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New Mexico State University's Attic Theater presents two one-man plays

New Mexico State University's Attic Theater, located in the Hershel Zohn Theatre, will present two one-man plays, "The Vanity of Jack" and "The Santaland Diaries," at 8 p.m. Dec. 12, 13 and 18-20.

ays use limited sets, costumes and lighting to focus primarily on the single actor on stage.

"It is like taking a microscope to concentrate on a single character," director Mike Wise said.

Wise said one-person plays are often challenging because of the effort needed to make it interesting through the entire play. However, he explained that the characters develop significantly as the actor and director have more time to explore different approaches.

"These are the two best community actors in town," Wise said. "Their ability to memorize words is astonishing."

"The Vanity of Jack" is a play written and performed by Patrick Payne, NMSU graduate student of creative writing, for an independent study course. Payne will play the role of Jack Kerouac, an American writer who coined the phrase "Beat Generation" to label the social and literary movement of the 1950s. Kerouac wrote the novels "On the Road," "The Subterraneans" and "Big Sur." Payne read many biographies and researched the life of Kerouac to write the 45-minute monologue. Payne included personal opinions and some of Kerouac's writings in the play.

"The Santaland Diaries" is produced by Lo-Fi Productions, an independent production company started by local actors in the Las Cruces community. Brandon Brown, actor for the Black Box Theatre and Las Cruces Community Theater, will play an "out-of-work slacker who decides to become a Macy's elf during the holiday crunch." "The Santaland Diaries" was adapted from David Sedaris novel "Holidays on Ice" and has been performed in theaters around the United States. The play "explores the collision of Christmas and American consumerism."

"The Vanity of Jack" is free to the public. "The Santaland Diaries" is $5 and will run directly after "The Vanity of Jack." There is limited seating and guests are asked to arrive early. Reservations will not be taken.

For more information, contact Wise at (505) 646-5418.