Classical theater carries a lot of negative connotations for many people — it’s too stuffy, wildly out of date and indecipherable to modern audiences. But if you see the classics done right, they can be just as invigorating and moving as the latest storytelling.
The approachable touch is just what Miners Alley Playhouse is bringing to its production of Anton Chekhov’s classic comedy, “The Cherry Orchard.” Based on a translation by Stephen Karam, the show is at once hilarious and thought-provoking.
“I knew we had the cast that could do this show and I really wanted to take the opportunity to present it to our audience,” explained Len Matheo, Miners Alley’s artistic/executive director and director of the production. “I think this version tells the story the way it is meant to be told. It’s both funny and farcical while being bittersweet.”
“The Cherry Orchard” runs at Miners Alley, 1224 Washington Avenue in Golden, from Friday, Oct. 13 through Sunday, Nov. 5. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and at 2 p.m. on Sunday.
The show focuses on the family of Madame Lyubov Andreievna Ranevskaya (Mare Trevathan), an impoverished landowner who has returned to the family estate before its set to be auctioned off. The family has several options to save their estate, but are too paralyzed by their own denial to determine a way out.
“In modern parlance, the family and world is at an inflection point,” Trevathan said. “It’s at this point between capitalism and communism, old and new and agriculture and industry. What will all the characters do in the face of such change?”
The differences between social classes are as ripe for comedy and interrogation now as when Chekhov first wrote the play in the early 20thcentury. It was a time of revolution in Russia and that is mirrored in some of the many changes American society has been going through over the last decade.
“The play isn’t a straight farce, despite how funny it is. There really is a lot of depth to what’s going on,” Matheo said. “I want people to come for the laughs and be surprised by the full scope of the show.”
In the end, what “The Cherry Orchard” accomplishes is the same as all great entertainment — something that keeps you engaged long after the story is finished being told.
“We’re aiming to put on a performance that is alive, funny and true,” Trevathan said. “You’re definitely going to have an interesting car conversation on the way home and audiences will understand why Chekhov is a household name.”
Information and tickets can be found at https://minersalley.com/mapac_shows/the-cherry-orchard/.
A smooth way to spend an evening with the CJRO
Look, let’s just put our cards on the table — sometimes you’re just in the mood for something smooth. There’s no shame in that. And if you’re one of those people, then you don’t want to miss the Colorado Jazz Repertory Orchestra’s presentation of “Keeping It Smooth.”
The performance will be held at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 13 at the Schoolhouse Theater, 19650 Mainstreet in Parker. The band will be joined by Colorado favorite Robert Johnson, a jazz musician who has been making a name for himself for years. Some of the songs you can expect to hear will be from greats like Bob James, Grover Washington Jr. and Pat Metheny.
Tickets and information can be found at www.coloradojazz.org/concerts.
Visit Five Points and other historical sites at Doors Open Denver
Doors Open Denveris always an enlightening and inspiring way to explore Denver’s built environment. And this year, the event is easier than ever to access, as it’s taking a virtual approach and providing audio tours for participants.
This year’s event runs from through Monday, Oct. 16 and will include a new audio tour called Five Points Fortitude. These tours will take walkers on a guided stroll through Five Points, with about 13 stops, all with architectural and historical significance. For those at home, the event also features 24 video tours from the Denver Architecture Foundation’s archive.
Find all the details athttps://denverarchitecture.org/events-programs/doorsopendenver/.
Clarke’s Concert of the Week — SZA at Ball Arena
If you love smartly written R&B, the kind that gets you moving whether you’re at the club or at home in your room, then the five years between the release of SZA’s“Ctrl” and “SOS,” were absolutely interminable. Luckily, right at the end of 2022 the singer/songwriter finally returned with an album that’s already become an instant classic. SZA knows how to be sultry and sexy and witty and insightful, all at the same time.
In support of her album, SZA is bringing her SOS Tour to the Ball Arena, 1000 Chopper Circle, Denver, at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 18. She’ll be joined by up-and-comer d4vd for the concert. For tickets, visit www.ticketmaster.com.
Clarke Reader’s column on culture appears on a weekly basis. He can be reached at Clarke.Reader@hotmail.com.