‘Cross Words’ is new work by local playwright

Mystery thriller runs at Aurora theater until Nov. 7

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The configuration of the smallish Bond Trimble Theatre at Vintage Theatre in Aurora dictates a set, designed by company director Bernie Cardell, that has the audience almost in the living room/dining room with the actors — and it works well! The company is presenting a clever new work by Denver playwright Scott Gibson, “Cross Words.”

The play was the winner of Vintage Theatre Company’s 2019 Mystery Thriller new Play Showcase, and is now in its first production — a milestone for any new play.

Lights go up with a frowning woman, Flora (Molly Turner), seated at the dining table working on a crossword puzzle ... “How’s her highness?” says her sarcastic husband Tim (Luke Rahmsdorff-Terry).

“I hate our life,” she snaps. “One person’s life is another person’s `just in time,’” he replies.

The mood is set and we learn that the couple has come to live with her elderly Aunt Rosamunde, assuming that they will inherit her considerable fortune when she passes on ... But they’re impatient with the elderly relative’s ongoing vigor — and with the run-down house and leaky roof ... What if she were to fall down those stairs ...? “We still have to decide which of us will ...”

“Dead people keep their plans to themselves ...”

Enter Jan Cleveland, as Aunt Rosamunde’s attorney Clarrisa, who strides into the setting dressed in a spiffy tweed vested suit, obviously suspicious of the couple, as she looks after her client’s interests.

“Aunt Rosamunde called you?” Tim wonders.

“We planned on tomorrow night,” she replies.

Tim comments about their agreement with Aunt Rosamunde “to make it worth our while, our future seen to ...” if they were to live with her for a while ... helping with her day-to day needs.

Aunt Rosamunde rings a bell upstairs, calling for assistance ... Scowling, Flora heads for the stairs, which protrude into the dining room, a constant reminder.

Next scene has Tim practicing CPR on a beach ball ...

Young, somewhat-challenged nephew Emory (Elton Tanega) appears: “Mr. Benson says to drop these buckets off and go right home ... Why were you giving CPR to that beach ball? And why were you calling it Aunt Rosamunde? That ball doesn’t have a heart ...”

Turns out Emory and Flora are to share the inheritance.

“I left my shoe and sock upstairs,” Emory says, returning soon: “The lady upstairs wants to see you ... I helped her get up ... she’s pretty mad ...”

Later, Emory staggers into the house, with a bloodied face. Clarissa runs in soon after — she had collided with Emory’s bike ... “I’ve always ben a careful driver — he was there without warning.”

“I already knew,” he said. The lawyer had called his wife.

Vintage Theatre Company was founded in 2002 by Craig Bond, Debbie Laureta, Chris Goranson, Lindsay Sanders Goranson and David Trimble, with a space on 17th Street, and it was moved into the Dayton Street location in 2012, where they have three performance spaces: the Jeffrey Nickelson Auditorium, the Bond Trimble Theatre and the Berg-Young Cabaret Stage.

Vintage Theatre is at 1468 Dayton St. in Aurora. “Cross Words” plays Friday/Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2:30 p.m. through Nov. 7. Tickets: 303-856-7830, vintagetheatre.com.

While the COVID-19 pandemic continues, public events frequently are canceled or rescheduled. Check with organizers before you go.

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