The Denver Center Theatre Company (DCTC) is proud to present the world premiere of GRACE, OR THE ART OF CLIMBING, a production that pushes the boundaries of theatre as it blends the sport of rock climbing with the story of a woman struggling to face her fears. A staged reading at the 2012 Colorado New Play Summit, this world premiere plays The Space Theatre now through February 17th. A captivating tale of a reluctant young athlete for whom rock climbing is both metaphor and action, Emm struggles with doubt, depression and her demons, as she trains mind, body and spirit for a world climbing competition.
I must admit that I have been excited about seeing this unique concept of a rock climbing play since I saw the staged reading at the Colorado New Play Summit last year, and "Climb Every Mountain" may have been playing in my head as I entered the theater. This show was a visual marvel with a heartfelt and tender plot right at the center of the action. Playwright Lauren Feldman offered us a wonderful story with a script that was sarcastic, witty, and real. This show is perfect for the outdoors loving state that is Colorado and it's sports enthusiasts. This show was an exploration in the process of letting go of your inner demons, and climbing your way back to strength and finding yourself again. It was fascinating to watch the similarities between rock climbing and gaining your independence and self actualization, which is at times an uphill battle. Emm was a interesting character that was complex and full of denial. Her confrontation between her ex and visiting her father were quite intense and emotional. I loved the El Dorado Canyon scene that was exhilarating and brought a wonderful climax that satisfied the entire audience. Just remember that falling is part of the game, but necessary in order to go further.
Emm Julie Jesneck
was heartfelt and sincere in her wonderful portrayal of the vulnerable Emm. She drew the audience in with you exceptional acting and her climbing skills were top notch. Her father, Abe (played by the exceptional John Hutton
) was also a richly complex character. His transformation for the strong illusion in his daughter's eyes and mind, and his actual state was fascinating to watch and broke your heart. While the entire ensemble was fabulous, I have to highlight Alejandro Rodriguez who played Emm's teacher, Sims. He was sarcastic and funny and brought such a grounded strength to her topsy-turvy world.
Scenic Design by Dane Laffrey
was minimalist with grand heights, and so effective with several lift beams and climbing holds just about everywhere you can imagine. This genius gave the cast an unlimited playground and the audience a whole new perspective. Also, using this theater in the round was the prefect choice for ultimate audience enjoyment and awe. Lighting by Charles R. MacLeod went hand in hand with this fantastic set and was perfect for every scene. Director Mike Donahue pushed his talented cast to a whole new physical level with this production. I have to commend him on amazing choreography and exceptional blocking that was simply stunning to watch.
There is still time to see this visually stunning show with wonderful acting, a genuinely tender story and great sportsmanship. The Denver Center Theatre Company presents the world premiere of GRACE, OR THE ART OF CLIMBING, playing now through February 17th in the Space Theatre. For tickets or more information, contact the box office at 303-893-4100 or online at www.denvercenter.org
PHOTO CREDIT: Jennifer M. Koskinen
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Michael Mulhern has lived in Denver and been active in it's theater scene for over 10 years. He is originally from Wiesbaden, Germany and graduated with a BFA in Theater Performance from the University of Wisconsin-Superior. Currently he performs in one to two shows a year and is a proud member of the Denver Gay Men's Chorus. Some of Michael's favorite performances include - Lend Me a Tenor, Guys and Dolls, The Shadow Box, Buried Child, and Jeffrey. He is proud to represent Denver and it's growing theater community on BroadwayWorld.com!|
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