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Coal Avenue Theatre debuts eight abbreviated plays

A blind date with Martha (Amanda David) goes seriously wrong for David (Paul Esquibel) in the comedy “High Speed Disconnect.” (Courtesy of Toby Michael Younis)

A blind date with Martha (Amanda Davis) goes seriously wrong for David (Paul Esquibel) in the comedy “High Speed Disconnect.” (Courtesy of Toby Michael Younis)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — “The Cat Has 8 Lives” outlines feline shorthand for the new Coal Avenue Theatre as well as its debut production of eight abbreviated plays.

Twenty-four Central New Mexico Community College actors and technicians are cycling through eight 10-14 minute plays, Damour said. The 70-seat, 2,372-square-foot theater is located on the north side of Coal Avenue between University Boulevard and Buena Vista Drive.

The plays range from screwball comedies to broad farces and dramas.

In “The Rental,” lonely Sheila awakens to discover her best friend has hired her a rent-a-date for the evening. A man knocks on her door and begins planning a meal and a concert to attend.

“He’s her boyfriend for the day,” director and theater instructor Joe Damour said. “It’s (about) her reaction to that.”

“Music.Poem.Music” takes a more serious note with the impact of the death of a father and his last wishes on two very different sisters. The two meet at Pie Heaven Diner to battle over what to do with his ashes.

The hit-man comedy “Canadian Tuxedo” confronts two mobsters waiting in the car as one discovers the self-help-meets-spirituality book “The Secret.” The author assures readers if they wish for something, they can make it happen.

The raucous physical comedy “Pillow Talk” mocks the New Age sensitivity sessions so popular in the 1970s. If you need marriage counseling, don’t attend.

“It’s a broad farce,” Damour said. “They all fall in and out of love.”

In the contemporary “High Speed Disconnect,” a couple meet in a bar and never put down their cellphones.

“They go through a complete relationship in 10 minutes,” Damour said.

“Let’s Not Talk About Men” features six women and a single gay man who meet and decide not to discuss men.

“That leads to some difficulties, especially when a good-looking waiter walks in,” Damour explained.

The plays are recommended for mature audiences due to adult themes and language. The black-box theater is the first in CNM’s 50-year history. The former document storage warehouse also marks the debut of the college’s first-ever associate of arts degree in theater.

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