Dixon Community Players Present World Premier of ‘Salt and Pepper’ by Robert Benjamin

Brandon Santos and Silvana Neal perform in ‘Warm Ashes,’ one of seven one-acts that make up ‘Salt and Pepper.’ Courtesy photo
Kristen Woolf and Chris Heron in ‘Resting Places.’ Courtesy photo

Staff Report:

Salt and Pepper by Los Alamos playwright Robert F. Benjamin is a gently provocative stage play about aging with grace, courage and humor, while exploring quirky but realistic relationships and situations not unknown to those of a certain age.

Eleven characters lead the audience through seven intertwined tales that celebrate life’s drama of maturing in a culture immersed with denial about aging.  

Salt and Pepper is innovative because of the connectedness among the plays. Interwoven via theme, characters, action, and language, this collection of short plays elucidates contemporary aging.

In the seven one-acts that make up Salt and Pepper, mature characters strive for personal happiness in a culture unfriendly to aging. As Chris, a film director, says in the opener, Resting Places, “DD&B (Dying, Death and Burial) is on the rise. Everyone’s doing it.” Several plays explore DD&B while others deal with rekindled romance, healing and gifts.

Benjamin has had two other full-length plays produced multiple times, plus productions of nearly 20 short plays. Parted Waters, his second full-length play was commissioned by the Arizona Jewish Theatre Company, which premiered the play, March 2009. It’s been produced a number of times at theatres around the country. Parted Waters, produced by Teatro Paraguas of Santa Fe was an official New Mexico Statehood Centennial Event during 2012 and it continues to be performed in Santa Fe.

The seven one-acts that make up Salt and Pepper are being directed by two different directors. Resting Places, Forever, Awaiting and Plots is being directed by Jane Ayles from Taos. Her scenes are rehearsed in Taos and then brought to the Toolshed to join the other one-acts the week prior to opening. Warm Ashes, Footwork and Two Stones, directed by Kay Peters Johnson, and are rehearsed at the Toolshed.

Johnson has performed in many of the Dixon Community Players productions, and had her directorial debut with the popular production of A Tuna Christmas at the Toolshed last November.

Jane Ayles, originally from England via California, settled in Taos in 2007. She opened at the Space Theatre with sold out performances of Someone to Watch Over Me, followed by such hits as The Dining Room and Peter Pan. This is her directorial debut at the Toolshed.

Holly Haas, artistic director the Dixon Community Players, is well known to Los Alamos audiences for her set designs for NM Dance Theatre and her five-year stint as head of the theater department  at Los Alamos High School. After 25 years of working in professional theater, Haas has brought her passion for theater to Dixon. She helped create the Dixon Community Players in To date Dixon Community Players has put on five major musical productions and raised over $10,000 for various local organizations.

The Toolshed, the brand new home of the Dixon Community Players, is located on  an old lavender farm. The facility is equipped with a commercial kitchen, theatrical lighting and a sound system, and can seat 75 people comfortably at rounds of 10 or up to 140 in rows for a performance on a small stage. The Toolshed is located in Dixon on Hwy 75 #68.

All of us encounter aging, both in ourselves and in those we love. Explore that time of life where the challenges increase along with the years. See Salt and Pepper to laugh, cry and embrace the act of aging.

Salt and Pepperwill be performed for one weekend only, June 7, 8 and 9. There are four performances:  Friday June 7 and Saturday, June 8 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, June 8 and Sunday, June 9 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $12 for adults and $10 for students and seniors.

Tickets can be purchased through PayPal at www.dixonplayers.com or for reservations call 505-579-4602 or email rockpool@valornet.com. Directions to the theatre can be found on the website.


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