Play shows how small ‘what ifs’ affect life

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Sara Van Cleve
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The latest show at the Arvada Festival Playhouse is a bit like “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” meets “Groundhog Day.”

The 11 Minutes Theatre Company is performing Yasmina Reza’s “Life X 3” at 7:30 p.m. Fridays, May 10 and May 17, and Saturdays, May 11 and May 18, and at 2:30 p.m. Sundays, May 12 and May 19 at the Arvada Festival Playhouse, 5665 Olde Wadsworth Blvd.

“It’s basically three renditions of the same night,” said artistic director and 11 Minutes Theatre Company founder Janine Kehlenbach. “Two couples come together for a ‘dinner party,’ and the idea is that it’s the same day, but it happens in three ways.”

The combination of human relations and repetition is why Andy Anderson, who plays Hubert Finidori, said it’s “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” meets “Groundhog Day.”

“People always wonder ‘What if this one thing went differently, what would happen?’ and this play shows them that,” Kehlenbach said.Couple Henry and Sonia, while trying to get their young son to bed, play host to Hubert and Inez Finidori for a “dinner party,” which was scheduled to happen the next day.

In each act, the interactions between all of the characters change, even in the smallest way. Human interactions are a focus of much of Reza’s work, Kehlenbach said.

Across the three acts, few consistencies remain, but two that do are an apple and cosmic halos.

Sonia and Henry’s young son wants an apple as he lies in bed, after brushing his teeth, which he isn’t supposed to have.

The apple causes tension between the couple and between the couple and their guests.

On the opposite end of the size spectrum, but almost as equally important, is cosmic halos.

Henry spent the past few years researching if halos are round or flat and is about to publish a paper when Hubert tells him another team already did so, causing Henry much distress, specifically about his career.

“There’s a whole metaphor about galaxies in the show, specifically about spiral galaxies,” said Todd Black, who plays Henry.

“The thing about spirals is they get closer and then go back out, get closer and go back out. That’s how the third act is.

He slides into a euphoric state and then right back into depression then he comes back again.”

The characters continually bring up the halos research throughout the play and at one point Inez, before being told by Hubert to stop asking about something she’ll never understand, asks Henry what difference it makes if halos are round or flat.

“To our everyday life,” Henry replies. “None.”

“I hope that this play gives the audience something to think about and they think about our place in the world and what our purpose is on Earth,” said Dawn Bower, who plays Sonia.

While the story is important to the meaning, what’s equally important is the language.

“Every word means something,” Bower said.

Though it was translated from its original French to English for American performances, the meaning of each word remains the same, Black said.

Tickets to “Life X 3” are $15 per person and are available by calling 720-333-3499 or at the door the day of the show.