By Susan Froyd
By Byron Graham
By Robin Edwards
By Bree Davies
By Josiah M. Hesse
By Bree Davies
By Susan Froyd
By Kate Gibbons
Greetings!The play begins with a fair amount of charm and humor, even if the basic plot is less than original: Andy Gorski has brought his girlfriend, Randi, to his Pittsburgh home to meet his very Catholic and conventional family — grumpy, alcoholic father Phil, anxious and unhappy mother Emily, and mentally challenged younger brother Mickey. Think Meet the Parents crossed with Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, and throw in a dash of Archie and Edith Bunker. But even if the characters aren't fully fleshed out and the jokes are a bit thin, the acting is strong, and the first act flies by. The affectionate interplay between Andy and the brother for whom he's saved his airline package of honey-roasted nuts and with whom he wrestles uninhibitedly on the floor is appealing, and Phil's constant growling irritation, his endless battles with the house's electricity, are pretty funny. But then the angelic being shows up — and, unhappily, he's a complete bore, provider of minor and meaningless miracles, utterer of the kind of advice about life you'd expect to find in a Hallmark card. He helps Randi make peace with the death of her little sister and explains to Emily that changing your life is as simple as changing your actions day by day. Taken as a whole, though, and perhaps with an eggnog or two to help it along, this is a pleasant holiday offering. Presented by Miners Alley through December 23, 1224 Washington Avenue, Golden, 303-935-3044, www.minersalley.com.
Time Stands Still. For all but a small sliver of society in the United States, wars are only a distant rumbling. But for those who have experienced the conflicts — soldiers, journalists, refugees — they are devastating. The images of war engrave themselves indelibly on the brain and can rip apart the fabric of an entire life. This truth lies at the heart of Donald Margulies's searching and unsettling play Time Stands Still. The primary protagonists are two journalists who have covered some of the world's hottest war zones. Sarah, a photographer wounded by a roadside bomb in Iraq, has returned to the U.S. almost literally in pieces, both physical and emotional. Her long-term lover, James, is at their apartment to welcome her. A reporter, he left Iraq while Sarah was still in the hospital in Germany because of a breakdown of his own, and he is determined to bring her back to health. But Sarah is not an easy patient. Richard, her photo editor, arrives, accompanied by his much younger girlfriend, Mandy, and Sarah can barely mask her contempt. When the two women discuss the photographs on Sarah's laptop, Mandy begins to weep over a shot of a mother with her horribly burned baby. She has touched on a profound question: Both Sarah and James sometimes wonder whether recording war scenes does any good or whether it's a kind of voyeurism, a commodification of human pain. But the play is not didactic. It's smart, multi-layered, absorbing and wryly funny, and the issues it raises are explored through the lives of four very real and interesting people. Presented by Curious Theatre Company through December 15, 1080 Acoma Street, 303-623-0524, www.curioustheatre.org. Reviewed November 8.
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