ART AS AN EXPRESSION By Mario Rodriguez-Alvarado
There is no denying that art is important; be it theatre, film, music, drawing, painting, poetry, sculpting, etc. It is a necessity in life. Art is the perfect way to express yourself, to take advantage of your talent and share it with the world. In a world busy with technology, work, school and a million other things, it’s hard to take the time to appreciate the smallest of details. Take the time to look around you...walk down the street and notice the art on the brick buildings, the flyers posted on windows, the music playing from a cafe patio. It’s all art...alive and well, but under-appreciated and taken for granted.
Here at the Playhouse, we try to provide a platform for artists of all walks of life, talents, backgrounds and personalities. We take pride in working hard to provide quality entertainment via live performances. But we also try to feature artwork from local artists, perform plays written by local playwrights, welcome musicians to come and perform before a show or during intermission...we are a member of the art community and feel it is our responsibility to help artists who need a place to shine.
We are about to close our comedy “Charley’s Aunt”, directed by El Paso theatre legend, Hector Serrano. He has been a part of Playhouse productions as an actor, he has used our venue to perform his own plays, but this is the first time in his 50 years at the Playhouse, that he directs an actual Playhouse production...and we could not be any happier or more proud of this.
Coming up next is the last show of our season, “R & J: Romeo and Juliet”. The show was written by El Pasoan, Adam Dever and was inspired by William Shakespeare’s masterpiece. However, there is a twist to it. This production deals heavily with LGBTQ issues. Inequality has been an issue over the past few years, an issue that has raised awareness, as well as criticism and controversy. With Hollywood people such as Laverne Cox and Caitlyn Jenner, the topic of gender-identity and confusion is everywhere. The transgender community is, at last, getting the attention they have so desperately sought for decades. Our closing production deals heavily with the issues facing young transgender people today. How society will see them or accept them, how injustice, inequality and lack of acceptance are major topics.
This is a very special show...it is something that has not been done at the Playhouse since I started 12 years ago. It deals with delicate topics, but it is something we need to do. Theatre, like film, is important. It provides us a platform to talk about issues that, at times, no one else wants to talk about. When AIDS was starting and no one wanted to talk about it, film and theatre shined a light on it. Racism, segregation, equal rights, interracial marriages...all these are things that the world wasn’t ready to talk about...but were performed and sung about. That is the magic of art, that you can use it to shine a light on what really matters, on what people don’t want to talk about.
The Playhouse is ready to take this big step, this leap into the 21st century. Why? Because we care about the community and feel it is our obligation and sheer pleasure to cross those boundaries and shine a light on what really matters. Vanessa Keyser, who is directing this production, has an amazing cast who has put in their heart and soul not only into their characters, but the actual script. It is a labor of love and a true testament that art knows no boundaries, that no matter what is happening in the world, art will be there to be a beacon to those who are lost or feel left behind in the dark.
This is our way of saying THANK YOU to the world, to you, to life. This show deals with strong themes, contains strong language, violence and is not suitable for young children or those who are easily offended. But it is imperative that we get out there and try to leave our small mark.
It is the end of our 2015-2016 season, and we have so much in store for you! Our next season is right around the corner and we are not only thrilled, but beyond proud of the hard work our volunteers, board members, staff and patrons have put in to make this such a success.
We thank you and we hope to see you at the Playhouse!