I was fortunate enough to go on an incredible trip to Denver this last weekend with the Casper College theatre club (the Bakkhai). We had an awesome time, and saw some diverse and amazing theatre.
We left for Denver on Friday morning, and it was a four hour drive to Denver. When we got there we had a few minutes to hang at the hotel before being rushed to the Buell Theater at the Denver Center for Performing Arts. Here we saw a production (one of the last) of The Lion King, which opened on Broadway a few years back. Sooo….
The Lion King
First off, I’d like to say that I’ve never seen such an amazing technical and artistic production. The costumes blew my mind, because they didn’t try to disguise the people as animals, but instead merge the human and animal form. The animals were all mechanical suits worn by actors, and they were INCREDIBLE. When the giraffes came on, the whole theatre started to cheer, because they were that amazing. 3/4 of the stage could be mechanically raked (tipped) up or down. There were about a dozen tracks, nearly invisible, that scenery could run on. To put it simply, it gave me shivers. I could say more, but I’ll make this a more basic review.
As to the acting, I’m not sure what to say. The style of the show made it seem like every actor was just a person, and they were unconvincing. Seeing as nearly ALL of the actors were like this, I hesitate to blame the actors. Regardless, it was entertaining.
Overall, I liked the show. It was entertaining and mind-blowingly beautiful. The tech was superb and motivating. In the end, though, it would not rank high on my list.
After the show we went back to our hotel and crashed. My room woke up five minutes before we had to leave for a tour on Saturday morning. Even with this annoyance, we were in high spirits. We went to the Denver Center and got a cool tour of it’s theatres. Nothing special, in the end; though their facilities are fantastic.
We hung out at the 16th St. Mall before heading off to the Theatre on Broadway, a dive of a place in a very… cultural part of Denver. Here we saw…
Debbie Does Dallas
Allow me to begin by saying that this show is VERY controversial. Half of the people who enter at the start are gone by intermission. Why? Well, Debbie Does Dallas was adapted from a real porn. There is no DIRECT hardcore pornography in the show, but there is a wet T-shirt scene and one part where you see the silhouette of a hardcore sex scene. The show as a whole is…. uncomfortable. Many people get so uncomfortable with the overt eroticism that they leave, and it is very understandable. Without seeing the show, though, this is quickly turning into something unreadable.
SO: To put this simply, the show DOES have a moral and a point, about how people get caught up in sacrificing for things they don’t really want. That said, it is also a very funny and very uncomfortable show. If you can take a bit of overt and unhindered sexuality, then I’d definitely suggest seeing this show. It’s not neccessarily a GOOD show, but you leave with a thousand thoughts, and that is what makes it so powerful.
After this we left Denver for another cool show. Half of us were silent, and the other half were talking about what we’d just seen. It made for a facinating social environment.
We moved on to Boulder, CO. What a cool place. We spent a little time in the downtown area, and I found it just as amazing as Old Town in Ft. Collins. The environment is relaxing and pleasant, even on a cold November evening. There was a guy playing the didgeridoo, and I had a good conversation with him. Good times were had by all. But that wasn’t why we were in Boulder.
We were in Boulder to see Crazy for You at the Boulder Dinner Theatre. We rolled on in, and my first impression was very positive. The place was pretty and soft and comforting. We had some good conversation over pretty good food for a while until the show started.
Crazy For You
My first experience with this show was not positive, back in 10th grade when I ran running crew for it. To put it bluntly, the show is tacky and ridiculous. Its only redeeming point is that the music was by Gershwin. But the music was written before the script, so the music doesn’t always really match what is going on.
That said, this production was fantastic. The set was simple but suggestive, and the singing and dancing was magnificent. I was blown away by the talent I saw on that stage. Wow. And have you ever seen anyone time step on pointe? Probably not. If you aren’t sure what I mean by that, look it up. Basically, this woman tap danced while on her toes in ballet shoes. It was cool.
The lights and sound were good, the acting was good, and it was a great evening. I’d highly suggest this place for a good meal and a great show. I’m not sure what else to say about this. In the end, I suppose, it was good, but not something that you carry with you the rest of your life. Unlike the last show we saw…
We headed back to Denver and stayed one more night at the hotel. We woke up early and headed off to Laramie, to see the University of Wyoming’s presentation of…
Sexual Perversion in Chicago
Let me just say that this show was amazing. And it had nothing to do with the tech, this time. The show is the lives of two men, Danny and Bernie, in 1976. They are both into the whole “player” thing, and Bernie is the stereotypical suave, over-sexed young guy. The plot is basic: man sees girl, man and girl have sex, man and girl have relationship, man and girl break up. But there is something written in that just begs whether that is what is really going on. The subtleties of phrases and motion all play together to make a really thoughtful play about life. In the end, you really have to talk about what happened in order to understand it.
And it’s definitely not a show for the kids or the faint of heart. For example, there is one line that created much debate and discomfort. The main female character says, “Ask me if I like the taste of cum.” while they are in bed. That loose social environment is shown in great detail by the author, David Mamet.
When all is said and done, I really enjoyed the show. It made me laugh out loud repeatedly, and it also made me think a lot about life and relationships. A damn good show, with good acting and a great story. See it sometime if you can.
That was a very, very brief discussion of each show I saw on my little trip. Each one had many complexities that are difficult to explain, and even more difficult to describe without you having seen the shows. If anyone has seen any of these I’d love to discuss them further, but for now I’ll leave you all with that.