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Crime and Punishment from the Boulder Ensemble Theatre: Get a sneak peek tonight

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The 19th century Russian novelists have a reputation for dense (for many an AP high school student, nightmarishly dense) character studies, giant tomes that spend the majority of their considerable bulk methodically dissecting characters and mapping out how they tick -- and of those characters, one of the most fascinating is Raskolnikov, the protagonist of Fyodor Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment. Enormously complex and multi-layered, the character is a masterpiece of himself, as difficult and rewarding to explore as the book he stars in -- which, incidentally, is the focus of tonight's "Revealing Raskolnikov: Demystifying Crime and Punishment" from the Boulder Ensemble Theatre.

It's part of the BETC's BrainFood series of events, which the theater does as tie-ins to its main attractions -- for this one, it's an accompaniment to the theater's upcoming presentation of Crime and Punishment (the play), in which it works from a minimalist adaptation by Marilyn Campbell and Curt Columbus. "We try to explore more deeply the themes associated with each production and engage people in different media," says Stephen Weitz, the BETC's Producing Ensemble Director. "This is about demystifying what many people see as a daunting piece of literature."

As far as that goes, tonight's proceedings will offer a few different angles on the upcoming show -- the play's director will discuss the process of bringing the show to life, while the theater's education director will talk a little about putting together a study guide for the show (which we're sure will be thrilling); part of the BETC's concept for the show is to make it an educational opportunity -- but the main attraction is the sneak preview it offers, with the actors appearing in person to act out a scene or two; the cast, by the way, consists of three people (really, it's minimalist).

The best part, though, is that it's all free. It starts tonight at 7:30 at the Boulder Book Store. The show itself opens Thursday, February 17 at the Dairy Center for the Arts in Boulder (see the BETC site for tickets and more information). Bring your thinking cap, but please leave your axe at home.

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Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.