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Spotlight: Humor versus pandemic

Christina Stock Photo Pictured, from left, are Lynetta Zuber, Guy Malone, Josh Carrell, Chris Wipperman, Mike Bozeman, Jeorganna Simoes and Adele Bozeman. Not pictured but in the cast are Patti Stacy, Alethea Hartwell and Keaton Hartwell. The Roswell Community Little Theatre cast is seen here listening to directions by Zuber, director of the upcoming comedy, “10 Ways to Survive in Quarantine.”

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Roswell Community Little Theatre presents

‘10 Ways to Survive in Quarantine’

By Christina Stock

Vision Editor

Roswell Community Little Theatre (RCLT) presents its new play, “10 Ways to Survive in Quarantine” — a timely choice as the second play of the season, after all, the saying goes that humor is the best medicine. The play was written by Don Zolidis, who wrote “10 Ways to Survive A Zombie Apocalypse,” and is a comedy highlighting the human spirit, laughing in the face of the worldwide pandemic, something that connects every person in rural as well as in urban environments where everybody has been isolated and social distancing. Out of this, Zolidis made a play mirroring what men and women do to keep sane, more or less successfully.

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Zuber said that for this play she barely had to be a director, after all, the actors have been in that “role” since March when COVID-19 social distancing and other measures were put in place in New Mexico.

“It’s a play that we can all relate to in one way or another, maybe not as extreme as some other places like New York or Chicago, but we are still feeling the effects here, of course. What I like about it is just going ahead and finding the comedy in it all. Even though we might not like what’s going on and (are) feeling frustrated at the moment, it’s nice to still find the funny and laugh about it. With hopes that things will get better, who knows when and from who, whatever. That’s basically it. As a director I just fell in love with it. This writer, I’ve done his work before, he is a very good writer, very open to working with new projects that he has written. He is willing to work with other directors and take input. It just made sense. It was just perfectly fit for right now. Basically, let’s go find the fun in all the drama and all the stuff that’s happening, let’s be cautious and safe, but still have fun and live our life the way we feel that we need to and just enjoy the time to get to laugh and enjoy a fun show,” Zuber said.

Each of the actors cast will perform several roles as the play itself is written in today’s Zoom style, Malone said. “I’ve loved coming to the theater performances and they sort of wrote me in because I’ve been doing a lot of promotion for them with the ROS-guide calendar to the hotels and such. I haven’t been on stage doing this, but I’m a ham. Like most of us I have three roles in this. Everybody is going a little nuts, or housebound crazy, so we’re demonstrating the extremes people are going to keep themselves busy, and I wish I could say sane, but once you see the production, you’ll see, no, some of these people are just over the edge.”

Malone’s characters are keeping busy playing Shakespeare with a duck and teddy bear, another thinks he is an athlete and his favorite character a male/female blogging influencer who gives advice about what to wear in a pandemic.

Joshua Carrell is the disciplinary hearing officer at the Roswell Correctional Facility in real life. The theater gives him the perfect balance. Asked how he deals with the stress of the pandemic, he said, “Just work, work and more work and then coming here, of course, has been a nice thing. I am playing a couple of different roles. I play a man who is dealing with it by having theater with stuffed animals and I am also someone who’s dealing with it through physical fitness, even though he is not very good at physical fitness, laughing. He is lifting weights with candy bars. Then I am playing a third character who is a grown man, but his wife is in charge and she’s grounded him from his phone and internet, right in the middle of the pandemic and he’s not taking it well.

“Maybe there are people who are dealing with (the same issues), but we’re making light of it. It’s a good time, and that’s what people need right now,” Carrell said.

Also performing are Adele Bozeman, Mike Bozeman, Alethea Hartwell, Keaton Hartwell, Jeorganna Simoes, Patti Stacy and Chris Wipperman. Lights and sound are in the hands of Angela Wipperman. Set construction is by Chris Wipperman and Donna Paul is in charge of cast makeup.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced that, due to the increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations throughout New Mexico, renewed public health regulations went into effect on Oct. 16, stating that mass gatherings of more than five individuals are prohibited in an indoor or outdoor space.

According to RCLT Board Vice President Dan Coleman, masks, sanitizer and social distancing will all be utilized to ensure the safety of the audience and there will be ushers as well.

Showings of “10 Ways to Survive Life in Quarantine” are planned for the RCLT, 1717 S. Union Ave., Oct. 23 to 25 and Oct. 30 to Nov. 1, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. For more information, visit roswelltheatre.com or call 575-622-1982.