Since 1919, the Santa Fe Playhouse has presented the Fiesta Melodrama, a lampooning of local and national politics written by a team of secret writers who take stabs at everything from local restaurants to elected officials to this very publication (7:30 pm Thursday and Saturday, Aug. 31 and Sept. 2; 10 pm Saturday Sept. 2; 2 pm Sunday Sept. 3. Through Sept. 10. $15-$25. Santa Fe Playhouse, 142 E De Vargas St., 988-4262). This year, Boris Kofveve, a Russian interloper, seeks to take over the Santa Fe mayoral race with the help of a particularly hilarious Governor Boozeanna Martinis. Vaughn Irving, artistic director of the theater, co-directed the play with Andrew Primm.
Is it weird to laugh when the world is ending?
Yes and no. I'm a big fan of comedy that does not shy away from the issues. … There's no point in going through life afraid, and if you can take a step back and laugh about things, then I think that you're going to be a healthier, happier human being.
Some folks think that laughing at current events is irresponsible. The uproar about 'sheetcaking' comes to mind. What would you say to that?
I understand the sentiment, frankly. I get how, when we're in dire straits, that comedy seems frivolous. But I don't think it ever really is. I think it's part of the human experience, and I think that it very rarely takes away the direness of the situation. It doesn't make you feel like it doesn't matter any more because we're laughing about it. But it can take your mind to a new place, and help re-frame the situation.
How did the writing and the rehearsing go when crazy shit just kept happening? Like, 'Oh my god, that guy Big Rog just brought a gun to City Council, how do we get that in?'
That's always a tricky thing with the Melodrama. ... If we can put in something without derailing the plot, we'll continue to put things in even during the run. That's part of what political comedy is, it has to be current and it has to matter. ... On the note of what's-his-bucket with the gun, we actually did get that into the script. One of the things we did this year, because national politics are so crazy right now, is we included national politics, but we kept it with a local lens. … There's a balance that the writers always try to strike; there were eight people on the team this year, and they're all bringing various ideas, and you can't include everything—because there's kind of an unlimited well of crazy, stupid shit that happens in Santa Fe and in the United States, so we had to pick and choose what served the story.