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NMSU THEATRE DEPARTMENT

‘Fefu and her Friends’ marks NMSU theater’s brilliant return to the stage

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How wonderful it was to again be in the ASNMSU Center for the Arts, 1000 E. University Ave., waiting with great anticipation to see the NMSU Theatre Department’s latest offering: opening night of “Fefu and Her Friends.”

It’s the first live, onstage performance at NMSU since the pandemic interrupted the run of the brilliant “25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” in March 2020.

I am so happy to report that NMSU theater students, faculty and staff have returned in fine fashion. “Fefu” is fabulous!

This is a unique production that takes the audience into an absurdist play from the mind of Cuban American playwright María Irene Fornés, and even takes you physically on stage and behind the curtain – something I had never done before as an audience member. It was an unforgettable experience.

“Fefu” is brilliant work by NMSU Theatre Department Assistant Professor Nichole Hamilton and her entire cast: theater students Sage Drake, Dominique Gomez, Darcy Harman, Yasmine Jahangiri, Kamryn Neill (a marvelous Fefu, short for Stephanie), Eliza Phillips and Jensen Stell and Theatre Department adjunct professor Christa Fredrickson.

I’ve been in a few plays performing on the same level and a few feet away from the audience. There is nothing like the experience for the actor or for the viewer. It is the most intimate of connections because the audience is in the actor’s space and a part of it.

In one of the play’s backstage scenes, Dominique Gomez was alone in a bed with audience members about 3 feet away. It was breathtaking. In another, Christa Fredrickson set a sonnet to music, singing and playing the ukulele. So moving.

I would sprinkle a whole box of gold stars on the cast and the crew of this remarkable production (how I loved the refrigerator that was carved out of the set) for their work in these deeply personal and wonderfully unusual scenes behind the curtain. Their acting and singing on stage was equally outstanding. Every actor in this cast has her moments to shine and collectively they are dazzling.

Remaining performances of “Fefu” are at 7:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday, Oct. 1-2 and a matinee performance at 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 3.

Don’t miss this show; you may never get a chance to see another one like it.

Tickets are $20 for adults, $12 for senior citizens, $12 for students and $6 for under age 18.

Seating is limited to 80 for each performance.

Buy tickets at www.onthestage.tickets/new-mexico-state-university.