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

The Bald Soprano

by Eugene Ionesco, directed by Bobbi Masters

  • Tony Cordova (Mr. Martin), Avra Elliot (Mrs. Martin), Cory Dlask (Fire Chief) & Denise Nuņez (The Maid)
  • Left: Avra Elliot (Mrs. Martin), Cory Dlask (Fire Chief) & Kathi-Jane (Mrs. Smith)
  • Right: Tony Cordova (Mr. Martin), Denise Nuņez (The Maid) & Avra Elliot (Mrs. Martin)
  • Kathi-Jane (Mrs. Smith) & Bob Singer (Mr. Smith)

Aug 03-Aug 19, 2007

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


Eugene Ionesco's "The Bald Soprano, a classic and entertaining absurd play about difficulties in communication, directed by Bobbi Masters, opens Friday, August 3 and runs through Sunday, August 19. Romanian born, French raised Eugene Ionesco was only trying to learn English when he wrote The Bald Soprano. In a book he purchased, he discovered many characters proclaiming the obvious, such as, "the floor is below and the ceiling is above" and "there are 7 days in a week". These statements were often interspersed with mundane clichés. Ionesco was saddened by these characters and thought that the disintegration of communication and language was tragic, yet inevitable. He wrote the play, originally titled, "English Made Easy" and showed it to friends who thought it very funny and demanded it get produced. During the rehearsal process, the actor portraying the Fire Chief incorrectly delivered his line about the blonde soprano and Ionesco renamed the play, "La cantatrice chauve." The play and the playwright have garnered many successes. For over 50 years the play has been running uninterruptedly at the Theatre de la Huchette in Paris.

El Paso Director Bobbi Master previously worked in NY where she directed "Painting it Matisse" for Milk Can Theater Company and in Dallas where she directed "Happy Days," "Juniper Tree" and many staged readings. Regionally, she has also worked in various capacities for Junior Players, CC Players, McKinney Avenue Contemporary, ArtSpirit, Undermain Theater, Hip Pocket Theatre, Ft. Worth / Dallas Ballet, Ekstasis Dance Co / CDFW, Our Endeavors Theatre, Shakespeare in the Park, Ground Zero Theater Company, Actor's Theatre of Louisville and Santa Fe Opera.

Scenic and lighting designer, Eric Cope who currently serves as a visiting Assistant Professor of Lighting and Sound Design at the University of Texas at El Paso, is originally from the Dallas/Fort Worth area where he earned his M.F.A. from Southern Methodist University in Stage Design. He recently relocated from Sarasota, Florida where he was Resident Designer at the Florida State University/Asolo Conservatory. His New York credits include: "Coole Lady" and "Ordet" for Handcart Ensemble; "Titus X: The Musical" for Chashama; and "Escaping Juarez" for New Heritage Theatre Group. Regionally Eric's work has been seen at Actor's Theatre of Louisville, Creede Repertory Theatre in Colorado and Kitchen Dog Theatre in Dallas.

The cast features veterans and actors new to the Las Cruces theatre scene. Tony Cordova (Mr. Martin) is a Drama teacher at Gadsden High School who was recently seen at LCCT in "And Then There Were None." He has also been seen at the Black Box in "Getting Out" and "Epic Proportions." Corey Dlask (Fire Chief) was last seen in LCCT's "And Then There Were None" as Captain Lombard. Avra Elliott (Mrs. Martin) was most recently seen in LCCT's production of "Anything Goes." Kathi-Jane (Mrs Smith). was seen at the Black Box Theatre in "Children! Children!," "Under the Sycamore Tree" and "Little Girl Who Lives Down The Lane." Bob Singer (Mr. Smith) has been seen in NSTC's "Under the Sycamore Tree" and "The Walkers." He has done extra work in "The Rise and Fall of their American Life" and "Boom" with Mark Medoff. Denise Nunez (Mary, the Maid) is from El Paso where she has recently been seen in one act plays at UTEP. The Stage Manager is Heather Pfeiffer and James and Maggie Herndon are Light Board Operator and Backstage Crew.




Say anything
'The Bald Soprano' takes communication to new levels

- By Joel Courtney, Las Cruces Bulletin

The Black Box Theatre shows many plays through the course of a season that one would describe as "nontraditional," but "The Bald Soprano," by Eugene Ionesco, certainly takes the cake.

Originally known as "English Made Easy," the story was written by Ionesco as he was learning English from language primers. The primer taught sentences that no sane person would ever use, such as "The ceiling is up, and the floor is down," and through that decided that language was no longer a useful form of communication.

Ionesco starts the madness off with a proper British couple, the Smiths, waiting in their sitting room as the clock strikes nine.

Mrs. Smith (Kathi-Jane) talks about everything from how wonderful dinner was to a pharmacist that doesn't prescribe medicines he hasn't taken himself. Meanwhile, Mr. Smith (Bob Singer) merely clicks his tongue in response to her.

Conversation moves to a deceased family friend, Bobby Watson, whose entire family is named Bobby Watson, including aunts, uncles and his widow's new husband, Bobby Watson.

After more nonsensical chatter and false-logic explanations, the Smiths are joined by their dinner guests, the Martins.

Mr. Martin (Tony Cordova) and Mrs. Martin (Avra Elliott) are every bit as loony as their dear friends. As soon as they enter the house, the couple immediately recognizes each other as familiar, but can't put their finger on where they've met before. After a long and drawn-out reasoning, the two finally realize they met at the apartment they share with their 2-year-old daughter.

Mary, the Smith family maid, (Denise Nuñez) dances in to explain that although the Martins think they are really a married couple based on their descriptions of their daughter, they are mistaken.

Finally, the two couples come together for the evening, but they begin by giving responses, such as "That's true" and "So they say," even though no one has said anything worthy of a response.

The last character, The Fire Chief (Corey Dlask), comes calling to the Smith residence, and the group begins to share nonsense stories after another round of illogical reasoning.

The story comes to an end with the Smiths and Martins yelling lines from a language primer, all of which really have no meaning and would never be used in common speech.

Because Ionesco is considered to be one of the fathers of Theatre of the Absurd, it's hard to expect a clear-cut plot with realistic characters from "The Bald Soprano." The story makes you look for a meaning amongst all of the nonsense, digging through chaos to try and find a glimmer of understanding at Ionesco's point.

Although I can only guess at his reasoning, Ionesco seems bent on showing a breakdown in communication using our sophisticated language and so-called truths.

Throughout the story, characters only state facts, as absurd as they may seem. With these facts, they make abominable leaps in reasoning, such as there was no one at the door all three times the bell rang, therefore when the bell rings there is never anyone at the door.

Other problems, such as the misconception between the Martins about whether they are truly married because of similar descriptions of their daughter only seem to reinforce this concept.

What may be lacking in an easy-to-follow plot is certainly made up for by the excellent cast.

First off, every member of the cast should be commended for performing what can only be described as any actor's worst nightmare when it comes to line memorization. Normally, the previous line can serve as a mental cue for what's coming up next, but not so with "The Bald Soprano." Although there is some regular conversation, most dialogue seems to jump from random sentence to random sentence.

Because there isn't any real characterization, it's hard to commend or condemn any cast member for their ability to stay in character. I can only say that they were likely as random as Ionesco would have expected from them.

The star of the show is likely the set, which is composed of white printouts for the walls of the Smith residence, but every wall and even the floor is covered with text in several languages, including binary and Morse code.

All in all, "The Bald Soprano" may be too much for some theater-goers because its deeper meanings are so deeply buried in the subtext of absurdity. If you are looking for a simple story with some kind of resolution, skip this show, but if you want a night that will certainly spark several hours of intellectual discourse, bring some friends to see "The Bald Soprano" and then try to decipher its meanings over a bottle of wine afterwards.


No seating plan has been posted.


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