There’s a beautiful vitality to Mountains Made for Us, a new play presented by Roshni, an organization dedicated to working with “those at the margins,” Vintage Theatre Productions and Control Group Productions. The play, which the program dubs a "Bollywood Style Romantic Comedy," features a large cast of immigrants from various countries, some born in America, some in foreign cities, some in refugee camps.
Dancer Deepali Lindblom is the force behind the group, and she plays the central character, Mini, with grace and charm. Mini runs a dance studio, but her future is uncertain because a developer has his eye on the land. When she meets all-American Cal (Jeremy Barnes), owner of a pot shop, love begins to stir. But there are cultural as well as emotional differences to surmount. Mini’s in love with the Colorado mountains, which remind her of her beloved Himalayas, but still dreams of becoming a well-known dancer-choreographer in the actual Bollywood. Cal urges her to be content where she is, develop her work as a teacher and find some way to flourish in Colorado. Cal’s father, Sam, is dying of cancer but remains remarkably good-natured and upbeat, and he presents no obstacle to the couple’s union. But the waters are fiercely roiled with the arrival of Mini’s highly conventional parents, who insist she return home to the man they’ve chosen as her husband.
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Issues of immigration, along with war, displacement and the suffering of many immigrants, are very much at the forefront of our minds these days, but the focus in Mountains Made for Us is more upbeat. The play depicts a search for personal freedom, both in art and in love, and the tone tends toward bright, often joyful exhortation. The script, which is a little flat and repetitive, never delves very deep, even into the problems of cultural assimilation represented by Mini and Cal’s relationship.
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But the cast is large and talented, and the stage often fills with the graceful curving limbs and swirling costumes of dancers — Mini’s students and, I’m guessing, Lindblom’s in real life. These folks are talented and a lot of fun to watch, and Mountains Made for Us is a strong representation of communal creativity.
Mountains Made for Us, presented by Vintage Theatre Productions Thursday, August 15, through Sunday, August 18, Vintage Theatre, 1468 Dayton Street, Aurora. Get tickets here; for more information, call 303-856-7830 or go to vintagetheatre.com