No Strings presents Impossible Marriage and An Iliad

Algernon D’Ammassa performs in An Iliad at the Black Box Theatre. Courtesy photo
Algernon D’Ammassa performs in An Iliad at the Black Box Theatre. Courtesy photo
No Strings Theatre Company presents Impossible Marriage by Beth Henley and directed by Nikka Ziemer. Impossible Marriage runs through Sunday, February 15, at the Black Box Theatre, 430 N. Downtown Mall in Las Cruces. The play is a delightful and entertaining comedy about the difficulties involved in love and marriage.

Just in case marriage is not sufficiently challenging, add a generational age span, an asexual partner, a love which crosses religious boundaries and life which invades and destroys southern proprieties and you have impossible situations. Performances of Impossible Marriage are Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., Sundays, February 8 and February 15, at 2:30 p.m. and a Thursday performance on February 12 at 7 p.m.

Tickets are $12 regular admission, $10 students and seniors over 65 and all seats on Thursday are $8. Call 523-1223 for reservations and information.

Returning to the Black Box Theatre is the highly acclaimed touring production of An Iliad with Algernon D’Ammassa and Randy Granger. This production played to sold-out houses at the Black Box Theatre last February. Performances are Saturday, February 28, at 8 p.m. and Sunday, March 1, at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $12 general admission and $10 for students and seniors over 65. Reservations: 523-1223.

The performance is held in association with Theatre Dojo. The highly acclaimed Obie award winning adaptation of Homer’s Iliad is one the New York Times called “spellbinding…an age-old story that resonates with tragic meaning today.”

Based on Robert Fagles’s translation of Homer’s epic, this modern play retells the ancient tale of gods, goddesses, warriors and their families, and the endless battles of human history with a gripping, modern voice.

An Iliad opens on an empty stage with the entrance of a strange, apparently homeless man with a beat-up suitcase. He begins to sing in ancient Greek, a song seemingly as old as humanity, and a song he has been singing for a very long time. He has difficulty remembering all of the words and names, but the stories possess him and we see it is his destiny to tell this tale — and ours, to live it, generation after generation.

This new production of An Iliad brings together two accomplished artists from the Las Cruces area in a collaboration of storytelling and music. Algernon D’Ammassa plays the role of the Poet with music improvised by celebrated musician Randy Granger on a variety of instruments. The presence of live music harkens to an ancient tradition wherein traveling poets would accompany themselves on a lyre.

D’Ammassa is a theatrical actor who has also appeared on film and television. He trained professionally at the Trinity Repertory Company in Providence, Rhode Island and has traveled all over the United States and to Europe as a performer and teacher. Since 2011, he has worked regularly with the No Strings Theatre Company of Las Cruces, and he teaches at the Creative Media Institute at New Mexico State University.

Granger is a native New Mexican of indigenous ancestry. He is a master of various instruments, combining Native American flute with musical traditions encompassing rock, jazz, mariachi, and more. Based in Las Cruces, he tours the United States as a solo musician and teacher.