Cover of The Dramatist Jan/Feb 2022: The Motivation Issue
Southwest: We Persist
Ghost Light

At the time of this writing, Arizona reported 4,000 new COVID-19 cases yesterday. Also yesterday, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported that New Mexico cases were “skyrocketing,” though the numbers compared to Arizona remain vastly different. It has not been the springing back to life our Southwestern theatres might have hoped for, but they have moved forward with the plan of returning to live theatre. Some have found they gained something through pandemic adaptations for performance and continue to offer online options. Reviewers are back at it. Audiences are Tweeting, posting on Facebook, and talking about the shows, and artists are talking to each other, really talking to each other as they wander in the haze that continues to keep us in its fog. It’s both an exciting and perilous time.

Proof of vaccination is required by many of our region’s companies, and many artists I speak with tell me they have had to verify vaccination to perform. Those who have come to me looking for folks to hire have asked for the same thing. One can say theatres in the Southwest push to do all the right things with masking, social distancing, and air filtering, but COVID has also revealed our weaknesses—our economic, health, and racial inequalities. It has asked us to look at the brokenness of our systems—all of our systems.

Here’s the tip of the iceberg.

Our Southwestern playwrights persist. Many of them developed new works during the other moments of the pandemic and are stepping out with readings and productions. In New Mexico, playwright/performer Talia Pura offered a special presentation about Edgar Allan Poe for the Rotary Club in Los Alamos. Kirt Shineman’s The Mysterious Disappearance continues in Phoenix and the Theatre Artists Studio through November 21. I, also, want to encourage you to listen to his monologue/poem here. Also from Phoenix, John Perovich enjoyed a Minnesota production at Tom’s Virtually Theatre of The Bridge Play, available on YouTube (Virtually Theatre – Season 1. Sp. 6 The Bridge)

Monica Bauer has freshly published work in The Best New Ten-Minute Plays (Applause Acting Series). Her Porter’s Will was featured in the Emerging Artists Theatre’s New Works Series in New York City.

Germaine Shames enjoyed a performance of Act One of The Bird Lady with the National Opera Center in NYC. The piece was also livestreamed. “Song For the Disillusioned” premiered in November as part of the Composition Competition Finals. And if that were not enough, great strides have been made for the musical Naked and the musical Capri. Phew.

My play Secret Things opened mid-November at 1st Stage in Tyson’s, VA under the direction of Artistic Director, Alex Levy. I’m reading like crazy for an unnamed contest on the East Coast to keep giving y’all money, because that’s what playwrights do—we persist.

Elaine Romero
Elaine Romero

has had her plays presented at the Alley Theatre, Arizona Theatre Company, Actors Theatre of Louisville, the Kennedy Center, across the U.S. and abroad.