Los Alamos Playwright Robert Benjamin’s New Play Opens Tonight In Santa Fe

Steven Oakey and Kat Sawyer, performing ‘Marty’ and ‘Carol.’ Photo by Alix Hudson
Alex Thorne and Stephanie Dees, performing ‘Andrew’ and ‘Jessica.’ Photo by Alix Hudson
Los Alamos Daily Post

Los Alamos playwright Robert F. Benjamin’s newest play Not Quite Right, co-written with Elaine Jarvik, opens tonight at Teatro Paraguqas in Santa Fe.

There are nine performances through Sunday, March 8, Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m.

Benjamin describes the play as “an upbeat comedic family drama.”

Not Quite Right features a misshapen pot, a marathon dance and a 3 a.m. mêlée over “what’s enough?” Three couples grapple with dueling expectations in the wee hours of the morning when everything seems, “not quite right.”

“At 3 a.m., people are vulnerable and cranky,” Benjamin said. Like Benjamin’s Salt and Pepper, Not Quite Right includes characters over 60 as well as younger characters.

Beth Kennedy Jones directs the production. The actors include Kat Sawyer, Steven Oakey, Stephanie Dees, Cindy Coulter, R.J. Laino and Alex Thorne.

Teatro Paraguas produced Benjamin’s hit Salt and Pepper in 2014, which also was directed by Beth Kennedy Jones. Teatro Paraguas also has produced Benjamin’s plays Parted Waters.

Benjamin, who retired from Los Alamos from Los Alamos National Laboratory in 2004 after a 30-year career as a scientist said, “Becoming a playwright has been a wonderful Journey I was not expecting.”

Jarvik and Benjamin met in high school in Silver Springs, Md. “We had an inspiring 11th grade teacher, Bill Tunis who convinced us that someday, we could write plays,” Benjamin said. Now some 50 years later, both writers are indeed playwrights.

The two playwrights have worked together on one-act plays, but this is their first full-length collaboration.

“Elaine and I both retired early and that brought up the theme of expectations for both of use,” Benjamin said.

Jarvik’s full length plays have been produced by the Salt Lake Acting Company, Pygmalion Productions and Plan-B Theatre. Her 10 minte play Dead Right was produced at the 2008 Humana Festival of New American Plays in Louisville, Ky., and is included in the textbook The Bedford Introduction to Literature. Her 10-minute play Music. Poem. Music. was produced by The Vortex Theatre in Albuquerque in 2010, where it won both the Jury Award and the Audience Favorite Award.

Teatro Paraguas Studio is at 3205 Calle Marie in Santa Fe. Tickets are $20 general admission, $18 seniors, $15 students and union members. Call 505-424-1601 or email teatroparaguas@gmail.com for reservations.

R. J. Laino and Cindy Coulter, performing ‘Tom’ and ‘Sally.’ Photo by Alix Hudson