Rare Staged Reading of ‘What Happened Was…’ Coming to the Santa Fe Playhouse

'The play was first performed at the Paradise Theatre in NYC in 1993... it has since rarely, if ever, been performed live.'

Date October 2, 2013 at 2:31 PM

Author Staff

Publication SantaFe.com

Categories Performing Arts


What Happened Was… is a darkly humorous play that explores the personal psychic landscape of two lonely New Yorkers. Jackie, a secretary in a legal firm, and Michael, a paralegal in her office, are coworkers at a large law firm, who decide to meet at Jackie's for dinner one night. As this 'first date' plays out, the audience is guided through a mental minefield of disappointment, desolation, and desperation. Their conversation, with its awkward 'small talk', slowly reveals their unhappy lives as the two manage to surprise each other with hidden, unexpected twists of character. The play was first performed at the Paradise Theatre in NYC in 1993 followed by a screen version which went on to win the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival where it was the critics’ darling that year. It has since rarely, if ever, been performed live.

Actor Aaron Leventman received his M.F.A. in screenwriting from Columbia University. He moved from Provincetown where he was an active member of their theatre community and since living in Santa Fe, he has performed with the Santa Fe Playhouse, Ironweed Productions, Theaterwork, and the Santa Fe Performing Arts. He is also a published playwright whose works have been performed all over the country. Aaron is currently the head of programming for the Santa Fe Film Festival and the Albuquerque Film and Media Experience.

Actor Mary Beth Lindsey, after graduating from the College of Santa Fe, is a tremendously sought out actress in the Santa Fe theatre community. In addition to playing Emily in the Santa Fe Playhouse/Ironweed Production’s Our Town, she has appeared in other Playhouse productions including Benchwarmers, the Melodrama, as well as the Santa Fe Shakespeare Society’s recent production of Twelfth Night and the Santa Fe Rep’s production of The Choices We Make.

Director Michael Graves’ nearly 40-year history in the theatre in New York and California includes Shakespeare, Broadway, Off Broadway, Regional, Daytime Drama (All My Children) and experimental plays, as well as short films (Binding Silence, Letting Go, The Tom Doyle Players, Vendetta, The Seer--filmed in Sardinia, and The Infidel--filmed in Utah). Since returning to Santa Fe, he’s performed with the Santa Fe Shakespeare Society and acted/directed his one man show The Reports of My Death this past year at the Santa Fe Playhouse.

Playwright Tom Noonan appeared in the original Off-Broadway production Sam Shepard’s Buried Child. In 1986, Noonan played a serial killer in Michael Mann’s Manhunter, the first movie to feature Hannibal Lecter. In 1983 he founded the Paradise Theatre in New York. During the 1990s, he wrote various plays, including two that he made into movies, What Happened Was... (1994) and The Wife (1995). In the 2000s, Noonan appeared in Synecdoche, New York, Charlie Kaufman's directorial debut. Noonan has also made numerous appearances in TV shows, including The X-Files, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Tales From The Darkside and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. He recently appeared on Fox’s Louie and in the AMC original series Hell on Wheels

Rare staged reading of What Happened Was… by Tom Noonan
With Aaron Leventman and Mary Beth Lindsey, Directed by Michael Graves

Santa Fe Playhouse 142 E De Vargas St  Santa Fe, NM 87501, (505) 988-4262
Saturday, November 2nd at 7:30pm, $10 Suggested Donation

From a press release...