Climb Every Mountain

The premise of K2, a play about two men trapped on a ledge at 27,000 feet on the side of the world’s second highest mountain with little chance of them both living through it together, is one that few humans thankfully will ever experience in true life. But a universal message isn’t precluded by the plot, according to playwright Patrick Meyers: In his director’s notes, he says, “The play is about life. We’re all living on a shelf, death is inevitable, we must try to survive.” That’s the stuff of Broadway, where the drama had a run, and movies, too (a film adaptation was made in 1991), and now, it’s the stuff of the Aurora Fox Arts Center, where the play opens tonight at 7:30 p.m. in the Studio Theatre.

As if to echo the difficulties explored by K2’s life-and-death plot, the folks at the Fox took on a cliffhanger of their own by deciding to build a mountain in the center’s intimate black box space. “It was not easy,” says the Fox’s Patricia Wells of the sturdy steel and foam structure. “We’ve never built a mountain before. There had to be a ledge, which is where the actors spend most of the time. But they also had to be able to climb and rappel and fall — all of it carefully choreographed — on an almost vertical part of the mountain, which goes up past the lighting grid into the rafters. You don’t even see the top of the mountain.”

And because of the nature of the theater space and the hulking mountain within it, she adds, “The audience is going feel like they’re on the mountain with these characters.”

K2 continues on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, through April 3; for tickets, $20 to $24, visit www.aurorafox.org or call 303-739-1970. The Aurora Fox is at 9900 East Colfax Avenue.
Fridays, Saturdays, 7:30 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Starts: March 11. Continues through April 3, 2011