Magical realism is one of the most difficult genres to master – fusing the recognizable with the mystical is a fine line to walk.
For the first production of Arvada Center Black Box Theater’s 2022-2023 season, audiences are treated to a show that takes them to a small Brazilian fishing village, where a mysterious man is pulled from the Amazon. What follows is an immersive adventure that explores the theme of family and more.
“The River Bride” runs at the Center, 6901 Wadsworth Blvd. in Arvada, until Sunday November 6th.
We spoke to director Jamie Ann Romero about the show, what she’s hoping for from audiences, and more:
The interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.
-What made you decide to direct The River Bride?
I had the great privilege of starring in the world premiere of The River Bride in 2016 Oregon Shakespeare Festival. It was there that I fell in love with Marisela Treviño Orta’s beautiful piece and her ongoing work. The River Bride is about being brave in love, what happens when you are and what happens when you’re not. It’s a piece that asks you to take the leap of faith.
– What is the show about?
The playwright calls “The River Bride” a “cautionary folk tale for adults.” Set in the Amazon River in Brazil, it focuses on the myth that “botos,” or pink river dolphins, have three days each June to venture ashore and find their true love.
-Tell me about the cast?
The cast of this production is remarkable. I feel very fortunate to have worked with a full cast of Latin American actors who bring their culture and years of experience to the stage. This play revolves around a family who love each other deeply but struggle with secrets and broken promises, and a stranger who comes ashore and changes everything. This cast bonded like a true family and the love they have for each other carries over to the stage. They play with depth and honesty, and it’s exciting to watch them discover the piece night after night.
-Tell me how to bring magical realism to the stage?
I wouldn’t be anywhere without my brilliant design team; David J. Castellano (set and costume design), Kate Bashore (lighting design) and Jason Ducat (sound design). These artists brought the Amazon to the Black Box Theater and they brought the magic too. We’ve treated the “magic realism” moments as if they were the heightened moments you experience in real life.
-What do you most hope the audience will get away with?
I think anyone who has experienced love in their lives and its many beautiful, painful facets will find themselves somewhere in this story. I hope that our audience will leave the theater with a reminder of the power of love and the ability within oneself to choose, accept and believe in it. I hope you leave our dark theater, our Amazonian play, with a sense of magic.
Information and tickets can be found at https://arvadacenter.org/events/the-river-bride.
40 West Arts is throwing a benefit party
If you are unfamiliar with Lakewood’s work 40 Western Arts District does, you absolutely should be. The state-certified Colorado Creative District at historic West Colfax has created an inclusive and vibrant arts scene that offers some truly great venues and events.
In order for 40 West to do its job, the organization hosts its annual benefit galafrom 18:30 to 21:00 on Saturday 22 October at the 40 West Gallery at the HUB at 40 West Arts6501 W. Colfax Ave. Get tickets at https://40westarts.org/fundraising-gala.
Throw FlannelJax in the dark
October isn’t called spooky time for nothing, and what better way to inject a little fear into your life than throwing an ax in the dark?
Flannel Jax’s7270B W. 88th Ave. in Westminster, hosts its annual Halloween Glow Throw Event for the whole month. Throwers of all skill levels can enjoy watching the lights turn off and glow in the dark.
All details below www.flanneljaxs.com/denver-arvada/.
Clarke’s Concert of the Week – The Jesus and Mary Chain at the Paramount Theatre
One of the defining musical moments of my life comes at the end of Sofia Coppola’s masterpiece Lost in Translation. While the two main characters mysteriously and movingly say goodbye, The chain of Jesus and Mary “Just Like Honey” sets in. Those pounding drums, reverberant guitars and distant vocals just grabbed my imagination and never quite let go.
Although the Scottish group haven’t released a new album since 2017’s ‘Damage and Joy’, they have plenty of dreamy alt-pop rockers to offer when they play Supreme Theater1621 Glenarm Place in Denver at 8 p.m. on Sunday, October 23.
Their music fits the season perfectly, so get your tickets under www.ticketmaster.com.
Clarke Reader’s culture column appears weekly. He can be reached at [email protected]