Sanctuary: A Medieval Murder Mystery

Written by W.G. Allen
Directed by George Williams

Poster by Caitlin Hecsh
Click on the poster to purchase tickets
The Adobe Theater, known as the "little hidden jewel in the North Valley," frequently premieres original works by local authors in its season offerings. In 2016, The Adobe delighted audiences by presenting both Rich Rubin's Caesar's Blood and Joseph Sorrentino's The Gavones of Philadelphia. In 2015, The Adobe produced Richard Atkins DelikateSSen and Peter Fisk's A Crack In The Wall. 2013 saw W.G.Allen's Lost Letter, a poignant romance set in the mythical town of Oxbow, Oklahoma, during the Dust Bowl.

Mr Allen's newest script, Sanctuary: A Medieval Murder Mystery will be premiered at The Adobe in February, 2017. The leap from 1930's Oklahoma to 14th Century England seems like quite a jump, but Allen says it all makes sense. "I was raised in Oklahoma," he says, "and read and re-read everything in the local library about Medieval England. King Arthur, Robin Hood, Ivanhoe, Richard The Lion Hearted, Wicked King John, and The Crusades. You name it, I read it again and again."

Sanctuary: A Medieval Murder Mystery is set in 1349. Edward the Third is King, Clement the Sixth is Pope, and The Black Death - The Plague - is well on its way to destroying one-third of the island's population. In a small un-named town, young Thomas Fletcher, accused of murder, claims sanctuary in a small chapel overseen by Father Amaury D'Godfrey. Thomas swears he is innocent, but can offer no proof. The King's Knight responsible for law and order in the area agrees with Thomas' accusers and is prepared to hang the boy. Father Amaury is torn between his duty as a priest, his friendship with the Knight, his fondness for the murder victim, and the possibility that Thomas is indeed innocent. In the midst of this dilemma, Father Amaury is visited by his younger sister who brings tragic news from home. A complex plot, realistic characters, and a surprise ending combine to make Sanctuary: A Medieval Murder Mystery a very satisfactory night of theater.

Director George A. Williams has assembled a fine cast of Adobe Theater regulars and newcomers for the show, including Stephen Zamora as Father Amaury, Ronda Lewis as Lady Anna D'Lacey, Clifton Chadwick as Sir Walter Nesbitt, Yannig Morin as Sir William Nesbitt, Larry Welz as Cedric, Marie Nido as Goodwife Baker, Emma Tyrrell as Lucy, Riley Carson Lewis as Thomas Fletcher, and Will Zmroczek as Robbie Stoneman.

Sanctuary: A Medieval Murder Mystery opens Friday, February 10th and plays 4 weekends through Sunday, March 5th, 2017. Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30pm and Sundays at 2:00pm, with a ‘Pay What You Will’ performance (proceeds are shared between the cast and crew) on Thursday, February 23rd, at 7.30pm. Tickets are $17 general, seniors and students $15. Reservations 505-898-9222 x 1 or online.

Click here for the cast and crew bios.


The Shadow Box

Written by Michael Cristofer
Directed by Frederick Ponzlov

Poster by Caitlin Hecsh
Click on the poster to purchase tickets.
The Shadow Box debuted on Broadway in 1977, and won that year's Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the Tony Award for Best Play.  A 1980 television adaptation, directed by Paul Newman, was  nominated for three Emmy Awards - Outstanding Drama Special, Best Television Adaptation, and Best Director. In 1981, The Shadow Box won the Golden Globe for the year’s “Best Motion Picture Made for Television.”

The nine-person play uses a deceptively simple setting to tell three powerful stories. The Shadow Box takes place in three Hospice-like cottages on the grounds of a large hospital. Each cottage is occupied by a very different type of family whose only commonality is that each has one member facing the end of their life. Every member of every family, though, has to grapple with the inevitable and try to make sense of it all; some are successful, and others less so.

The term “shadow box” can be used as both a noun and a verb.  As a verb, the phrase means “to spar with an imaginary opponent.” As a noun, it describes “a display case.”  In a sense, the small cottages of The Shadow Box are the noun, and the character’s actions are the verb. The audience sees the characters “on display” in a specific setting as they “shadow box” with an irresistible opponent in a match that can have only one ending.

The Adobe’s presentation of The Shadow Box is being directed by Frederick Ponzlov, who relocated from Los Angeles to Albuquerque about a year ago. Tackling a play that won so many awards might give many potential directors pause, but Ponzlov relishes the opportunity.

“I saw the original production on Broadway in 1977,” Ponzlov says. “When the curtain fell, I could barely leave my seat. It had such an incredible impact, and thoroughly altered my viewpoint on the end of life. I believe most of the people who left the theatre that night were changed, too. That’s the power of theatre, and the kind of theatre I want to do. It provides incredibly powerful roles for actors. The performances I witnessed that night 40 years ago have lived with me as if I saw the play yesterday.”

The cast consists of Dean Squibb, Nick Pippin, Bridget Kelly, Jean Effron, Kathleen Welker, Ruben Muller, Kristin Elliot and Ben Wagner.

The Shadow Box opens on March 17th, 2017 and runs through April 9th, 2017. Friday and Saturday night performances begins at 7:30pm, and Sunday Matinees are at 2:00pm. All tickets for Opening Weekend (March 17th through 19th) are $10. Ticket prices after Opening Weekend are $17 general admission, with various $3 discounts for seniors, students, member of The Albuquerque Theater Guild, active & retired military, and first responders. Group rates are available, too. There is a Thursday PWYW performance on March 30. Tickets can be purchased here.