Santa Fe Playhouse’s 100th Fiesta Melodrama gets self-referential
The way we hear it, protesters outside the opening night of this year’s Fiesta Melodrama at the Santa Fe Playhouse may or may not have been part of the show. And though co-director Andy Primm tells SFR that audiences had no trouble attending the sold-out show, one could be forgiven for wondering what’s up at the oldest continually operating theater west of the Mississippi.
Without wanting to spoil anything, Primm, co-director Eliot Fisher and the Playhouse’s crack team of anonymous writers have put together a real thinker of a show this year. Intact are the annual show’s sensibilities—namely a bit of the old sticking it to our fair city’s notable people and perhaps more notable foibles—only this time, they’ve aimed the focus inward. According to Primm, this year’s Melodrama puts the show itself on trial, examining and addressing its 100 years of history and digging into some of its more troubling content from ages past. In other words, a 100-year-old theater is bound to have made some missteps, particularly in the, shall we say, more overtly racist periods of time, but with a willingness to declare mea culpa, plus the show’s trademarked surrealism and absurdity, there will be no finger-wagging.
“What really knocked me out is that Eliot, my co-director, found a review of the actual 1922 first Melodrama in a New York theater magazine from 1923,” Primm says. “This play was called The Sorcerers of Nambe—and this is real—it was about a trial from 1675, when the Spanish territorial governor of New Mexico put all these regional Indigenous leaders on trial for sorcery and witchcraft. So we had kind of our own Salem Witch Trials in New Mexico, and apparently, as far as we know, one of those Indigenous leaders was Po’pay, who led the Pueblo Revolt in 1680. That play in 1922 was about those trials.”
Of course there’s no telling the actual tone of that old show, and today’s version promises to be a little more caring in how it addresses things. As Primm says, “The idea is that it lets us all laugh at ourselves.” You’ll find the Melodrama at the Playhouse the next couple weeks before it heads toward Midtown and the Southside for shows at venues such as Tumbleroot, the Santa Fe Public Library and The Bridge @Santa Fe Brewing Co. (Alex De Vore)
100th Fiesta Melodrama: 7:30 pm Thursday, Sept. 1 and Saturday, Sept. 3; 4 pm Friday, Sept. 2; 2 pm Saturday Sept. 3. $15-$75. Santa Fe Playhouse, 142 E De Vargas St., (505) 988-4262
Like, Burn Him
We weren’t sure if you’d need a reminder that the annual burning of Zozobra is upon us, but as the event is both a de-facto reminder that summer is pretty much done-zo, and also sometimes out-of-towners read our paper, here we are. For those not in the know, Zozobra, aka Old Man Gloom, is the physical embodiment of everyone’s strife, pain, suffering, et al—a gargantuan puppet that we burn to the ground while ghosts dance and the crowd screams like Paganistic new gods. Feels good, man, and if you’re reading this and have never been, maybe just check it out as no words can properly explain the mayhem. Don’t forget that this year finds the looming monstrosity adopting ’90s flair as part of the ongoing Decades Project from its Kiwanis Club organizers, which has thus far found Zozo adopting the looks and gestalts of various decades. We also bet they play Nirvana at the burning. (ADV)
98th Burning of Zozobra: 4 pm Friday, Sept. 2. $20. Fort Marcy Park, 490 Washington Ave., burnzozobra.com
Santa Fe sure has a lot of film festivals for our relatively tiny size, but we also seem to have a lot of things, so...word? Enter the Fifth Annual Madrid Film Festival, a rain or shine event in the bucolic village of Madrid outside Santa Fe that finds a veritable gaggle of local filmmakers showing their stuff through the auspices of organizers/professional weirdos Andrew Wice and Joe West. The little fest has grown over the years to become an outdoor affair covering numerous filmmaking categories. And unlike stuffy old festivals such as Cannes or whatever, the whole thing’s way more about having fun and making movies than being an art snob. Hit Madrid’s Oscar Huber Ballpark this weekend to get a better idea of what we’re talking about. It’s affordable! It’s fun! We once had a really amazing burger at Madrid’s Mine Shaft Tavern! (ADV)
Fifth Annual Madrid Film Festvial: 6:30 pm Saturday, Sept. 3. $10. Oscar Huber Ballpark, 2895a Hwy. 14., madridfilmfestival.org
It used to be that when people suggested meditating, many of us not in the know would make jokes about droning “Om” mantras and move on to louder things, like action movies and metal bands and throwing televisions off rooftops. Now, though, in a world of pandemics and scary politicians, it only makes sense to long for peace, to long for quiet, to long for stillness. In Santa Fe, that’s easily done at Zoetic’s weekly Art of Meditation sessions. “If we train in meditation, our mind will gradually become more and more peaceful, and we will experience a purer and purer form of happiness,” reads the website. Uhhhh, yeah. We want some of that. (ADV)
The Art of Meditation: Developing a Joyful Practice: 6 pm Tuesday, Sept. 6. $10. Zoetic, 230 S St. Francis Drive, (505) 292-5293