Reflections on a Summit that Reached Higher & Higher
Feb 8-10, 2013 — The mood at the Denver Center Theatre Company’s 2013 Colorado New Play Summit on February 8-10 reflected the weather that greeted it: bracing, often sunny, always exhilarating. Now in its eighth year, this annual event has become a highlight of the season and a magnet for its dedicated audiences that come from all over the map and seem to get bigger, more varied and more exuberant every year.
On offer were two full productions of plays that were read at last year’s Summit—
|Lauren Feldman’s Grace, or The Art of Climbing, in which a young woman works her way out of depression by finding release as she learns to rock climb |
|Michael Mitnick’s Ed, Downloaded, a wild experiment in multimedia that posits the future possibility of downloading the contents of the brain of a dying man. Is it, the play asks, really such a good idea after all? |
These productions were joined by this year’s readings of five highly imaginative new plays in all spaces of the Helen G. Bonfils Complex. In addition, a giddy, no-holds-barred late-night Playwrights’ Slam, at which playwrights are invited to read from new works in an intimate and relaxed atmosphere, joyously reaffirmed the unstoppable energy of the entire weekend.
The five plays read at podiums include:
|Laura Eason’s The Vast In-Between, which examined a marriage in mid-life crisis with intelligence, subtlety, humor and some open questions; |
|The risible self-importance of a small town arts council made for crackling one-liners in The Most Deserving, a comedy by Catherine Trieschmann; |
|Marcus Gardley transported Homer’s Odyssey to the streets of Harlem and other environs in a slang satire, titled simply black odyssey and sporting both muscle and poetry |
|Matthew Lopez took us on the hilarious yet tender journey of an out-of-work performer and about-to-be Dad who finds the most improbable (and uproarious) solution to his desperate need of a job in The Legend of Georgia McBride |
|While Karen Zacarías dug into one of the country’s hottest political topics in her adaptation of Just Like Us, a book by Colorado’s First Lady Helen Thorpe. Thorpe and Zacarías lay bare the painfully complex ramifications of immigration, legal and illegal, without blinking or oversimplification, as they examined the lives of four Latina Denver high school students—two legal, two not— trying to carve a path to a viable future. |
The more than 650 guests who came from far and near were a fired up crowd that included industry types and theatre professionals, DCTC subscribers, trustees, playwrights, directors, foundation reps, agents, members of the national press and other dedicated followers of the Summit, many of whom are making this an annual pilgrimage from other cities and states. The place was humming, the networking mile-high, the houses full and the excitement as inspired and stimulating as ever.