Directing is a relatively new role for Vaughn Irving, a Santa Fe native and seasoned Equity actor with 10 years’ worth of regional theater under his belt.
He was a company member of Flying V Theatre and Crash of Rhinos Productions in Washington, D.C. and a member of the teaching faculty at D.C.’s National Conservatory of Dramatic Arts before deciding to come home in 2015 to assume the role of artistic director at Santa Fe Playhouse.
Knowing that Santa Fe audiences would appreciate seeing a comedic play at the end of February, when it’s still dark and cold outside, Irving scheduled a production of Paul Slade Smith’s 2006 award-winning play “Unnecessary Farce” to open at the Santa Fe Playhouse on February 23. To date, this hilarious farce has had more than 200 productions worldwide.
The play is set in two low-budget motel rooms. A mayor plans to meet with his female accountant in one room while, in the adjoining room, two undercover cops struggle to catch the act of embezzlement on videotape. The whole scene becomes horribly confusing as no one’s sure of who’s in which room, who’s watching the video, who’s taken the money, who’s hired a hit man and why the accountant keeps taking off her clothes.
“The set is very complex,” Irving explains. “The two rooms have matching mirrors and connecting doors. There are eight doors on stage, and all of them have to be able to be slammed. Actors are constantly running from one room to the other.”
Relishing in the mayhem of mistaken identities and misinterpreted surveillance videos are Irving’s actors Kevin Atkinson, Pat Beck, Silas Harris, Charlotte Jusinski, David McConnell, Matthew O’Kelly and Melissa Christopher.