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CRITICAL REFLECTION

Bonjour, là, Bonjour by Michel Tremblay Adobe R ose Theatre 1213 Parkway Drive

THE NAME OF SANTA FE’S NEW PROFESSIONAL THEATRE COMPANY (and the theatre they call home), Adobe Rose,

Bonjour, là, Bonjour, directed by Wendy Chapin. The

theatre here, and I believe that actors should be

juxtaposes two contrasting images: the fragrant

play opens May 12 and runs through May 29 , and

paid. There was a very committed core group of

blood-red rose of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet

like the Rose itself is the story of a homecoming.

actors here.” She also pointed out that they also

and the mud and straw mixture of pueblo origin

Tremblay’s play sucks the audience into a whirlwind

hire non-equity actors at the Adobe. Additionally,

and Spanish architectural flourish revered in New

of family angst. In the play, Serge, the beloved son,

she intends to “create a path” to equity for NMSA

Mexico. Similarly, Adobe Rose attempts to combine

returns from three months in Paris, and the family

and SFUAD students, because “it gives them a

two unlikely things: professional theatre and Santa

project their anxieties, expectations, and ambitions

real leg-up,” but she concedes that it will be at

Fe. It has been several years since a fully professional

onto him and his journey.

least five years before this will be a reality. Adobe

th

th

company set down roots here, and Santa Fe has

Meanwhile, the Adobe Rose itself is the return

Rose also rents its 145-seat black box theatre for

always had a reputation as a difficult place to do

of professional equity theatre to the Santa Fe

community performances and events. McKenna

professional theatre. Adobe Rose is focused on

theatre scene. “Professional theatre is a necessary

felt small performance spaces were lacking in Santa

creating a space where professional actors can work

part of the cultural fabric here,” said McKenna.

Fe and thought the addition of another black box

in Santa Fe and produce high quality professional

She has lived in Santa Fe for more than a decade,

theatre would benefit the community immensely.

work for the community.

with her husband Bruce McKenna—who is also a

“It’s a matter of providing space for our own shows,

“I think that theatre is a safe place to experience,

director—and their children, but has had a difficult

providing space for community organizations and

and it teaches you to walk in someone else’s shoes:

time finding a place in the Santa Fe performance

shows. It’s something that Santa Fe needs.” For

you learn empathy [and] you learn to be more tolerant

scene. As a member of Actor’s Equity Association,

McKenna, theatre connects the community to a

and more accepting. We’re all Blanche and we’re all

a professional union, McKenna has had nowhere

greater human experience.

Hamlet,” said Maureen Joyce McKenna, founder and

to perform in Santa Fe, along with a number of

Adobe Rose’s first season has included a variety

artistic director of the Adobe Rose.

other professionally trained local actors. Union

of contemporary plays that are focused on family

The Adobe Rose opened its doors in January

rules prohibit actors from performing in non-equity

relationships and group dynamics. Bonjour, là, Bonjour

2016 with Luna Gail, performed in their new state-

performances except in rare circumstances. For

continues this trend with a blended musicology of

of-the-art performance space off Siler Road, and are

McKenna this created a serious dilemma: move

scenes that illustrate the difficulty of navigating the

now in the middle of their ambitious first season,

away from Santa Fe, or develop a professional

expectations of friends and family. The play itself is

which includes five plays. Next in the line-up is French

theatre here. For her, the decision was simple. “The

forty years old and is especially concerned with what

Canadian Michel Tremblay’s 1974 family drama

kids consider this home, and there is no professional

it means to be Québécois, but the issues feel deeply relevant and not at all dated. There are definite resonances with our post-colonial roots here in the Southwest, where many still feel connected to Spain, much as the characters in the play long for everything French. Adobe Rose is still finding its audience and refining their plays, but they are interested in expanding their selections. Hopefully, they will make an effort in their second season to present a greater diversity of offerings and some plays that address the specific geopolitical issues of New Mexico. For now, Adobe Rose is focused on the power of theatre to connect with and inspire the community. Bonjour, là, Bonjour runs Thursdays through Sundays May 12th through May 29th. —J onah W inn -L enetsky

Bonjour, là, Bonjour, Adobe Rose Theatre, production view. photo: Melissa Chambers

The magazine May 2016  

THE magazine is Santa Fe New Mexico's magazine of international art, photography, culture, and restaurant dining.

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