New Jersey Stage
New Jersey Stage on social media


This article is from our magazine. To view it in its original format, click here

Las Cruces

By Gary Wien

originally published: 08/20/2016

Las CrucesSet in the New Mexico desert, not far from the casinos and the spaceport, an enigmatic story of buried secrets, improbable friendship, and unexpected redemption follows Sheridan, a Connecticut man who has fled his life on the East Coast under mysterious circumstances, and Soledad, the wisecracking, teenage card player he befriends. That’s the story behind Las Cruces by Vincent Delaney, which was the winner of the 2016 Premiere Stages Play Festival and receives a full production by Premiere Stages at Kean University in September.

The play was selected from over 400 submissions in the theatre’s annual competition for unproduced scripts. Las Cruces will be directed by Premiere’s founding producing director John J. Wooten, and feature actors Brian Sutherland, Charlotte Cohn, and Diomargy Nuñez.

Las Cruces provides a moving and fascinating exploration of the power of friendship and humor in the face of unspeakable tragedy,” said Wooten. “The secret behind Sheridan’s mysterious escape to the desert has shattered more than his spirit; it has exacerbated a growing debate that is quickly dividing America.”

Vincent Delaney is a recipient of the Actors Theatre of Louisville’s Heideman Award, McKnight and Bush fellowships, a Jerome Commission, the Reva Shiner Comedy Award, Core Membership at the Playwrights Center, and a residency at Seattle Rep. His plays have been produced throughout the United States, and in the United Kingdom, Canada, Japan, and the Netherlands.  His work is published by Smith and Kraus, Samuel French, Heineman, Dramatics Magazine, Theatre Forum, and Playscripts.com.

New Jersey Stage spoke with Delaney about his latest work.



The article continues after this ad

 


Tell me a little about the play. Las Cruces is about an unlikely friendship between a stranger hiding out in the New Mexico desert, and a young poker player named Soledad. It’s also about powerful issues that none of us can avoid today.

Does the character’s escape to the desert have any religious overtones or symbolism? Sheridan’s flight into the desert is about personal survival--he’s running from something that he can’t face. But he can’t hide for long.

Have you ever been to Las Cruces, New Mexico? I spent quite a bit of time in the Southwest, and especially the New Mexico desert. There’s something magical and bleak and gorgeous about that country. When I started a play about a man running from himself, I couldn’t think of a better destination--you can feel so alone, and yet you’re completely surrounded at the same time.

How did you first get involved with playwriting? I started as an actor, gradually moved more toward writing. Grew up in the Pacific NW, and after moving around a lot, settled in Seattle. My life right now is a mix of writing, teaching, and raising our three kids.

You visited Premiere Stages a few months ago.  How involved have you been with the production?  I came out in March for the first workshop of the play, and have been here for a week this time. We’ve spent the week around the table, reading the play, discussing the lives of the characters, and finding some nice improvements and changes to the script.

What do you think of the cast and crew? This is a very smart and talented group, who are already taking ownership of their characters. My director, John Wooten, is gifted at breaking down the core moments in a scene, and finding the truth of what’s there. He brings out amazing energy from his actors.

The play was read along with the other finalists for Premiere’s Play Festival.  How important are staged readings to you? I’m one of those writers who actually love workshops and  readings. There’s no better way to improve your script, if you’re open to feedback. It’s also exciting to work with new artists--sometimes an actor will just click with a role, and you’ll find a whole new way into it.

Do you often revise your work after the reading? During the rehearsal process?  I’m revising incessantly--even this week, we found so many new moments to layer into the play. There’s a mix of humor and tension and danger in this show, and I want to get it absolutely right.

Finally, who are some contemporary playwrights that you admire? I adore writers who can address truly dark spaces with heart and economy and humor. Suzan-Lori Parks comes to mind, especially Topdog/Underdog. That’s such a lean, powerful piece of writing, with so much humor and heart. Also Doubt by John Patrick Shanley--using history to make something so devastatingly timely.

Las Cruces





For more by this author, click here






The Panto Company Presents "Beauty and the Beast" at The Newton Theatre
(NEWTON, NJ) -- When you think of a dying rose and a clock, candlestick andteapot who talk... you are thinking Beauty and the Beast. One of this season's spellbinding family shows from The Panto Company USA stars Dame Dotty Potty, Loopy Louie, Gaston, Belle and of course The Beast!  The company brings their show to The Newton Theatre on Sunday, March 3 at 3:00pm.
La Strada Ensemble Theater Presents "La Bella Familia" by Edwin Sanchez
(OCEAN GROVE, NJ) -- La Strada Ensemble Theater presents La Bella Familia by Edwin Sanchez from January 18-20.  The play deals with a Puerto Rican hit woman and the gentlest man in the world move next door to the neighbors from hell and everyone learns, the hard way, that family comes first.
Art House Productions Presents "The Passion Project" by Reid Farrington
(JERSEY CITY, NJ) -- Art House Productions presents the unique theatrical experience that is Reid Farrington’s The Passion Project performed by Laura K. Nicoll.  Eight performances will take place from February 21st to March 3rd. The Passion Project is a 30 minute vibration between performance, film, and installation. Carl Th.Dreyer’s 1928 immortal masterpiece, “The Passion of Joan of Arc” is the main narrative along with the history behind the making of the film, a discussion with a Danish archivist, the story of making this project, as well as Joan’s own story –– her trial, torture, and execution. The Passion Project explodes the film into the three dimensions; placing the audience inside the film, sitting next to Joan, subjecting them to the relentless rhythm of 35 mm film projection.
4th Wall Theatre Presents "Intimate Apparel" by Lynn Nottage
(MAPLEWOOD, NJ) -- 4TH WALL THEATRE continues its 22nd season with a one weekend run of Lynn Nottage’s Intimate Apparel.  The show will be presented as part of the Black History Month celebrations on February 22, 23, and 24 at the Burgdorff Center for the Performing Arts in Maplewood, NJ.  The show is directed by 4th Wall Executive Director Gwen Ricks-Spencer.
East Lynne Theater, the Henry Sawyer Inn, and Twin Gable's Inn present Murder Mystery Weekends
(CAPE MAY, NJ) -- The award-winning East Lynne Theater Company, with The Henry Sawyer Inn and Twin Gables Inn, present Murder Mystery Weekends on February 15-16, March 8-9, March 22-23, March 29-30, and April 5-6. Participants can test their crime-solving skills while staying in one of these lovely Bed & Breakfasts. East Lynne Theater Company's Murder Mystery Weekends were cited among one of the top five in the country by "AM NY."  


It's "Apple Season" at NJ Rep
Every family has stories. Some are funny. Some are sweet. Some are sad. And some are never shared. Those are often the most powerful.
Rise of the Goatman
Theater For The New City presents Beltsville/Rockville, Part 1: Rise of the Goatman, an original play by Englewood resident Matt Okin (Artistic Director of Black Box Studios), from December 27 through January 13. In this pseudo-Southern Gothic dark comedy, a vibrant group of teens from two very different suburban neighborhoods clash over class differences, drugs, and sex - and the existence of the legendary ‘Goatman’ in 1986. Cut to 2013, and the adolescent kids of those very same teens are struggling to make sense of their family histories - and the same “mythological” creature - that could be holding them back in life.
PHOTOS from "The Winter's Tale" at Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey
(MADISON, NJ) -- The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey’s concludes its 56th season with its sixth and final Main Stage production, The Winter's Tale. Last seen at The Shakespeare Theatre in 2008, Artistic Director Bonnie J. Monte directs this production of Shakespeare’s tragicomedic romance. Veteran company members Jacqueline Antaramian, Jon Barker, Erin Partin, John Keabler, Raphael Nash Thompson,Seamus Mulcahy, Patrick Toon, and Ames Adamson are among a cast of 20 actors. Performances run now through December 30. 
REVIEW: "It's A Wonderful Life" At Mile Square Theatre
Nestled in a corner of Hoboken, on the second floor, lies the studios of radio station WMST.  It’s a wonderful art deco studio, replete with fine wooden walls, embedded with colorful lights an applause sign.  On stage, we’ve got a few chairs, several microphones and a whole corner wedged with all the necessary props – piano, men’s shoes, sheet metal – to create the audio effects for the production of “It’s a Wonderful Life.”
Betsy Aidem Puts A Woman's Touch On George Street Playhouse's "A Doll's House, Part 2"
Betsy Aidem is a veteran actress you might have seen on Broadway. Or maybe on an episode of “Law & Order: SVU.” Or maybe on the big screen last year in “The Greatest Showman.” But over the next few weeks in New Brunswick, Aidem is adding a brand-new section to her résumé — by helming a sequel (of sorts) to a classic play that’s more than 100 years old.






Event calendar
Thursday, Jan 17, 2019


MUSIC


Open Mic Night! @ Black Box PAC, Teaneck - 7:30pm


THEATRE

"Apple Season" by E.M. Lewis @ New Jersey Repertory Company, Long Branch - 8:00pm


KIDS

AMERICAN GIRL LIVE @ Bergen Performing Arts Center (bergenPAC), Englewood - 7:00pm

View all events










 






















For more on our awards, click here








New Jersey Stage © 2019 by Wine Time Media, LLC | PO Box 140, Spring Lake, NJ 07762 (732) 280-7625 | info@newjerseystage.com

Images used on this site have been sent to us from publicists, artists, and PR firms.
If there is a problem with the rights to any image, please contact us and we will look into the matter.