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Going for ‘wall-to-wall’ laughter

SANTA FE, N.M. — After 11 years in Santa Fe, Ron Bloomberg has absorbed enough of the quirks particular to this town to supply a full plate of ingredients to poke fun at.

Actually, he claims to have found enough within the first week.

He’s sprinkled those ingredients into a menu of three short plays, all of which he hopes will provide “wall-to-wall laughs.” They will be performed today through Sunday and March 28-29 at the Black Box Theater in Warehouse 21.

“In today’s world, when you turn on the TV or look at the headlines, I think people need a little escape,” he said. “The overall theme of this is it’s not ‘The Iceman Cometh.'”

He hastened to add that he loves Santa Fe.

“But I lost a great line” by moving here, the playwright added. When people used to ask him how he liked living in his former home of Los Angeles, he said he always answered: “I could be unhappy anywhere.”

But now he’s happy, he said.

Bloomberg had his first full-length play produced a year ago in Santa Fe: “Queen of Madison Avenue,” which played at the Lensic with Ali MacGraw in the title role. He said that play is being shopped to various repertory companies around the country.

After that production, he came up with an interesting approach to force himself to pen some new plays. Back in November, he said, producer Linda Krull and he booked Warehouse 21 for five performances in March.

“I did not have the slightest idea what I was going to put in it,” Bloomberg said.

With the incentive of a deadline – money is the other inspiration cited by this former scriptwriter, who worked on a variety of television shows during the 1980s – he came up with the three short plays that will open tonight.

‘The Unreal Housewives of Santa Fe’

Celine Rosario Lopez, left, and Deborah Dennard rehearse a scene from "Unreal Housewives of Santa Fe."

Celine Rosario Lopez, left, and Deborah Dennard rehearse a scene from “Unreal Housewives of Santa Fe.”

This opener has its roots in a show Bloomberg did on local radio station KSFR. He said he needed to fill seven minutes, so he wrote “The Unreal Housewives.”

“Everyone loved the title,” Bloomberg said.

Dennis Carroll is a co-writer on this play, fleshed out from the radio segment, which is a parody of all those “Real Housewives” shows that clutter the TV listings. This play doesn’t even have a plot, Bloomberg said, referring to it as “strictly a romp.”

“The cast is delicious,” made up of six comedic actresses, he said. One character is a former student from the Sorbonne and graduate of St. John’s who has nabbed her own real estate license. Two are recently married lesbians who run an art gallery. Butterfly on Lotus is a New Ager. Another is a “wonderful” Hispanic lady married to a Los Alamos scientist and the final character is a recent New Yorker who misses Bloomingdales, but still has Jackalope.

‘We the People’

This is a play that Bloomberg wrote in 2005, but dusted off and updated about a potential romantic matching of a liberal Democratic woman and a conservative Republican advance man for Jeb Bush.

“I realized I didn’t have to change anything” other than inserting some current political names, he said. “The country is even more divided than it was in ’05.”

The two meet on the Plaza – well, they’re thrown together by a friend of the woman who can’t even spit the complete word “Republican” out of her mouth.

“They’re attracted to each other, but can two people with such opposite political views develop a relationship?” Bloomberg said. “It’s funny, but it has something to say.”

He denies, by the way, that the plot was inspired by the marriage of James Carville, top strategist for President Bill Clinton’s campaigns, and Mary Matalin, who worked for President George H. W. Bush’s 1992 re-election.

“I can’t stand either one,” Bloomberg said.

‘Guess Who’s Coming to Santa Fe?’

This tells of a “couple from hell” who visit acquaintances they knew in Chicago who recently moved to Santa Fe.

“Everyone in the audience will identify with this,” said Bloomberg, who added that the story grew from a real-life incident that occurred to him. But he clammed up when nudged for details.

The couple who moved to Santa Fe are deliriously happy with their new home and dread the arrival of their visitors, whom they were happy to escape when they left the Windy City, he said. But, they figure, they can put up with them for a few days.

But the visitors are so enchanted by Santa Fe that they announce they, too, plan to move there. “It builds from there,” he said, with machinations undertaken by the current residents to convince the other couple that Santa Fe would be a terrible place to live.

You’ll have to go, though, to find out if their discouraging words force their unwelcome visitors to flee.