When playwright Mark Jackson was paging through Shakespeare A to Z, a book that lists all of the characters from every one of the Bard's plays, he was struck by the vast number of nameless messengers that exist in the catalogue. From this realization came the play Messenger #1, an adaptation of the Oresteia, Aeschylus's trilogy of Greek tragedies, updated to put the messengers in starring roles and speaking in 1920s slang.
The play chronicles the aftermath of the Trojan War and the murderous actions of the ruling class, combining political power plays with modern humor. Catamounts artistic director Amanda Berg Wilson says she was surprised by how contemporary it feels, despite the fact that it was written thirteen years ago and is set in a period long before that.
"The messengers in the play are working people, and the royals are sort of the 1 percent, so it's definitely this whole exploration of class difference and those in power versus those who are subject to the whims of those in power," explains Berg Wilson. To complete the 1920s effect, the Catamounts will transform the lobby into a speakeasy, complete with bootleg booze and cigarette girls selling period candy.
Messenger #1 runs previews tonight and tomorrow at 8 p.m. at Nomad Theater, 1410 Quince Avenue in Boulder; tickets are $12. It officially opens with a reception at Nomad on October 6; tickets are $35. Additional performances will be October 12, 13, 19 and 20 at 8 p.m. at work|space, 2701 Lawrence Street in Denver; tickets are $18. To purchase yours, call 720-468-0487 or visit www.brownpapertickets.com.