9:23AM

Crossing the Mountains to Denver

Because I live in Salt Lake City, I’m probably the ATCA member closest to Denver, yet ironically — and sadly — I’ve only managed to make it over to the Denver Center Theatre once before. That occasion was the monumental RSC production of “Tantalus,” which was staged over a three-day period several years ago. I was impressed with the layout of the theater complex and the diversity of the plays staged there and have meant to return ever since. I’ve also heard good things about the Colorado New Play Summit, but somehow I haven’t managed to make it back until now.

My first day in Denver gave me an opportunity to unify two strands of my life that don’t often coincide: film and theater. I am staying with a friend, Eileen O’Brien, who works at the Denver Film Society. Eileen
and I first became friends when she boarded with me 10 years ago when she came to Salt Lake City to work for the Sundance Film Festival, where I have edited and written capsules for the film guide and catalog since what seems like the dawn of time. So I spent the early part of the day getting an insider’s view of the Film Society and discussing this year’s Sundance films with a couple of people who just came back from the festival, which just concluded two weeks ago and where I crammed about 30 films into a 10-day period. Then I got to take Eileen with me to see the Denver Theatre Center’s production of “When Tang Met Laika” about American and Russian joint ventures into space over the past few decades. We were both impressed with the innovativeness of the staging and the wonderful intimacy of the Space Theatre, where the production is being staged—just another aspect of the tension between outer and inner space that is so integral to the play. It was a very full and enjoyable day.

Today was the first full day of play readings, and there were two things that will certainly make me want to return to the New Play Summit in future years. The first is the quality of the work being read, which is very polished and professional. The second is the vitality of the readings, which are performed with energy and expertise by a very dynamic group of actors. I’m looking forward to what tomorrow will bring.

Barbara Bannon, ATCA Secretary, Salt Lake Tribune