If we’ve learned anything from the last two years, it’s that all of us, at one point or another, will get sick. It’s not an enjoyable truth to ruminate on, but one that was repeatedly proven in the midst of a global pandemic.
And while playwright Noah Diaz wrote “You Will Get Sick” before COVID-19, the show’s themes have rarely been as pertinent as they are in modern times.
“There’s just something about the humanity of the play,” said Christy Montour-Larson, resident guest director at Lakewood’s Benchmark Theatre. “The show has a great sense of humor and also asks the right questions about your rights when you get sick, how you get through difficult times and how social/economic status makes things difficult.”
The world premiere workshop production of “You Will Get Sick” runs at The Bench at 40West, 1560 Teller St. in Lakewood, through Saturday, May 14. Performances are at 8 p.m. on Thursday through Saturday and 2 p.m. on Sunday. The cast features Peter Trinh, Edith Weiss, Sonsharae Tull, Brian Kusic and Josue Miranda.
A part of Benchmark’s “Aftermath”-themed 2021/2022 season, the show is told in the second person and explores how someone learns to live with a body that is consumed by sickness. As Montour-Larson explains, the show follows a man who receives a heartbreaking diagnosis but can’t bring himself to admit it out loud. Instead, he hires a woman to tell the people in his life that he’s sick.
“The play is funny at times, heartwarming at other times and very thought-provoking,” she said. “It’s always exciting to work on new plays, because playwrights are the backbone of the American theater and we need to support new and exciting talents.”
Diaz contributed to bringing the production to life and the theater made some bold storytelling choices, like staging it in the round. And the hope is audiences – the final but most important ingredient of powerful storytelling – will be moved by the story.
“It’s quite an honor to share this work for the first time with the Colorado community, especially because when you go see a brand-new play, you get to be part of shaping its future,” Montour-Larson said. “I hope it stirs people’s emotions and leaves them thinking a few days later. I think we’ve all developed a kind of community hunger for that energy when a group of people are all in a room together.”
Information and tickets can be found at www.benchmarktheatre.com.
A midsummer’s parking lot theatrical production
Shakespeare’s words sound great almost anywhere. It’s a kind of magic trick that few others have figured out. And if you want to hear the proof, the Denver Center for the Performing Arts (DCPA) is bringing back its Shakespeare in the Parking Lot education program.
It’ll be stopping by the Thornton Arts & Culture Center, 9209 Dorothy Blvd., at noon on Saturday, April 30. The performance will feature an abridged production of Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” centered around a pickup truck set in the parking lot. According to provided information, the cast members are local actors and DCPA teaching artists, including Shannon Altner, Ryan Omar Stack Grant Bowman and Chloe McLeod.
For tickets and other stops along the tour, visit denvercenter.org.
`Foreigners’ take audiences to Argentina
There are numerous ways for a theatrical experience to be more than something that is simply observed. In Maru Garcia’s production of “Foreigners,” she uses appointed “tour guides” to take audiences through a period of turmoil in 1970s Argentina.
Running at Colorado Free University, 7653 E. 1st Place in Denver, through Sunday, June 12 at 6 p.m. on Sundays, Wheat Ridge Theatre Company’s “Foreigners” (written by Griselda Gambaro and translated by Marguerite Feitlowitz) lets people bear witness to a time when authority spun out of control in the quest for total power. The cast includes Jim Hayes, Mellisa Taylor, Gisselle Gonzale and Suzie Duarte.
Information and tickets can be found at https://wheatridgetheatre.com/.
Clarke’s Concert of the Week — Freddie Gibbs at the Fox Theatre and Cervantes’ Masterpiece Ballroom
If you’re going to talk about the best rapper alive (I know what you’re like), then Freddie Gibbs has to be in the conversation. The Gary, Indiana, MC has been releasing top notch records for nearly 20 years, but he didn’t really hit his stride until the mid-2010s, when he collaborated with Madlib on the album, “Pinata.”
While Gibbs astounds every time he’s on the mic, he still doesn’t have the wide acclaim he deserves. But the positive aspect of this is you can still see him a great, intimate venues. And you’ll have two options this time around: you can see him at the Fox Theatre, 1135 13th St. in Boulder at 9 p.m. on Friday, April 29 and Cervantes’ Masterpiece Ballroom, 2637 Welton St. in Denver, at 8 p.m. on Saturday, April 30.
Clarke Reader’s column on culture appears on a weekly basis. He can be reached at Clarke.Reader@hotmail.com.