One of the best things about being a smaller theater is it provides more opportunities for inspiration and experimentation. That commitment to elevating new talents and taking creative risks has been a part of Lakewood’s Benchmark Theatre from the beginning and continues in its third annual Fever Dream Festival.
A celebration of science fiction, fantasy, horror and all related genres, the festival serves as a chance for innovative stories to be told through a series of performative readings. The Festival opens Thursday, October 24, and runs through Sunday, Oct. 27 at the company’s theater, 150 Teller St. in Lakewood. Sessions will be held at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday and 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
This year’s Fever Dream includes 13 plays - four full-lengths, three one-acts and 6 10-minute shorts, all in the performance reading format. This means performers will be reading directly from the script and the physical side of their performances will be limited. Playwrights like Julie Blauvelt, Jim Moss and Natalie Sacks will all get a chance to show audiences what they’re capable of creating.
Directors and actors in the performances include many names that will undoubtedly be familiar to local theater aficionados - artists like John Hauser, Ryan Goold, Chloe McLeod and Jenna Moll Reyes.
Created by Haley Johnson and Rachel Bouchard in the summer of 2015, Benchmark has made telling stories with a fantastical or sci-fi element a key part of their annual season. Just last season Thomas Gibbon’s “Uncanny Valley,” made its regional premiere at the theater.
“This isn’t really your typical science fiction `robot’ play,” explained director Rachel Rogers at the time. “It’s much more philosophical, dealing with the questions of the accountability of the creator for the creation, what it means to be conscious and human, and how to treat synthetic beings. In many ways, it’s an update on the Frankenstein story.”
For a taste of what humanity’s fears, escapes, futures and alternate realities could be, succumb to this fever dream. Tickets are available for single sessions and the entire festival and can be purchased at visit www.benchmarktheatre.com/fdf.
The great Pumpkin Nights returns
Pumpkin Nights, the nationally known seasonal event, will be back at the Adams County Fairgrounds with all kinds of arts and fun for the entire family.
Pumpkin Nights features seven different Pumpkin Lands to life with more than 3,000 hand-carved real and synthetic pumpkins.
Areas to explore include Forbidden Pumpkin City, Great Pumpkin Hall, Pumpkin Reef and Enchanted Pumpkin Forest. There will also be Halloween activities like a Spirit of Pumpkin Fire Show, tasty treats from local vendors, an outdoor moving screening and more.
The event runs at the fairgrounds, 9755 Henderson Road in Brighton, from Thursday, Oct. 17 through Sunday, Nov. 3. For tickets and details, visit www.pumpkinnights.com/denver.
Clarke’s Concert of the Week - Hiss Golden Messenger at Globe Hall
Autumn is the perfect time for folk music. There’s something about the warm sounds and acoustic guitars that typify the genre that just sound better as the trees empty and temperatures drop.
Which makes the decision for M.C. Taylor and his band, Hiss Golden Messenger, to release a new record and take to the road perfectly timed. The album, “Terms of Surrender,” is another collection of stunningly pretty tracks paired with Taylor’s insightful lyrics. There’s a little bit of gospel, country and even indie rock blended with folk in the group’s musical style, and it can be quite the heady brew when all is said and done.
In support of the album, he’ll be performing at the Globe Hall, 4483 Logan St., at 9 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 18 through Sunday, Oct. 20. Head to www.globehall.com for details.
Pumpkins and beers at Foothills Art Center
Pumpkin carving can be as simple or as complicated as the carver wants. There are the classic designs (see “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” for a tutorial on how that’s made) and extremely elaborate and artistic options as well.
Those looking to learn something new about carving (or forget, depending on how the evening goes) can participate in the Foothills Art Center’s Art on Tap pumpkin carving competition.
Held from 6 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 24, at the center, 809 15th St. in Golden, this 21 and older event will feature beer from Golden City Brewing. The center will supply tools for carving, and attendees should bring their own pumpkins.
For more information, visit www.foothillsartcenter.org.
Clarke Reader’s column on culture appears on a weekly basis. He can be reached at Clarke.Reader@hotmail.com.
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