Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Sunday afternoon while most of America was engrossed in the Super Bowl festivities, I joined my husband and uncle for the eighth annual co-operative symposium at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, Donald R. Seawell Grand Ballroom hosted by Kent Thompson, Artistic Director of the Denver Center Theatre Company. Discussed was Plainsong a play about abandonment, grief and stoicism; a play that demonstrates how kindness, hope and dignity can restore and redeem damaged lives. Staged in “snapshots” a picture emerges of community and landscape, a community of both beauty and ugliness.

Panelist included Kent Haruf, author of Plainsong, Eric Schmiedl, playwright, and Peter Brown, photographer, moderated by Kent Thompson. There was a satisfying presentation of the collaborative process involved in adapting a book for the stage. They chose a macro representation which held many logistical difficulties some resolved by below the stage elevators and a large cast (over 30). With 50 scenes (yes, 50) and 3 acts the 2 ½ hour performance included a ranch scene determining whether cows were with calf or not, a revealing love scene, a rocking Denver party, and a painful high school classroom recitation. Learning how and why these gentlemen chose what they chose was appealing. There were times when they got it right (the Guthrie boys grieving over their mother’s departure from the family) and the times when they didn’t quite get it (the casting of Victoria).

Denver Center Theatre Company did a fine job.

The evening turned cold, a wet cold, unfamiliar to the Denver area. Since nothing was open until 5 we stopped into Starbucks for a warm cup. Conversation surrounded reminiscent recollections of family of origin. Then we walked up to Larimer Square and had a small bite to eat, bruschetta, cheese. No dessert. Not very many people out in Denver, only one other bar open to handle the “crowds.” Ah, small town living. Oh wait this is the big city.


Andy said...

for some reason, i love your writing style. the random details. the rich use of words, imagery. i could almost feel like i was there. you should really think about writing a book. besides...i thought that is what we liked about colorado. big cities feel like small towns.

Pete said...

Sounds like you had a wonderful time! Hope we can have some small town in a big town in Charlotte. Pete