Deep in the bowels of the Denver Performing Arts Complex lies the mysterious little Jones Theatre, which sits on the backside of the complex like an afterthought. But what goes on in there? For one, there's Cult Following, a monthly improv-based (but not exactly) performance serial with this motto: "Theater is the New Movies." On the second Thursday of every month through May ("because THURSDAY...it's the new FRIDAY!"), Cult's six-person crew, led by Jessica Robblee and Alison Watrous and sponsored by the theater's Off-Center series, reconstruct five favorite movie moments which are chosen in advance in various ways.
"Two are chosen by the audience at the previous performance, two are picked through online voting and one is determined from what we call a 'man-on-the-street interview,'" Robblee explains. "This time, the man-on-the-street was the Broncos cheerleaders."
Each installment takes place in a small-town diner; the setting can be insinuated into each movie moment spoof. For instance, during a Wizard of Oz scene at last month's performance, the diner fell on a salon. And so on. "Our goal is to follow the form of a Christopher Guest movie," Robblee says. "The characters are chosen and developed by the actors. We have to figure out how to make a play that's kind of improvised. It's like when you make a recipe, but you know you have to fake it, because you don't have all the ingredients."
Add in a communal kind of audience participation, and you've got something special and hilarious. "This isn't like an improv show, where people are shouting suggestions," Robblee notes "We try to melt the wall between the audience and the performers in a new way." sound like your kind of thing? Watch this:
Tonight's Cult Following begins at 8:35 p.m. in the Jones Theatre, but folks are encouraged to come early to enjoy a beer-and-candy pairing and stay late for dancing and more drinking. The admission price of $10 in advance (or $14 at the door) includes two beers, candy and popcorn. In the online voting this month, The Rocky Horror Picture Show's "Sweet Transvestite" is in the lead. For more information visit the website.
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