Never underestimate the power of a good story. They can provide comfort, particularly during challenging times like the one the world is currently living through. So, it’s with a sigh of relief that Stories on Stage will be returning for its 20th anniversary.
“The thing I love about theater is it really lets you know that you’re not alone,” said Anthony Powell, artistic director of Stories on Stage. “As human beings, we tend to think nobody has been through what we’ve been through. But good theater tells us there’s something universal, and that we’re not alone. It applies now more than ever.”
Stories on Stage kicks off its season at 7 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 25 with a performance of “Simple Pleasures,” featuring Jessica Robblee, Tim McCracken and Annie Barbour. The show - like all this season - will be livestreamed from Boulder’s Nomad Theatre.
What the organization does is somewhere between a staged reading and an intimate theatrical production. A single actor (or sometimes a small group) performs the selected story, but they go beyond simply reading the piece.
“The actors inhabit these roles and use all their heart and humor to bring the story to life,” Powell explained. “Is it a reading? Yes, but better yet, it’s a kind of story time for grown-ups.”
The organization had the chance to prepare for this unusual season over the summer by hosting Zoom performances and events, and discovered that this kind of storytelling works fairly well in a digital format.
“Our approach has always been a very intimate experience, and with cameras it can be even more so,” Powell said. “We can do things like closeups with cameras that we couldn’t do before. It will be a new experience for audience, but still has that theatrical feel, even if it’s coming from a screen.”
The rest of the season includes October’s “Don’t Look Away — Black Stories Matter,” while November celebrates the annual collaboration with Buntport Theater Company with “Morale Is at an All-Time High.” “Making Merry” returns in December and in January the queens and kings of drag tell their stories in “American Drag.” In February audiences will be treated to “A Kiss is Still a Kiss.” Fans of country will be serenaded in “Linda and Me: Raised on Ronstadt” and in April “Color Plates” returns incorporating slides of famous painters and their paintings. The season concludes in May with “Still Crazy After all These Years.”
“We tried to find pieces this year speak to that (fact that we’re not alone) more than in other seasons,” Powell said. “All theater people have been hit by the pandemic, so what a gift to be able to hire some great actors and tell these stories.”
For more information and tickets call 303-494-0523 or visit www.storiesonstage.org.
History Colorado Center celebrates American Democracy
The History Colorado Center, 1200 Broadway in Denver, partnered with the Smithsonian Institution to host the American Democracy: A Great Leap of Faith exhibit through Jan. 3.
The exhibit uses a variety of artifacts and methods to inform and challenge visitors on a variety of topics, including political differences and civil rights. It also features “The New Four Freedoms” by Colorado artists David Ocelotl García, Rochelle Johnson, Cori Redford, and Carmen Richards. The artists created works based on four American values: freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear.
For tickets and information, visit www.historycolorado.org/exhibit/american-democracy-great-leap-faith.
Clarke’s Concert of the Week — Courtney Marie Andrews from Nashville
Courtney Marie Andrews makes the kind of country/folk music you’re not likely to hear on any country radio stations, which is too bad. Her soft, plainspoken narratives have more in common with the roots of the genre than most of what you will hear.
Her 2020 album, “Old Flowers” is one of the year’s strongest and I’m certain that will hold true during her special, one-take performance of the entire album, which will be livestreamed at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 24.
Andrews will be accompanied by Mat Davidson (of Twain) and alt-country balladeer Erin Rae. It should be an entirely magical show - visit https://link.dice.fm/courtney-marie-andrews for tickets.
Streaming style — CinemaQ Film Festival
With its new Virtual Cinema platform, Denver Film appears to have cracked the code to providing cinephiles and supporters alike access to the highest quality films. And now the platform will be the home of the 2020 CinemaQ Film Festival.
Running from Friday, Sept. 25 through Thursday, Oct. 1, the festival allows viewers to stream a variety of films that all celebrate the LGBTQ+ community.
The Virtual Cinema platform will also be used in the upcoming Denver Film Festival, so this is a great time to check out some enlightening films and see how the system works. Visit www.denverfilm.org/cinemaq-festival/ for CinemaQ films and passes.
Clarke Reader’s column on culture appears on a weekly basis. He can be reached at Clarke.Reader@hotmail.com.
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