Dealt a Good Hand
The ever-trustworthy New Mexico Actors Lab opens its 2018 season with The Gin Game, a 1976 play by DL Coburn that snagged the Pulitzer Prize in '78. We meet Weller (Jonathan Richards) and Fonsia (Suzanne Lederer), both new to nursing home life and have few visitors. They form a friendship over card games, and as we learn more about them, timeless themes of toxic masculinity, misogyny and dishonesty rear their heads.
Richards, whose sweet performance in last year's Heisenberg endeared him to everyone who saw it, begins the show in that same bemused, affable manner; Lederer is totally transformed from her manipulative Southern Belle in Glass Menagerie here, becoming a spindly widow who's superficially timid but deep-down fierce.
The two have a conversation that is so natural and free-flowing that it's easy to forget they're onstage. We're flies on the wall as he teaches her how to play gin, and their rapport is flawless. And, as ever with the New Mexico Actors Lab, the "old" work stays fresh for 2018. Many lines had the audience laughing out loud. The timeless humor of the script, however, fades away to a different, more unfortunate type of timelessness: the outing of nasty men. Perhaps in 1976 we would have said "he has a slight temper," but today we call it unacceptable and terrifying. It was heartbreaking to see Richards' Weller turn so bad. He is such an endearing actor who marvelously depicted a man whose anger and self-loathing turns him into a dervish of rage—but Lederer's Fonsia doesn't back down, setting firm boundaries before "boundaries" was a buzzword. I wouldn't mess with that little old lady, and neither should Weller.
Sure, it's a great story for an older cowd, but it's also immensely relevant for "kids these days"—as are most truly masterful pieces of theater. I scribbled the words "toxic masculinity," "boundary queen" and "gaslighting" in my notebook, as modern a series of ideas as you could ever want. (Charlotte Jusinski)
The Gin Game
7:30 pm Thursday-Saturday May 24-26; 2 pm Sunday May 27. $5-$25.
3205 Calle Marie,
If You’re Lonesome
New Orleans-based Walt McClements might be known to fans of weirdo folk act Dark Dark Dark, but he's taken his multi-instrumentalist chops—mostly accordion—solo for Lonesome Leash, a bizarre yet catchy and post-punk project that's far more dancey than any one dude with an accordion has a right to be. He's proven a big deal around here as well with appearances at shows and the AHA Festival. McClements returns to town alongside fellow freak-folkers Cloacas in a homecoming of sorts (they've been busy) that also features mysterious songwriting duo Azalya. We're loving the warehouse scene around here, and you should, too. (Alex De Vore)
Lonesome Leash with Cloacas and Azalya:
7:30 pm Wednesday May 23. $5-$10.
2899 Trades West Road.
As anyone who's ever watched the glorious Canadian program How it's Made can tell you, there's something hypnotic and magnificent about observing glass blowing. Setting aside the sheer impressive nature of the method's final products, the process itself is a joy to watch. Enter artist Dan Friday (Lummi), a Puget Sound-based glass artist who comes to Blue Rain Gallery to show us what it's all about. Friday brings themes from his Native background into his work while pushing the medium out of the practical and into the downright gorgeous. He's even worked with the likes of Dale Chihuly throughout his storied career. Yeah, it's a big deal and should certainly turn a few heads. (ADV)
Glass Blowing Demonstration with Dan Friday:
11 am-3 pm Friday and Saturday May 25 and 26. Free.
Blue Rain Gallery,
544 S Guadalupe St.,
Art is wonderful. Art is beautiful. Art is necessary. Art is also often expensive. Dammit! Thank goodness for folks like Metallo Gallery proprietor Cassidy Watt, who curates one hell of a miniatures show. Watt's gallery artists, colleagues and friends are formidable artists in various mediums (he's a metalsmith, and in his gallery you can find paintings, jewelry, hand-bound books and sculpture), and they bring it down to 36 square inches each May for a show of hundreds of pieces of bite-sized art that's also often at bite-size prices. Sure, some pieces climb into the upper triple digits, but you'll likely head home with a masterpiece for under $100. Enjoy snacks, tunes, and that renowned Madrid camaraderie, too. (CJ)
In Microscale Opening Reception:
4 pm Saturday May 26. Free. Through June 30.
2833 Hwy. 14, Madrid,