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A Whale of a Tale

It's a good thing that actor Jonathan Bender has had years of experience with character acting: In Bender's solo performance,

In the Belly of the Whale

, he plays nine distinct characters to tell an age-old story with a twist.

"The main character is a spoken-word poet; his name is J.," Bender explains. "He does this slam poem based off an experience I had: being confronted with being Jewish and what it means to stand up for it, and being very confused and not wanting to deal with it. And then he clearly finds himself propelled inside the belly of the whale and slowly figures out where he is, and then he confronts or finds all these different people. The show unfolds alternating between these different characters and his own experiences that are expressed in spoken-word form." Clearly, the story of a man ordered to Nineveh has come a long way.

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In the Belly of the Whale, directed by Jennifer Milligan and sponsored by Bonai Shalom, Har HaShem and Nevei Kodesh temples, opened on Thursday and runs again tonight at 7:30 p.m. and tomorrow at 2 and 7 p.m. at the Dairy Center for the Arts, 2590 Walnut Street in Boulder. Tickets are $13, $10 for students; get yours by calling 303-440-7826 or visiting www.thedairy.org. If you miss this round, repeat performances will take place at the Mizel Center in Denver on March 29 and 30.
Thu., Jan. 10, 7:30 p.m.; Sat., Jan. 12, 7:30 p.m.; Sun., Jan. 13, 2 & 7 p.m., 2008

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