Curious Theatre Company's new play series is the ultimate cliffhanger.
A scene from "Marcus; or the Secret of Sweet," Curious Theatre Company's last serial project
—Photo by Michael Ensminger
It may not seem like it in the security line at DIA, but human beings can be pretty patient—or maybe that’s just when it comes to entertainment. Ten bloodless months passed between seasons of Game of Thrones. A full decade came and went before a new episode of Star Wars was released. And yet millions of people tune back in each and every time. In fact, that may be why they tune in.
Either way, Denver’s Curious Theatre Company is getting in on the act. Two seasons ago, the Golden Triangle venue launched its serial storytelling initiative: In the Red and Brown Water was the first in a series of three plays by Miami playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney to show over the course of two seasons. Between plays, Curious sandwiched bonus material such as in-person Q&As with the cast and crew that offered behind-the-scenes details of the artistic process and live refresher events to help audiences catch back up before the next show in the series. It was one of the first theaters in the nation to try this type of programming. “This is an expansion of the theatrical experience into much more than a single night in the theater,” says Chip Walton, Curious Theatre’s producing artistic director. “The aim is to foster a deeper connection to playwrights, to artists, to characters, and to their stories.” This month, Curious debuts a new addiction for theater fans with the first in a series of plays by New York playwright Quiara Alegría Hudes.
The new series makes its regional premiere on March 10 with Elliot, A Soldier’s Fugue, the initial installment in a trilogy about teenage Elliot’s experiences fighting in Iraq and his life with his Puerto Rican family after returning home. “Seeing three ‘chapters’ in this young man’s life—he starts out enthusiastic, macho, full of swagger, and matures into a complex, flawed, hungry adult—allows me to go places with him that a single storyline wouldn’t allow for,” Hudes says. Each of the three plays (the other two will be staged in late 2016 and early 2017) can be experienced independently, but the broader picture only materializes after viewing all three. To see them all, you’ll need to test your patience. Thank goodness we’ve all had some practice.