven play is in the acting.

There are two major roles played by Richard Rundell and Jonathan Benson. The pair create an emotional atmosphere that ranges from respect and tenderness to palpable tension and envy.

Rundell, as Robert, the older actor, gets to show local audiences what he can do. Known for numerous performances in musical comedies and classic plays, Rundell gets to create a complex contemporary man far different from most of his previous roles.

His Robert is a multi-layered, interesting man capable of intense emotion and frustration. Rundell gets to utter some coarse words which audiences have not heard him use in previous roles.

Mamet's script includes some raw language, but unlike many contemporary scripts and screenplays, the four-letter words are not peppered throughout the play, but are only used at times which such an outbreak seems natural and appropriate. If such language offends you, even if used sporadically -this is not the play for you.

If however, you like watching believable interaction between two very interesting characters, played by two very capable actors, "A Life in the Theatre" is satisfying theatre. Jonathan Benson plays John, the younger actor, with an edge that is at times almost too real. You can almost feel the frustration and anger lying just beneath the surface, yet it is juxtaposed with moments when he shows genuine affection for the older man.

The verbal sparring, as well as staged sword play between the two, seem to represent the age-old competition between the old and new generations in many professions.

The action alternates between backstage scenes in the dressing room and "onstage" snippets from plays in which the two are performing. The technique allows Mamet to draw parallels between life and theatre as well as interject some humor into what could be a much too intense play. The result is a thought-provoking theatre experience.

The play is directed by Michael Wise with set design by larrychandler, costumes by Elaina Ray, lighting by Peter Herman and sound by M. David Sage. Kenneth Peterson plays the Stage Manager and other minor roles.

"A Life in the Theatre runs through Nov. 12 at the Black Box Theatre, 430 N. Downtown Mall.

The show runs for about one hour and fifteen minutes with no intermission. It contains adult language and is recommended for mature audiences. Performances are Thursday at 7 p.m., Friday and Saturdays at 8 p.m., Sunday Nov. 5 at 7 p.m. and Sunday Nov. 12 at 2:30 p.m.

Tickets are $7 regular, $6 for seniors and students. All seats Thursdays are $5. The Bean of Mesilla has coffee, tea, and baked goods for sale one hour before performance times and Chuck Segerström's art work is on display in the lobby.

Reservations are available by calling (505)-523-1223 or online at www.zianet.com/nstcbbt.


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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