"For me," begins Laura Cuetara, associate professor of theater at the University of Colorado at Denver and Health Sciences Center, "the big white ball the moment when I decided, yeah, I really have to do this was when I was looking in the library at taking out some books about the homeless. Did you know the Library of Congress puts homelessness one number away from animal rights? That, to me, should bother us."
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What Cuetara along with assistant professor Craig Volk and his students in the UCDHSC department of theater, film and video production was bothered enough to do was create Front Doors...at home on the streets of Denver, a collaborative multimedia-meets-theater experience that explores Denver homelessness through scenes, short films, monologues and photography. And what the production endeavors to do, Cuetara says, is not spew accusations or provide solutions, but simply ask questions.
"The truth is, I think, as citizens, it's not a story that we can avoid," Cuetara says. "It's not their problem; it's not those people. We're really stopping and taking a moment to ask, 'Who are we, and who are they, and why is it okay with us that we don't take action, or should we even take action?' We discovered just as much about who we are as citizens.
"I don't want it to sound sociologically self-righteous," she adds. "And I do not want to be a spokesperson for any particular program or perspective. I just want to ask questions. I think that's what theater can do best."
Audience members, too, are encouraged to ask questions and participate in the dialogue after every performance, when professors, writers and advocates for the homeless will participate in a roundtable discussion. Front Doors opens tonight at 7:30 p.m. and continues through March 11 in the UCD Studio Theatre inside the Kenneth King Center on the Auraria campus. For tickets $12 general, $5 for students or information, call 303-556-2296.
March 6-11, 7:30 p.m.