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Theater department’s adaptation of “Hookman” debuts today

NMSU’s Department of Theatre Arts and the American Southwest Theater Company will present an adaptation of Lauren Yee’s existential slasher comedy “Hookman.” The play opens today and will run until March 5 at the ASNMSU Center for the Arts. The first out of five showings begins this evening at 5:30 p.m. 

American Southwest Theatre Company and NMSU’s Department of Theatre Arts present “Hookman.” The play opens tonight and runs through March 5. (Image courtesy of NMSU’s Department of Theatre Arts)

This adaptation of “Hookman” is directed by Larissa Lury, an actress with a passion for theatre in its entirety. Without setting expectations too high, Lury shared her hopes for the upcoming show.

“My hopes are that we can stay grounded and supportive of one another in a way that helps us be really daring on stage,” Lury said.

The majority of the cast and production team members are NMSU students. The lead role of Lexi and the role of Lexi’s best friend, Jess, are played by NMSU students Eliza Phillips and Liliana Tuda.

Both Phillips and Tuda say they feel ready for opening night, but according to Tuda, the work is never truly done.

“I feel like you’re never done. I think there’s always a little bit more that could be perfected. Although being perfect is not always possible, we can get pretty close to it,” Tuda said.

Phillips also shared openly when asked whether she felt prepared for tonight’s show.

“Yes and no? I’m very happy with how much work we’ve done because it feels like such a really fast and short process … we’ve put everything together so fast and it’s amazing. I’m definitely ready. I still need some improvement, but I feel like I’m ready to go,” Phillips said.

Phillips, who is performing the leading role of Lexi, says she has put a great deal of time into acquainting herself with the main character, Lexi.

Lexi, played by Eliza Phillips, kneels over her best friend Jess, played by Liliana Tuda, during a rehearsal on Feb. 20, 2023. (Photo courtesy of NMSU Department of Theatre Arts)

“I did a lot of character work. I really sat and thought about the character because she’s going through a lot and I really wanted to make sure that I portrayed someone whose going through such deep things correctly. She’s deeply flawed, but she’s very human and I wanted to make sure I showed all elements of her. I did a lot of pulling the character apart and analyzing different elements about her,” Phillips said.

Though the director and cast feel fairly confident, a majority of people involved collectively agree that they worked under an extremely short production timeframe.

NMSU student and stage manager Casey Standridge says that preparation went incredibly well, but it was stressful because the team had just over a month to prepare.

“Things have been moving so quickly. We had five weeks from start rehearsals to this week, and putting an entire show together in such a short timeframe makes you shake because you’re super excited,” Standridge said.

Standridge said she doesn’t expect the short timeframe to have an impact on the quality of the play.

One thing made clear by all cast and crew members is that anyone and everyone should attend at least one showing of “Hookman.” Tickets may be purchased online and general admission is $20 with special discounts offered to students, seniors, military and adolescents under 18. Viewer discretion is advised for mild adult themes, language and gore not suitable for younger audiences.

One Comment

  1. Liliana Tuda and Eliza Phillips are two of the best actors I’ve seen. Congratulations Lili and Eliza. You both have bright, great futures in acting and good luck and blessings on the rest of your life’s new endeavors.

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