SFR Picks

SFR Picks: June 19, 2024

Slings, arrows, outrageous fortune and so forth

(Courtesy exodusensemble.com)

Exodus Ensemble gets its mitts on Hamlet

The story of Shakespeare’s Hamlet is universally well-known but, in case you somehow missed lit class that day, here’s the gist: Hamlet’s uncle Claudius kills his brother, Hamlet’s dad, so Hamlet feigns a descent into madness to enact revenge at the request of his dad’s ghost—or does he? There’s a reason the play has been popular for so many hundreds of years, and when local experimental/experiential theater troupe Exodus Ensemble takes a swing at a classic, the result is bound to be special.

“We don’t use any of Shakespeare’s language,” director and Exodus Ensemble Executive/Artistic Director April Cleveland tells SFR. “Like all of our work, it happens through a collaborative creation process, and the ensemble transformed it into a contemporary, though intimate, thing.”

Exodus’ cast members chose Hamlet through a pitching process during which ensemble member Patrick Agada made a strong case for the classic.

“This is a play I’ve been obsessed with for a while, and the reason I became an actor,” Agada, who plays Claudius in the show, explains. “I was in the mindset of, ‘what if I could pitch it the way I see it in my mind; the way I’ve dreamt of it; to swing for the fences?’”

As such, the Exodus iteration takes place within a modern-day business called Elsinore rather than a Danish kingdom. Both Cleveland and Agada say the show will rove throughout the Center for Contemporary Arts’ gallery spaces, creating a deeper level of immersion and interaction than they have since they took a permanent home at CCA last year. And though the language is updated and the setting modernized, the production should be familiar to the well-versed, while providing enough nuance and novelty to seem unique.

“This is a group of people who have been working with each other since during the pandemic, at a time when everything you thought was real or everything you anticipated about how the world works shifted,” Cleveland says. “And that felt like madness in a way.”

Agada agrees, adding he hopes to make his own mark on the character of Claudius.

“It’s fun to play evil, but I’m bringing a very sweet, loving uncle sort of thing, because in my head I don’t want everybody to think of him as the bad guy,” he says. “I’m somebody who doesn’t like to play his cards too early. In the Exodus version, the lines are blurred, and even when I love seeing a Hamlet who is extremely smart and aware, there can be slips; it can be fun if even the characters don’t know; he thinks he’s well aware, but things happen he didn’t expect to happen. It’s more fun.”

Spoiler alert, though? Everybody will probably die. (Alex De Vore)

The Exodus Ensemble’s Hamlet: 7:30 pm Friday, June 21 and Saturday, June 22. Free (but you must reserve tickets). Center for Contemporary Arts, 1050 Old Pecos Trail, exodusensemble.com

(Andrew Catlin)

The Irish Rover

If you somehow missed out on filmmaker Julien Temple’s 2020 documentary Crock of Gold: A Few Rounds with Shane MacGowan, your ship has thankfully returned. Temple’s look into the life and times of the iconic if tortured frontman of legendary band The Pogues is practically required viewing for fans of rock and folk tunes, or even just tales told through a punk rock lens. Was MacGowan’s death in 2023 a surprise? Hardly—the man liked a drink and a smoke—though learning his motivations and personal history in the years leading up to his passing is all at once fascinating, cautionary and intensely inspirational. Part of the Violet Underground series of music films and docs. (ADV)

Violet Underground Film Series: Crock of Gold: A Few Rounds with Shane MacGowan: 7 pm Saturday, June 22 and Tuesday, June 24. $16. Violet Crown Cinema, 1606 Alcaldesa St., (505) 216-5678

(Courtesy sunnywar.com)

With a Chance of Sunny

One can hardly envision a better venue for Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter Sunny War than the stage at the Reunity Resources farm down Agua Fría Street. The working farm environs practically beg for acoustic guitars, really, and Sunny War has that in spades, plus a gorgeous combination of country/folky/bluesy/gospel-y tunes sung with one of the sweetest voices you’re ever likely to hear ‘round these parts. And someplace within the intricate fingerpicking lines and the gamut of emotions spilling out through the vocals, a divine glimmer of hope emerges. Imagine that with the sun setting behind the farm, crickets chirp in the distance and the music carries you home. (ADV)

Sunny War: 6 pm Saturday, June 22. Free. Reunity Resources, 1829 San Ysidro Crossing, lensic360.org

(Courtesy hrasantafe.org)

To a T

We’re officially well into Pride Month in Santa Fe at this point, and the parties only seem to multiply as we barrel toward the big day on the Plaza (Saturday, June 29). Before then, however, it’s possible to whet your whistle with any number of events, and we recommend checking out the Kickoff T-Dance event at The Mystic with DJs St. John and Eldon. The T-Dance (or Tea Dance or Tea Party, if you will) has deep roots in queer communities as a great place to meet up; to see and be seen; and has become a mainstay of Pride celebrations around the world. Broad strokes? Find dance jamz, killer drinks and queer community at one of Santa Fe’s increasingly popular watering holes/restaurants and feel really great about that. (ADV)

Pride Kickoff T-Dance: 1-5 pm Sunday, June 23. $1-$15. The Mystic, 2810 Cerrilos Road, hrasantafe.org

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