Jonathan Vick's psychological thriller about dealing with the demons in our lives come to Denver. Denver's Dangerous Theatre presents COMFORT IN THE ARMS OF THE DAMNED playing now through November 17th. Tobais made friends with the monster in his closet as a child. As an adult, Xavier still controls him through fantasy and dreams. All Tobias wants is to love and be loved. Isn't that all anyone really wants? But who is really keeping Tobias from realizing the dreams in his heart? Xavier, or himself. Note: Adults only due to language and violence.
Dangerous Theatre is thrilled to be offering the world premiere of this dark psychological thriller penned by Jonathan M. Vick. It is a challenging play on many fronts. For starters, it is written in such a manner that the director has so many options. The character of Xavier, the demon, is written to be “ambisextrious” (as Jonathan put it) and is referred to throughout the play as he and she. This leaves it up to the director to cast male or female. Originally, I planned to cast a male. But Dangerous stage favorite Brittany Lacour read it and asked if she might be able to play the role. After some consideration we decided to go with that, which immediately changed the direction we would take the play. It also presented some staging difficulties given her small stature (there is a reason she usually insists on wearing stiletto heels on stage).
On the surface COMFORT IN THE ARMS OF THE DAMNED is about how you get rid of the demons of your past. Tobias made friends with Xavier, the monster in his closet, when he was a child and his father left him and his mother. Xavier was his coping method. But over time, Xavier became an escape from the realities of life that are painful. The realities of relationships that don’t work out. Tobias struggles with why Xavier is still there, still providing dreams and fantasies, when all he wants is that real relationship. But what does that mean? In reality Tobias struggles with issues we all deal with. Are we good enough to love? To be loved? Do we set ourselves up for failure? Can someone else be our happiness or do we need to find happiness first? Ultimately the play is abouT Loving and accepting oneself. At least that is the direction that directors Winnie Wenglewick & Eric Mindykowski are taking it.
On another level, it can be viewed as a play about mental illness. We all hear voices in our heads from time to time. For most of us, we would call it the voice of reason, or our conscience. For many the voices are more ominous and can lead to many varied psychoses. The voices can end up blurring reality from fantasy. How do you get rid of the voices in your head? Is suicide the answer? Tobias tries that route at one point and fails. Are the voices in out heads just providing excuses for bad behaviors, or failures in our lives? A day no longer seems to go by without another act of violence that cannot be understood makes headlines. COMFORT IN THE ARMS OF THE DAMNED could easily be viewed as an inner look at the mind of mental illness. While Winnie and Eric did not choose that route, audience members may see it that way anyway.
Interestingly, when this play was being work-shopped in Orlando, Xavier was cast as male. The focus of that rendition was about Tobias and his struggle with his sexuality. Was he gay or not? Hmmmm. Being about eight years ago when this was happening, and knowing the theatre that was hosting the workshop, it does not surprise me that it did not end up on stage. I wonder if the director had taken another direction with it, might the theatre have been more interested in staging it? Either way, I’m glad COMFORT IN THE ARMS OF THE DAMNED will see its first staged production at Dangerous Theatre with original music/score by Rick Reid
The cast consists of Brian McDonell as Tobias, Brittany Lacour as Xavier, Corinne Denny as Savannah (the demon representing romantic love), Allison Murray as Lisle (the demon representing lust), Teresa Champion as Tessa (the demon representing Mother’s love), and Stacia Gordon as Maryssa (The only real relationship he has).
The World Premiere of COMFORT IN THE ARMS OF THE DAMNED will be haunting audiences now until November 17th. Performances are Fridays @ 7:30, Saturdays @ 7:00 with Sunday matinees at 1:00 on 10/21, 10/28, 11/4 & 11/11 (Industry Night on 11/5 @ 7:30, Late night Halloween performance @ 10:00). Denver's Dangerous Theatre is located at 2620 W. 2nd Ave #1 in Denver, CO. For tickets or more information, contact the box office at 720-233-4703 or online at http://dangeroustheatre.ticketleap.com/. Promotional video available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rlwNE03k7pI&feature=youtu.be.