Back in early March of last year, I had a piece all written about “Small Mouth Sounds,” the final play of the Arvada Center’s 2019/2021 season. I had spoken to director Lynne Collins about the show, why it would connect with audiences and what any who see it should come away with. And then the theater — and theaters all over the country — went dark.
So, there was more than a little déjà vu when, nearly 14 months later, I had Collins on the horn to talk about the show… again, this time as the center’s first foray into in-person theater since the pandemic properly kicked-off.
“It was very sad we never got to open the show, especially because it really ended up speaking to what we’ve all been through,” Collins said. “Looking at it after the last year, it felt so of the moment, and so healing, it made sense to bring it back.”
Bess Wohl’s “Small Mouth Sounds,” runs at the Arvada Center, 6901 Wadsworth Blvd., through Saturday, May 30. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday through Saturday, 1 p.m. on Wednesday, and 2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. According to provided information, this makes the center the first theatre in the region to receive approval by the Actors’ Equity Association to produce indoor theatre with an in-person audience.
Featuring Josh Robinson, Jessica Austgen, Kate Gleason, Geoffrey Kent, Jake Mendes, Kevin Rich and Annie Barbour, the show takes place in a silent yoga retreat where six strangers try to find some sense of peace - and themselves. Collins reckons the show is about 80 to 90 percent silent - a feature that invites audiences to pay attention to really get to know the characters.
“What you learn about these people and their journeys is based entirely on their actions and interactions. It requires a detective’s mind,” Collins said. “Audiences can’t just wait for someone to tell them what’s going on. They have to lean forward in a way to catch what’s happening.”
After so long performing mainly via screens, it was an emotional experience for practically everyone involved to be back in the theater. And being in front of an actual audience again? Forget it about it. But it won’t be exactly the same as before. The show has been moved from the Black Box to the larger Main Stage to accommodate social distancing guidelines and limited ticket sales.
What remains the same, however, is what the show says about the power of connection and its importance for each of us.
“All of the characters are somewhat lost, lonely and looking for meaning in their lives in a very complicated world. Everybody felt that this last year,” Collins said. “We also all felt how much we need other people with us on our journeys. That’s the key theme of the play, and we feel it so intensely at this time.”
For more information and tickets, visit https://arvadacenter.org/events/small-mouth-sounds.
‘Road Work’ ahead at K Contemporary
Denver’s K Contemporary art gallery, 1412 Wazee St., is welcoming the warm weather with its new solo exhibition by Denver-based artist Andrew Jensdotter, called “Road Work.” The exhibition begins on Saturday, May 15, and runs through Saturday, June 26.
According to provided information, the show — Jensdotter’s first regional solo exhibition following his 2019 show at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Denver — “features new work by the artist, including sculpture, drawing and painting, on both the first and second floors of the gallery.”
The gallery is limiting the number of guests at any one time and requiring advanced reservations, which can be made at https://calendly.com/kcontemporary/andrew-jensdotter-road-work.
Clarke’s Concert of the Week - Van Morrison from Real World Studios
Van Morrison is responsible for some of my favorite music of all time - he has at least one perfect album (“Astral Weeks,” but I’d gladly listen to arguments that he has multiple), numerous songs that have been ingrained in our collective psyche (looking at you “Brown Eyed Girl” and “Into the Mystic”) and generally has made the world better with his writing.
Morrison has a new album out and is celebrating with his first-ever virtual performance. The Livestream will be broadcast from the famous Real World Studios in England at 1 p.m. on Saturday, May 8. Tickets are just $15, and trust me, that’s the cheapest price you will ever find for a live performance from the man. Visit www.nugs.net to get a spot.
Streaming style - ‘A Black Lady Sketch Show’
Robin Thede is a comedic renaissance woman — it seems there’s practically nothing she can’t make absolutely hilarious, and the best proof of this so far is “A Black Lady Sketch Show,” which is finally airing its second season.
In addition to Thede, the show features Ashley Nicole Black, Gabrielle Dennis, Laci Mosley and Skye Townsend, and all the women (as well as some expertly selected famous faces) are throwing nothing but heaters. You’ll laugh until it hurts, while simultaneously being aghast at the fact that it’s taken so long for talent of this caliber to be given a spotlight.
Catch-up on the first season and see new episodes Friday nights on HBO.
Clarke Reader’s column on culture apears on a weekly basis. He can be reached at Clarke.Reader@hotmail.com.
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