Spotlight on the Arts: Something Something Theatre’s production of The Hall of Final Ruin

(pulsing music) – Hello and welcome to
Spotlight On The Arts. I’m Mark McLemore. The latest production from
Something Something Theatre is inspired by the
true story of a woman who lived in Santa
Fe in the mid-1800s. She ran a gambling parlor
and built an independent life for herself and
her granddaughters,
but complications like love, death, and
the American Army begin to make life difficult. Here to represent
Something Something Theatre is director Alida Holguin Gunn. Alida, thank you for being here. – Absolutely, thank
you for having me. – So how much of this
play would you say is based on realism
and how much is magic? – Oh goodness. Well as you were saying the
play is based on this woman who did really live,
she had a life. And yet really she’s just the
inspiration for the play. I think the playwright, Kelly, wanted to tell a story for modern audiences about things that moved her in
the story of this woman. So it’s a completely
imagined play and in that imagined reality
there’s this whole other aspect of the death car driver
coming to take La Tules away from her life, from her
grandchildren, from her friends, from her family, and from
the life that she’s created. – And this is a character
that sounds like it’s not entirely a
flesh and blood person. – No, Dona Sebastiana,
the death car driver is this traveler through time. She’s kind of this
amalgamation of like a chola chicana
kind of person and she goes wherever she wants, she sees whoever she wants, and she comes to tell you and help you have a
good death, she says. – Well what was one
of your reactions when you first read this play? – It’s not very often
that I read a play and then I fall in love
with it right away. I think for me, as
soon as I read it and I start seeing
pictures of what I think it should
look like on stage, then I know that I’m
already invested. I think also the complex
and yet comical stories within the play, I think Latinos, like many
other cultures, are really good at
laughing at ourselves and that’s really where
the dark humor comes in in this play because we do
laugh at death quite a bit and all of it’s complexities. It’s a way of processing
all the hardships of life. – Well what was one of
the biggest challenges
that you faced when mounting this production? – One of the biggest
challenges is that we’re taking on a period piece. The play is set in 1846, right at the beginning of
the Mexican American War. And costuming a
play that is period, finding corsets for all of the
women is really a challenge. I have to thank
Arizona Theatre Company for helping us a little
bit in those regards. – Well when you’re
dealing with a cast that has a matriarch figure
and her granddaughters, and this adversary, this sort of mysterious
supernatural adversary, do you see that kind of
chemistry carrying on when they’re off stage as well? – Absolutely! In fact
that’s what I look for. Just in the casting room when I have all these actors here
reading these different parts. I’m looking at how well they
interact with each other and they’re taking
a leap of faith and I’m taking a
leap of faith as to how well this
will go in the end. And it’s been really a
wonderful experience for me. I hope that they’re
also enjoying it. But I love watching
them together, I love them getting to
know each other better. The more interaction that
is happening outside is showing itself on stage. The more they get to
know each other here, they’re bringing those
relationships with them. – Well, quickly Something
Something Theatre is one of the newer
companies in Tucson. What’s something that
you’d like our viewers to know about Something
Something Theatre? – That Joan’s heart is in
this amazingly beautiful place and that doing new work
is so important to her. We need the voices
of new writers in our community and
beyond and the importance of producing work of women
is a really beautiful thing that I can get behind. – And you were speaking
of Joan O’Dwyer – Yes, Joan O’Dwyer
– One of the theaters founders (pulsing music)
My guest was Alida Holguin Gunn, the director of The
Hall of Final Ruin, written by Kelly
McBurnette-Andronicos. Something Something
Theatre presents the play through March 10th at the Temple of Music and
Arts Cabaret Theater. That’s at 330
South Scott Avenue. Thank you for watching
Spotlight On The Arts.

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