July 18, 2008

Playwright Turns to Ancient Rome

By Aurelio Sanchez Journal Staff Writer

Asher Ely noticed so many people are content to blend into conformity, so he decided to write a play about what it means to think and act independently.

The Bosque School senior set his play "Sicarius Aurorae" in ancient Rome because he's a big fan of the HBO series "Rome."

The work was the winning play in Tricklock Company's Sixth Annual Manoa Project: Teen Playwright and Apprenticeship Program.

The play's world premiere will be in Albuquerque and then staged in Santa Fe, along with staged readings of the competition runner- up, "Shades of Grey, Growing Darker" by Amanda Burroughs.

"I was ecstatic," Ely said of winning the statewide competition, judged by a statewide jury.

Ely said he has participated in the annual program every summer since 2004, when he was in eighth grade.

"I have a lot of good friends at Tricklock, and it's a lot of fun to work with other high school actors from other schools, and learn what it takes to do experimental theater," Ely said.

As for his play "Sicarius Aurorae," Ely found inspiration at his school and in the HBO series.

"At school, I noticed that a lot of people blend in the background and don't ever want to stand out," he said. "It made me want to write a play about conformity and individuality, and that even though it might be hard, it's important nonetheless to try to stand out."

His play is set in the year 33 B.C., the height of the Roman Empire. Rome is balancing on a tightrope as revolutionaries and dictators fight for prominence. Cassus Septimus, a simple praetorian, is caught between feuding factions.

Content to be just a part of a great civilization, Cassus finds himself suddenly singled out when he is framed for the murder of his wife. Cassus falls in with a group of vigilantes known as the Sicarius Aurorae.

He journeys down a dark road of revenge, and realizes that as he faces his enemies, he also faces himself, in a battle to discover his true identity.

Following the Albuquerque performances, the show will go to Santa Fe for a performance on Wednesday, July 23, at 8 p.m. at the historic Scottish Rite Temple, 463 Paseo de Peralta.

Tricklock Company's Manoa Project is a summer theater training program for Albuquerque-area teens, co-sponsored by the National Hispanic Cultural Center, New Mexico Arts, Albuquerque Community Foundation and Albuquerque Academy.

The program immerses students in a seven-week training program in physical theater, led by the awardwinning Tricklock Company, the 2008 "Best of Burque" winner in live theater troupe, Tricklock spokesman Chad Brummett said.

Students learn the dynamics of ensemble theater, while producing and performing a world premiere play by a New Mexico teen. The program is offered tuition free to all Albuquerque teens.

Following the shows, performers engage the audience in a dialogue, in which participants discuss themes and impact on audience and performers.

"Sicarius Aurorae"

WHEN: Today and Saturday, July 19, at 8 p.m. and Sunday, July 20, at 6 p.m.

WHERE: Albuquerque Journal Theatre at the National Hispanic Cultural Center, 1701 Fourth SW

HOW MUCH: Tickets $12 general, and $8 students and seniors, available at the door or in advance at the National Hispanic Cultural Center box office, by calling 724-4771, or online at www. ticketmaster.com

(c) 2008 Albuquerque Journal. Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning. All rights Reserved.