National Theatre of London in Telluride
There aren’t many places you can go see a National Theatre of London production besides, well, London. Unless, that is, you’re fortunate enough to live near a movie theatre which can be used to show these productions onstage – and you also live near someone who cares enough about plays and playwriting to fund them.
In Telluride, that person is Jennie Franks, who is best known as artistic director and founder of the Telluride Playwrights’ Festival. For a week each summer, TFF incubates new plays and playwrights, and then, with the help of audience critiques, sends these fledgling scribes and their scripts out into the wider world.
But Franks is also passionate about great theatre from established playwrights (you could argue that that’s the point of the Playwrights Festival, and what she hopes to help younger, less-established writers become). Through the NT Live program, she is bringing great productions to the Palm Theatre.
It’s not really live, of course; in order to watch a truly live West End production, simulcast from London at a proper start time of, say, 7:30 p.m. (their time), you’d have to be at the Palm at 12:30 p.m. (ours). But National Theatre Live is probably the next best thing: its productions get you into a theater, sharing the communal experience of a performance with an audience. It is live, in the sense that it is filmed in front of a live audience, but unlike in live theatre (because of the way cameras are positioned around the auditorium during filming) all the seats are good. “You can see expressions on the actors’ faces that you’d miss if you were watching a live performance,” Franks said. Not to mention that seats at the Palm ($15) cost a fraction of what you would pay in the West End.
The latest offering from National Theatre Live is award-winning playwright Alan Bennett’s new comedy, People, and on Tuesday night, it shows at the Palm. “The story of an outré aristocrat living on in a splendid but decaying pile,” wrote New York Times critic Ben Brantley, the play offers witty, “sometimes lyrical Bennett-esque observations about the state of the nation as reflected in the state of a house.” Bennett also wrote the play, and the screenplay for, The Madness of King George. Brantley recently deemed a play by Bennett, and Peter Morgan’s The Audience, starring Helen Mirren, “two of the most cherished” tickets in London right now (The Audience plays the Palm in June). Tickets for the National Theatre Live production of Alan Bennett’s People are $15. It screens at 7 p.m.
Art that Glows in Montrose
There’s a theme to Around the Corner Gallery’s latest installation: Luminosity. “I thought, why not mix it up?” explained gallery owner Pat Brown. A theme, she explained, inspires artists. It gives them something to shoot for.
Luminosity is also a good word to describe colors in springtime, and so the installation was off and running. Over thirty artists contributed one work a piece (“we had to draw the line – we don’t have that much gallery space,” Brown said) in media ranging from acrylics, oils and pastels to sculpture, ceramics and photos. The exhibit is up through the end of this month, and Brown is already cooking up topics for later this year. In August, the theme will be Up Close and Personal. She welcomes the public’s submissions, via digitized photo (if you must) or in person (preferable) to this juried show anytime after July 1st. In October, the theme will be Textures: “I figure that’s perfect for bark and leaves.”
Kierstin Bridger, Rosemerry Trommer and National Poetry Month
National Poetry Month may be drawing to a close, but you’d never know it – the Western Slope is bustling with verse. Poets are a tribe around here, encouraging and looking out for one another in a way that is rare for creative professionals. As one Front Range scribe remarked in an email to poet Art Goodtimes, “I think you Western Slope poets are miles ahead of us all here, community-wise, public poetry-wise, and the way you bond and support one another. I wish I lived over there.”
If it sounds clubby, it’s not. Local poets support not only one another, but anyone, it seems, who cares about verse. The “Objective” on Rosemerry Trommer’s resume reads: “To help people find the poetry in their lives.” Trommer, and local poet Kierstin Bridger, will do just that over the next few weeks, as both reprise popular writing courses.
First up is Trommer’s class (we’ll get to Bridger’s in next week’s column). ‘Lost in Motherland: Writing to Discover Who We Are(n’t),’ to be held at the Wilkinson Library Saturday, May 4 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., will explore the perceived loss of self that attends being a parent. As one mother told the poet, “With my first child, I lost my interests. With my second, I lost my identity.” “What happens when we ask, ‘Who am I?’” Trommer wondered. It’s a question she has likely asked herself; her latest book is entitled The Less I Hold. And continues to explore: here is “Someday,” a rumination on “transformation and how we hold ourselves back,” she said. “That’s a pretty common theme for me.”
For so long I’ve been telling myself
the same thing. Someday, I say,
as if Someday were a fat striped cat.
When I’m paying bills, Someday
comes to the legs of my chair
and tries to leap up into my lap. Someday
comes to sleep at night on my pillow
and purrs in my ear. Someday
hisses at the window when it’s dark
and she senses something’s there.
Someday always wants to be stroked,
except when she doesn’t. And when
I am lonely, distracted by clouds,
Someday curls into my side
and nuzzles my hand as if to say,
though I ignore her, I’m here.