Review: Beets Brings World War II Home to Colorado

Categories: Theater

theater-beets-01.jpg
Andrew Uhlenhopp and Drew Hirschboek in Beets.
Beets
Read and Rant Productions
Aurora Fox

My mother grew up in what is now Slovakia, and she used to tell a story about one of the Russian prisoners who'd been sent to work on her family's farm during World War I, when she was still a little girl. It seemed their bull had escaped, and when she wandered unsuspecting into the field, it charged her. She remembered running for her life, desperate because she knew there was no way to outrun the huge, raging creature -- and then the sounds behind her stopped. She turned and saw that the prisoner had leapt in front of the bull at great risk to his own life, caught the animal by the horns and turned its head, at which point the bull simply walked away. Yes, she assured me, taking the bull by the horns is not just a metaphor -- though it requires intense strength, both mental and physical. What my mother wanted to convey to me was her overwhelming gratitude, mixed with her bewildered understanding that the man who had saved her life was universally despised as the enemy.

Beets, a thoughtful, historical play by local writer Rick Padden, is set in Berthoud, Colorado, during World War II, when German prisoners were sent to this country and many ended up working in American fields. Although nothing in it exactly parallels my mother's story, you learn a lot from the script about prisoners of war and the mixed feelings of the local people who deal with them. And there is one eerie similarity to my mother's experience.

See also:
Hat's Off to The Motherfucker With the Hat

More »

Playbill: Three New Plays in Denver for January 28-February 1

Categories: Theater

the.aliens.1.jpg
Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company
Casey Andree and John Jurcheck as Jasper and KJ in BETC's The Aliens.
While the Denver Center Theatre Company premiere of Benediction, the final installment of a Kent Haruf trilogy adapted for the stage by Eric Schmiedl, might be the biggest news on local stages this weekend, regional companies big and small will also be powering up for February with a blend of classics and offbeat dramas. Here are a few to get you started.

See also: The Occidental Moon & One Night Of Thunder


More »

Review: Hat's Off to The Motherfucker With the Hat

Categories: Theater

theater-motherfucker-01.jpg
Rachel D Graham / RDGPhotography
Kurt Randell and Karen Slack in The Motherfucker With the Hat.
The Motherfucker With the Hat
Edge Theater

The glory of The Motherfucker With the Hat, now receiving its regional premiere at Edge Theater, lies in author Stephen Adly Guirgis's dialogue, which is swift, surprising, inventive, aggressive and often staccato, and boasts a fling-about, take-no-prisoners energy. Despite the tough title, the streams of profanity, the constant hints of violence, and the tendency of the protagonists to hop into bed with just about anyone at any moment -- all claims of love and loyalty be damned -- the play is, at its core, a love story, a sort of Puerto Rican, edge-of-society Romeo and Juliet (no, not at all like West Side Story!) and with a heart as dewy-tender as a May morning.

See also:
Best Theater Season 2014 -- Edge Theater Company


More »

Edith Weiss on 5 Lesbians Eating Quiche, Charlie Hebdo and the Terrors of Standup

Categories: Comedy, Theater

theater-lesbian-1.jpg
Emily Paton Davies and Lindsey Pierce in 5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche.
"It's one of the funniest things I've ever read. It's joyous, a little outrageous." Edith Weiss is talking about 5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche, the play she's directing that will open Friday January 23 at the Avenue Theater -- and she knows all about funny: She made her living as a standup comic for years.

Her career began in the late '80s at George McKelvey's Comedy Club, where she was part of an improv group. "George wanted us to open the show, which means you also do standup, so I got a lot of stage time," Weiss remembers. "That's really important for a comic. I ended up going on Star Search; I did military tours to the Balkans, Japan and Korea in the '90s. Standup is the scariest thing I've ever done, really terrifying. You wrote it. You performed it. When you work for the military you're not supposed to do religion, sex or politics, which doesn't really leave much."

See also:
Best Director 2012 -- Edith Weiss

More »

Playbill: Three Front Range Shows for January 15-18

Categories: Theater

Molly.Killoran.and.Jan.Cleveland.jpg
Molly Killoran and Jan Cleveland in Vintage Theatre's Other Desert Cities.
You can't say the local theater scene isn't diverse: This week's premieres include one of the world's happiest musicals, the adventures of a toxic family reunion and a historical drama with a Colorado theme. Keep reading for details.

See also: Edge Theater, The Motherfucker with the Hat


More »

Review: Charles Ives Take Me Home Hits Home in a Powerful Production

Categories: Theater

theater1-charlesives.jpg
Kate Berry as Laura in Charles Ives Take Me Home.
Charles Ives Take Me Home
Curious Theatre Company
curioustheatre.org

There are only three characters in Charles Ives Take Me Home, now receiving its regional premiere in a stunning production at Curious Theatre Company, but you hear more than three voices. And while the plot can be explained in a few words, there are many levels of meaning within it.

See also: Best Theater Bar 2014 -- Curious Theatre Company

More »

Literary Calendar: Three Book and Poetry Events in Denver for the Week of January 12-18

casa_mayan_restaurant_600s.jpg
Auraria Casa Mayan Heritage Collection
Revisit Casa Mayan and other vanished Denver eateries at BookBar on Friday.
This week, you can explore short-short stories, enjoy a tasty slice of long-gone Denver culinary history and listen to dramatic readings of poetry at celebrations of the printed word. Keep reading for the details.

See also: Melanie Crowder: Audacity


More »

Laura Norman on Landing Back in Grounded, Opening at the Dairy Center

Categories: Theater

lauranormanbydanielleonard.jpg
Daniel Leonard
Laura Norman as the Pilot in Grounded.
Laura Norman is an actors' actor who's been on the theater scene for years, but hasn't made much of a public splash. In his recent True West Awards, arts journalist John Moore called her "the best local actor you hardly ever get to see." Perhaps that's because she's quietly self-effacing in person. Or perhaps because, while some fine actors dazzle and flash, Norman sinks deeply into her roles to reveal the gleaming souls of apparently unremarkable people.

In 2013, however, she moved into the spotlight, winning universal critical praise -- along with Best of Denver and Henry awards -- for her subtle performance as a devoted typist in Ghost-Writer. And last year she sealed the deal, playing a pilot in George Brant's searing one-woman play, Grounded, presented by the Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company at Denver's Avenue Theater. Now the production is returning to home ground, with a two-week run at the Dairy Center for the Arts that starts with a preview January 8 and officially opens January 9.

See also: Grounded Is Right on Target in BETC's Powerful Production

More »

Playbill: Four Plays in Denver and Boulder for January 8-11

Categories: Theater

IAMOW.Greg-Alan-West.3.jpg
Greg Alan West stars in I am My Own Wife at Town Hall Arts Center.
New year, new seasons: Local theater companies are kicking off 2015 with glittering reruns, romantic comedies and repertory fare, among other things. Here are four of the noteworthy openings this weekend.

See also: Charles Ives Take Me Home

More »

Adam Stone, aka Screw Tooth, Bites Into Indiegogo Campaign for 2015 Projects

Categories: Theater

screwtoothtooth.jpg
Screw Tooth
Adam Stone, a 2014 Westword MasterMind who often works under the moniker of Screw Tooth, has less than one week left on his indiegogo campaign to raise money for 2015 projects. And he has a lot on his (lower) plate.

See also: Buntport Theater Revives an Audience Favorite About Tommy Lee Jones

More »

Now Trending

Loading...