Each year, an anonymous writing committee creates the Fiesta Melodrama, turning the year’s comic—and comically tragic—goings-on to farce, like so many glooms turned to ash. The Santa Fe Playhouse’s 89th season brings Fiesta Melodrama 2010: Reefer Melodrama. Set in 1910 as New Mexico was applying for statehood, the story involves artist Will Shuster, his Frankensteinian creation Zo-zo-bra and Shuster’s pot-smoking habit. Using a stream-of-consciousness technique popular at the turn of the century, we discussed some pertinent topics with Shuster, as played by Ryan Kochevar.

Melodrama 2010:

Well, I will be playing myself in this completely historically accurate rendition of the story regarding how I created and animated my creation Zo-zo-bra. We’ve gathered a wonderful cast of people who are going to play parts that are basically written exactly as the story happened. Unfortunately, Sigmund Fraud is not able to reprise his role because he is in Gallup performing community service. Ms. Zoe Villa can’t because she’s running for governor. I don’t want to get into too many details, but it turns out a couple of people aren’t who they say they are.


That happens to be in the far-off future regarding this particular production, so I hope that one day people will maybe nationally recognize my creation, Zo-zo-bra. My projection is that perhaps my creation becomes a permanent facet of Santa Fe’s cultural identity, hopefully by the year 1924.


It’s an idea I had that formed when I was a very young child. In the town I grew up in, there was an old folktale about a monster who lived in the woods, but he was actually very benevolent. He took upon himself all the gloom and sorrow of the town and set it on fire. So I thought, ‘Why not take…burning gloom somewhere it was needed?’

Santa Fe:

It seems everyone in the town of Santa Fe, a lovely hamlet in the mountains, is very much preoccupied with becoming part of the US. It’s a heavy burden to carry on their shoulders. I feel like Zo-zo-bra will maybe alleviate some of that stress.


Well, a young woman I met recently, Maria Wannadoobie, seems to be rolling some behind the lot of the Catholic girls’ school I just purchased. Gosh, she’s swell. But, from what I hear, this marijuana is used medically to cure ailments. It seems to be some sort of wonder drug—that’s what people think about it.

Fake School for the Arts:

I’ve given up on…the Catholic girls’ school [in order] to benefit Dr. Sigmund Fraud’s School for the Arts, which is gonna be free. It’s fantastic, just what this place needs. As a struggling artist, I wanna do whatever I can to help.

Gov. Bill Richardson:

I don’t know who that is. If you’re referring to Gov. Beard Richerman, the governor seems to be a very amorous fellow, polyamorous, if you will. He has an eye for the fairer sex, you see. It seems the people of this town think he’s some sort of crook. He slurs a little bit every once in a while during his speeches, but that’s not why I’m here. I’m here to bring surcease to their suffering.


Around the time I created my creation Zo-zo-bra, the governor decided, in order to extend the riddance of gloom and sorrow, he would declare the whole weekend to be Fiesta de Santa Fé. Fiesta means something sort of like a party. The whole community of Santa Fe comes together to celebrate being alive and living in this beautiful town.

Last Thoughts:

One reminder to the public who want to see the show…I want them to feel encouraged to interact with us onstage. Shout out suggestions, boo and hiss, cheer when someone does something cool. Be open to breaking that fourth wall, and talk with all of us onstage.