Ice Slick

When the folks at Buntport Theater acquired a sheet of artificial ice, they knew they had to create a skating show. And — given the strange and roundabout pathways by which their collective brain functions — that naturally put them in mind of Franz Kafka. Kafka on Ice, first staged in 2004, was an original piece that twined together aspects of the melancholy Czech’s life with the plot of his most famous story, The Metamorphosis, in which the protagonist awakens to find he’s been transformed into a large bug. With Gary Culig (since departed for a career in New York) in the central role, the piece was funny, weird, beautiful, surprising, moving and occasionally brilliant. But then, in a twist worthy of the novelist himself, someone stole the artificial ice, and given the company’s minimal budget, it seemed that no one would ever again get to see Kafka on Ice.

But then Buntport held a successful fundraiser and bought some new ice, and now it’s recreated the show in time for Czech Point Denver, a series of events tied to Opera Colorado’s staging of Dvořák’s Rusalka. This bloc of Ice should be a very different — though no doubt equally enlightening — experience, since Kafka, who was given an elfin charm by Culig, will now be played by Josh Hartwell, an actor skilled at communicating anxiety and intellect, and who also took on Kafka two years ago in LIDA’s very serious but no less experimental Joseph K.

The show opens tonight and runs through February 19 at 717 Lipan Street; tickets are $16, $13 for students and seniors. For more information, call 720-946-1388 or go to
Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sun., Feb. 6, 3 p.m.; Sun., Feb. 13, 3 p.m.; Feb. 17-19, 8 p.m. Starts: Jan. 28. Continues through Feb. 10, 2011

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Juliet Wittman is an investigative reporter and critic with a passion for theater, literature, social justice and food. She has reviewed theater for Westword for over a decade; for many years, she also reviewed memoirs for the Washington Post. She has won several journalism awards and published essays and short stories in literary magazines. Her novel, Stocker's Kitchen, can be obtained at select local bookstores and on Amazon.
Contact: Juliet Wittman