Play by local author to hit stage

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Debut > Salt and Pepper at Toolshed Theater in Dixon

Salt and Pepper is a stage play by local playwright Robert F. Benjamin 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 through seven intertwined tales that celebrate life’s drama of maturing in a culture immersed with denial about aging.
Scenes are performed and produced by the Dixon Community Players.
Interwoven via theme, characters, action and language, this collection of short plays elucidates contemporary aging. Characters strive for personal happiness in a culture unfriendly to aging. As Chris Heron, a film director says in the opener, Resting Places, “DD and B (Dying, Death and Burial) is on the rise. Everyone’s doing it,” he said.
Several plays explore DD and B while others deal with rekindled romance, healing and gifts. Here are the play themes and brief synopses:
Resting Places. Invisibility. Clash between an old woman, who is an actress fallen on hard times and a novice filmmaker over invisibility and illusions. To shoot his film he needs to evict her from her “resting place” on the cemetery park bench. Starring Kristen Woolf and Chris Heron.
Warm Ashes. Second chances. Recently widowed, Ann encounters her high school sweetheart, but will she indulge in risky rekindled romance? Starring Brandon Santos and Silvana Neal.
Forever. Gift giving-receiving. Knowing that she is dying, Diane is giving away her valuables. But will her good friend Joyce accept Diane’s crown jewel? Starring Helen Kranaski and Karla Eoff.
Footwork. Healing. As a first date ends, Brenda misinterprets Joel’s offer of a foot massage. Starring Charlotte Keefe and Henry Knutsen.
Awaiting. Overcoming denial. Valerie denies diagnosis of a precursor illness while Ed prepares to become a caregiver. Starring Mose Rainault and Ruth Fahrbach.
Two Stones. Forgiveness. In this epilogue to Warm Ashes, Ann has an epiphany after a visit to the cemetery. Starring Silvana Neal.
Plots. Vows. Newlyweds at the age of 60) visit his first wife’s headstone and confront a grave misunderstanding. Starring William Hall and Julie Hanna.
Robert F. Benjamin is a New Mexico playwright. He’s 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 at several New Mexico venues, including the Toolshed at Dixon, Clearwater, Fla., and Philadelphia. 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 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, are rehearsed at the Toolshed.
Four performances only: 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday; Matinee shows are 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are $12, $10 for students and seniors.
Tickets can be purchased through PayPal at dixonplayer.com. For reservations call 505-579-4602 or email rockpool@valornet.com.
The Toolshed Theatre in Dixon is located on Highway 75, less than ½ mile off the Taos Highway, State Route 68, between Española and Taos.