Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Three New Plays Illuminate the Stage

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Three New Plays Illuminate the Stage

Article excerpt

There are few regional theaters that are successful and well- enough endowed to maintain a resident company of 20 actors, four directors, and three designers, but the Denver Center Theatre Company is one exception.

For their contribution to American theater, the company has been awarded this year's prestigious Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre. The award will be presented June 7 at Radio City Music Hall in New York.

Under the direction of Donovan Marley, the DCTC has come of age. Members of the DCTC actually make a decent living in the mile-high city. They own homes, keep their kids in school, and still get out to do the odd gig in movies, commercials, or New York theater in the off-season. The award comes at a good time. The Tony was recommended by the American Theatre Critics Association. Coincidentally, ATCA meets this week in Denver for its annual confab, and knowing for more than a year that the critics were coming, almost the entire Denver theater community has decked itself out in its Sunday finery. Three world premieres greet the critics at the DCTC's stages in the Denver Performing Arts Complex: Taking Leave, a play by award- winning playwright Nagle Jackson; Life Is a Dream, an adaptation by the 17th-century Spanish master Pedro Calderon de la Barca; and an experimental transmutation of Cervantes's Don Quixote, by Polish director Pavel Dobrusky. The three plays are thematically linked, though vastly different in style and intent. All three deal with the ephemeral nature of reality, distinguishing between what is real and what is imagined. What may seem normal to one person may seem mad to another. "Taking Leave" is based on the playwright's own experience as caregiver to his aging mother. The three daughters of an ailing professor meet in his home to decide what to do for (or with) him. One sister wants to find a good nursing home, one refuses to believe he needs that much care, and the third offers a unique solution. The professor, who is failing mentally, had once been a distinguished Shakespearean scholar, and references to "King Lear" run in counterpoint throughout the play. …

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