Playhouse goes black and white
Published: Thursday, October 4, 2012
Updated: Friday, May 17, 2013 13:05
The El Paso Playhouse, the longest running community theater in El Paso, will put on the black and white production, “Arsenic and Old Lace,” for its fourth show of the 2012-2013 season.
Erika Moeller, director of the play and UTEP alumna, said she first saw the play presented at the Dallas Theatre in a black and white style.
“It looked very intriguing,” Moeller said. “So as the new season approached and we were thinking of new show ideas, this production caught my eye, but I knew this was going to be an elaborate process.”
Moeller mentioned that to produce this show the El Paso Playhouse had to turn to Kickstarter, a crowd funding website for creative projects, ranging from indie films to music and stage shows. From Kickstarter they gathered 27 donors. The El Paso Playhouse was able to reach their goal in less than a month, Moeller said.
“Thanks to the pledges that were made we were able to raise $2,033,” Moeller said. “However, it was very hard to get people’s attention towards this matter, since they didn’t quite understand what we meant by a black and white production.”
The money raised was used to cover the cost of the royalties, scripts, costumes, makeup and props, among other materials. According to Moeller, getting everything in black and white has been the toughest thing to do.
“Putting on a literal black and white show has been a tough but exciting challenge, having everything from sets and props,” Moeller said. “It has been very time consuming, but I wanted to make it happen.”
According to Moeller, stage lights will play a big part on this show, since they will help create a different shade of grey once the cast has already put on their makeup.
Anant Kassangee, assistant manager and UTEP alumnus, said that the fact that the show is in black and white will attract a wider audience.
“This is a new, innovational show (that) will surprise and shock the audience,” Kassangee said. “It is such a well written play that I expect for the audience to be in disbelief.”
Written in the 1940s by American playwright, Joseph Kesselring, “Arsenic and Old Lace” can be similar to a farcical black comedy. It revolves around Mortimer Brewster, a drama critic, who happens to live with his two crazy and homicidal aunts in Brooklyn, NY, who murder lonely old men by poisoning them with a glass of wine laced with arsenic. The plot develops in a way that Mortimer is forced to decide whether to go through with the marriage to his loved one, Elaine Harper, the daughter of the pastor and apparently the only sane character in the whole play.
“It has been a blast playing Elaine, the love interest of Mortimer,” said Eurydice Saucedo, UTEP alumna. “‘Arsenic and Old Lace’ is a very funny play, it is a story that never gets old. The ending always seems to shock me, no matter how many times we rehearse it.”
Mortimer, who will be played by KTEP employee, Christian Rodriguez, said that it has been very entertaining to be part of the production.
“Insanity runs through this play, it practically gallops,” Rodriguez said.
According to Saucedo, having a total of 11 members—half of them either UTEP students or alumni—has been a really nice experience.
“The cast is hilarious,” Saucedo said. “We all have comedy experience, which can only make it fun, and not to mention, easier to act and feed of each other.”
Moeller, who has been involved with the El Paso Playhouse since 2006 as an actress, a stage manager and a seamstress for previous shows, said that she is very excited about opening night.
“I’m hoping it is well received,” Moeller said. “Apart from Dallas, no other theater has done it and we are very fortunate that we were able to make this possible.”
“Arsenic and Old Lace” will open Oct. 12 and will run through Nov. 3. General admission is $10, seniors $8 and student and military $7.
For more information, contact the El Paso Playhouse at 532-1317.
Andrea Acosta may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.