A gangster is playing just in time for the holidays. | Arts


“3 Wise Guys and One Christmas Eve” written by Taos Onstage President Charlotte Keefe, adapted from “Three Wise Guys and Dancing Dan’s Christmas” by Damon Runyon will be performed two nights only at the Taos Community Auditorium, 133 Paseo Del Pueblo Norte, December 14 and 15 Dec. at 7:30 p.m.

Pam Morris, Taos Onstage publicist and co-director of the play, said, “We’re interweaving the two stories with new characters added and some embellishments. However, the unique style and language of Runyon known as ‘Runyonais’ has remained intact. It’s a fun, classic holiday story set against the backdrop of the Prohibition era and the shenanigans that followed during those unique times.

Taos Onstage President Charlotte Keefe, who co-directs with Morris, wrote: “Damon Runyon was not only a well-known sports journalist in the 1930s, but was also famous for his Broadway-inspired stories during Prohibition. . Runyonesque characters are gamers and con artists who have nicknames such as “Harry the Horse, ‘ ‘The rarely seen child, ”The Lemon Kid, ‘ and “Bon temps Charley”. The first thing we notice about these characters is that they speak Runeon, a vernacular with unique attributes. You may have noticed that the header of this section was worded in a particular way – it’s Runyonese.

Keefe explained, “What is the Runyonese? First of all, as you’ll see in our play, the characters have a mastery of the slang found on Broadway that was popular in the 1920s and 1930s, and some of the slang invented by Runyon. Runyon’s voice is the perpetual present, devoid of contractions and an elaborate attempt at finesse that evokes a way of life through language. In the world of Runyon, a sage at the bottom of the hierarchical ladder is an expert in good manners by necessity. His stories always have an unnamed narrator with formal diction and careful good manners. In our play, the narrator has a name and is a woman but speaks Runeese.

Keefe and Morris wrote: “Playwright Damon Runyon was born in Kansas and raised in Colorado and moved to New York and made his first mark as a baseball sports writer, but he didn’t find his muse. among this lot. He insinuated himself into the world of Broadway gangsters by sitting at Lindy’s, a Jewish grocery store open all night. The bad guys had no objection to reporters hanging around and listening because the assumption was that reporters were harmless.

“In 1929, the kingpin of the New York Jewish Mafia, Arnold Rothstein ‘The Brain’ was mysteriously murdered in a hotel. Runyon thought he knew him well for all the hours he spent listening to him, so he figured he should write something about him, but he didn’t know how to approach it. Then he wrote the gangsters he had observed as comic fictional characters and began translating his accumulated experience of Broadway violence into comedy, selling his first story to a Hearst magazine and continuing to write on his own brand of gangster characters with his love of language in the foreground. Runyon was one of the most popular comedians of the 1930s.

The cast includes a host of local talent including Ana Chavez, Rick De Stefano, Tuesday Faust, Blair Jackson, Mike Morris, Ben Teitelbaum, Karen Thibodeau, Tym Thurston, Cindy Valerio and Amber Vasquez Thomas with Jeffrey Marks as crew and photographer.

Taos Onstage rehearses at the Wildflower Playhouse, 1339 Paseo Del Pueblo Sur, a promising theater owned by local actor, writer and producer James Avery. The theater space features an open lobby, raised floors and seating, and a beautiful green room for actors, according to Morris, and is slated to open in the spring of 2022.

Performances take place at the Taos Community Auditorium, 133 Paseo Del Pueblo Norte, on December 14 and 15 at 7:30 p.m. For more details on Taos Onstage and to purchase tickets, visit their website, taosonstage.com.


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