SANTA FE, N.M. — Following the template of Santa Fe’s frequent visual art or gallery walks, the city will host its first theater walk that takes guests from one performance to another.
Theater Santa Fe’s free walk this Saturday in and around Rufina Circle has more than 15 participating companies or groups performing scenes from plays, musical theater, short shows and sneak peeks from ongoing rehearsals, or offering classes and other types of demonstrations.
Theater Santa Fe board member Robin Williams said she suggested the idea in order to show locals that the theater and love performance community is just as talented as Santa Fe’s other artistic strongholds.
“Maybe we can build theater up to a point where when people can come to Santa Fe, they want to see theater,” said Williams.
Theater Santa Fe is a website that publishes local show dates and casting calls, and this is its first public event.
The three-hour walk is divided into half-hour intervals, which means visitors need to choose no more than six shows to see over the course of the evening.
The ensembles housed in six of the seven venues will perform for about 20 minutes or less, allowing visitors to watch and then have time to walk to their next choice.
At the Adobe Rose Theater, though, there will be ongoing open improv class that teacher Catherine Lynch says people can watch or join.
Outside on the street near Teatro Paraguas, performers will interact with the guests as they walk from site to site.
These include Theater Grottesco, sword-fighting demonstrations by children’s Shakespeare company Upstart Crows of Santa Fe (which will also be performing scenes from “Hamlet” inside at Meow Wolf), stilt walkers from Teatro Paraguas, and a theater class from the New Mexico School for the Arts offering “Commedia dell’arte,” a 16th-century-era comedic, improvised genre using masks.
Outside the main venues, Wise Fool New Mexico will be offering tours at its studio.
Theater Grottesco’s contribution for the evening is a “slow walk” and artistic director John Flax hopes passersby will join in. A slow walk is an interpretive performance in which the actors do everyday activities, like walking, in slow motion, with the idea of seeing these mundane activities from new perspectives.
“It’s a form of neutrality,” said Flax. “You’re taking everyday actions into a very slow state so it becomes a meditation. You’re aware of every action or every breath.”
With vastly different kinds of shows on offer, actor and director Barbara Hatch said she hopes Santa Feans learn about the variety of talent that exists in the Rufina Circle area. The developing arts district anchored by Meow Wolf has gone through a couple of names – Lower Siler District, or LSD, was one – but Rufina Arts District (RAD) seems to have stuck.
Hatch, a teacher at the School for the Arts and a Theater Santa Fe board member, will be directing two shows in the main venues – one classic play and one modern premiere.
For the New Mexico Actor’s Lab, she is directing the final scene of Act 1 of Tennessee Williams’ “The Glass Menagerie,” which the company staged in May. Down the street, the Santa Fe Playhouse, at its Calle Marie rehearsal space, will be premiering a 15-minute play called “Dorothy Touches Down,” which Hatch said takes place at a New York City park bench and features a woman who claims to be Dorothy from “The Wizard of Oz.”
“We want people who don’t necessarily come to the theater to see something they’ve never seen before or see something they’ve seen before, but in a different way,” said Hatch.
Those participating also include: Ironweed Productions; Teatro Paraguas; For Giving Productions and Red Thread Santa Fe; International Shakespeare Center; Blue Raven Theater; The Oasis Theater Company; Adobe Rose; Z Productions; Up and Down Theater; and Pandemonium Productions. Each company’s location for the night can be found at theatersantafe.org/walk.