Dramatic Royalty

Theater Grottesco's The King Without a Kingdom rides right into your home

You need to realize it's more intense to ask Theater Grottesco's Artistic Director John Flax what the company's upcoming show is about than you might think. Granted, the celebrated outfit has proven a mainstay of Santa Fe stages since as far back as anyone cares to remember, but when it comes to explaining the overall gestalt of a Grottesco production, nothing is as simple as it seems.

"First of all, we're working in the style of buffoonery," Flax tells SFR of The King Without a Kingdom. "It's a little-known western style that even pre-dates commedia dell'arte. It comes from medieval times, when in reality, not just in theater, people who were different were ostracized because people were afraid they were carrying evil spirits, so they were pushed out of the townships that were safe back then."

Originally, the show was supposed to be a mostly-improvised and chaotic piece wherein buffoons took the stage, performing fairy tales and almost performing over each other. As the show has now moved over to a pre-recorded Vimeo space, Flax says each actor performed their section in one take, improvising a learned tale and putting their own touches on the story.

"[Buffoons] evolved into the king's fool," Flax continues. "They were some of the only ones who could whisper in the king's ear and maybe speak truth to power; the style is also connected to Mardi Gras, when people thought if they welcomed buffoons into the town, they could scare off evil spirtis."

The King Without A Kingdom will be available through the Theater Grottesco website for $10 starting Thursday, but before we forget—speaking truth to power? Scaring off evil? Buffoons? Does that mean this has anything to do with Trump and the election?

"We like to deal with metaphor and ambiguity," Flax says, "but I guess we can admit it…it is indeed based on our president."

The King Without a Kingdom Talkback Sessions:
6 pm Thursday, Oct. 22-Saturday Oct. 25
and 2 pm Sunday, Oct. 22. Free.
theatergrottesco.org

Jot This Down

It should be surprising to no one that many of the most famous and/or seasoned writers often cull from personal experience to make their works sing. Interesting things happen to us all, and the bizarre goings-on of just about anyone's life can make for interesting lit fodder. The Institute for American Indian Arts' Byron Aspass (Diné) knows this, and that's why his upcoming continuing education virtual class, Journaling Into Creative Writing, is a solid choice for budding writers. In the class, Aspass will teach how using one's journal as a jumping off point could lead to untold levels of creativity. Yes, these things are probably rooted in fact, but that doesn't mean they won't make for interesting fiction or poetry details. (ADV)

Journaling Into Creative Writing:
6 pm Thursday Oct. 22 and Tuesday Oct. 27. $34.
iaia.edu

American Operatic

Courtesy CCA Santa Fe

What do you know about one-time sharecropper-turned-voting-activist and organizer Fannie Lou Hamer? Probably not a whole lot, but if the Santa Fe Opera and the Center for Contemporary Arts have anything to say about it, you will soon. Based on on a new one-act opera called This Little Light of Mine, the online event Is This America? delves into Hamer's life and work. The virtual event itself shows three key scenes from the upcoming opera, which is slated to be filmed this month in Brooklyn. You'll also meet the people behind the piece: Diana Solomon-Glover (the librettist), Beth Greenberg (the stage director) and Chandler Carter (the composer). We love these distinctly American operas, particularly when they're really about something we should all learn a little something about. The election looms on the horizon—let's all try to not be so privileged about it. (ADV)

Is This America? Webinar:
6 pm Friday, Oct. 23. Free.
ccasantafe.org

Hocus Focus

Courtesy Image

At some point around this time of year, Hocus Pocus winds up playing at my house. I'm really more into actor Omri Katz as he applies to Eerie, Indiana, but I've got no problem with Kathy Najimy, Bette Midler and Sarah Jessica Parker being dorky witches from a bygone Disney era that seemed more interested in family fun than churning out the same basic movie over and over. Anyway, Najimy beams into your homes through the auspices of the Lensic Performing Arts Center with tales from the movie, a moderated discussion and, we hear, a little of the ol' Q&A action. I can think of about a million people in my age range who just about passed out after reading this, so hurry up and get your tickets for the virtual fun. (ADV)

Kathy Najimi Live Conversation, Q&A and Halloween Celebration:
6 pm Saturday, Oct. 24. $20.
lensic.org