Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Final chance for free TheatreWorks Shakespeare, plus more events this week

Posted By and on Wed, Aug 14, 2019 at 1:00 AM

click to enlarge COLTON PRATT
  • Colton Pratt

The Comedy of Errors

Aug. 16, 2 p.m., Colorado Springs Senior Center, 1514 N. Hancock Ave., free, uccspresents.org

For the first time in its history, TheatreWorks has brought Free-for-All Shakespeare to the Pikes Peak region this summer. Free-for-All, a traveling troupe, has performed at locations across the area from Monument to the Hillside neighborhood, and will present its final performance at the Colorado Springs Senior Center on Aug. 16. The troupe’s 75-minute adaptation of The Comedy of Errors is family-friendly and fast-paced, with only seven actors portraying many characters through costume changes, accents and the occasional hand puppet stand-in.

“To me, theaters are a civic institution,” says TheatreWorks artistic director Caitlin Lowans. “We exist to be in service to our community.”

Although the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs (to which TheatreWorks is connected) put on free Shakespeare plays in “the very, very ancient history of TheatreWorks,” according to Lowans, this summer’s traveling program was the first of its kind.

“We already have a natural geographic connection to the folks downtown,” Lowans says. “It was really important that we … connect [with] those who live in the vibrant community of Southeast.”

Although the performances are free to attend, the cast and crew are composed of professional actors and designers, who receive compensation for their work.

Sean Sharif, Alex Wimmerle, Anna Faye Hunter, Rachel Fey, Ambrosia Fees-Armstrong, Julia Greene and Dante Finley make up the cast. Under Lowans’ artistic direction, the actors have each memorized several “tracks,” each of which includes multiple characters. Each performance, the actors switch tracks with each other, trading characters, costumes and stage voices in the process. The actors even smoothly transition from accent-free dialogue to heavy East Coast diction, depending on the character.

Maelia Kalua is the program’s costume designer. Considering the fast pace of the performances, the costumes have to be durable, easy to change and different enough for the audience to recognize when actors trade characters. Meanwhile, props designer Marie Verdu had to consider the importance of mobility and utility of space throughout the Free-for-All program. The entire set and all the costumes fit into seven small trunks — and even those act as props.

The program has aimed to reach out to communities that don’t traditionally attend or have easy access to theater productions, and Lowans stresses her desire for people to “come as they are.”
“Sometimes theater can feel to folks like there is a certain way they have to be,” she says. “But we’re really excited to meet everyone where they’re at … and celebrate them coming out to share something very special with us.”

Edelweiss Sommerfest

Aug. 16-18, 3-8 p.m., Edelweiss Restaurant, 34 E. Ramona Ave., edelweissrest.com

We’re butting up against Oktoberfest season, but we’re not quite there yet. If you’re looking for your German beer and culture fix before then, Edelweiss Restaurant has you covered, as they do every year. Sommerfest, hosted at the tail end of summer, offers authentic German food (Edelweiss’ specialty), plus Warsteiner beer direct from Germany, traditional German activities for families, and live music. Best of all, the party lasts all weekend — and the entertainment’s free.
click to enlarge LORI PANDY
  • Lori Pandy

Cotton Club Revival

Aug. 16, 5-10:30 p.m., Atrevida Beer Co., 204 Mount View Lane, #3, facebook.com/atrevidabeerco

Town hero Fannie Mae Duncan, the late proprietor of the now-defunct Cotton Club, had a famous saying: “Everybody welcome.” Her spirit of inclusion and integration changed the landscape of this town, as did the live jazz musicians she brought to play for us. Tonight, celebrate her spirit with jazz bands including Mirepoix, Tidal Breeze and the Mélange Duo. While cutting a rug to the live music, participate in games and ‘50s/’60s “best dressed” contests, and take advantage of Atrevida Beer Co.’s new beer releases. Donations will support the steering committee working to erect a statue of Duncan near the site of the old Cotton Club.

SoCo Dance Festival

Aug. 16, 7 p.m., Sangre de Cristo Arts Center, 210 N. Santa Fe Ave., Pueblo, sdc-arts.org

Pueblo has fully embraced its vibrant dance community, and the Sangre de Cristo Arts Center (which consistently brings exciting and diverse dance acts to town) has gone above and beyond this year. For the first time, they’ve put on the Southern Colorado Dance Festival. By bringing in professional dancers from across Colorado and the country to host masterclasses, they’ve offered dance students in their community the opportunity to learn from the best all week long. The classes have been registration-only, but the culminating showcase is open to the public and only $5 to attend.
click to enlarge CHRISTOPHER MAY
  • Christopher May

Pueblo Pride 2019

Aug. 18, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Mineral Palace Park, 1600 N. Santa Fe Ave., Pueblo, facebook.com/pueblo.pride

Hosted by the Southern Colorado Equality Alliance, this annual event is usually the final Pride celebration of the year in Colorado, and it’s always worth attending. At 10:30 a.m., take to the streets for the parade and cheer on the movers and shakers of southern Colorado’s LGBTQ community. At 11, hit Mineral Palace Park, where festivities will include live music and performances, activities and games, vendors, nonprofits and much more.

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