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If you’ve ever shared a bathroom, you may have experienced the tortuously uncomfortable feeling of stepping over someone just to get to your toothbrush. That’s just a fraction of the discomfort felt by the six people who share one bathroom in Buntport Theater’s newest production. And they have a live band (Teacup Gorilla) taking up residence in the bathtub.
To usher in their 15th season, the quirky and untraditional Buntport Theater Company brings you the world premiere of 10 Myths on the Proper Application of Beauty Products. A supplemental piece to local author Miriam Suzanne’s groundbreaking open-source novel, Riding SideSaddle*—a text that is meant to be added to and adapted by the reader—this dark comedy is an original production brought to you by the collaborative minds of Buntport Theater’s ensemble, Denver Center for the Performing Arts vet Diana Dresser, Curious Theatre Company’s Michael Morgan, and Miriam Suzanne herself.
The show follows six friends who, upon sharing their beauty rituals in their shared bathroom, end up diving into deeper and more complex conversations on the issues of gender identity and fluidity, coming to terms with the mysteries of life and death, the inexplicable merging of two people, the rebellion against categorization, the blind acceptance of myth, and the absurdity of common superficial rituals that (when you really think about them) make little sense.
While brainstorming new productions for their season, Buntport’s ensemble received Suzanne’s novel (produced on 250 interchangeable notecards that are meant to be mixed up and reinterpreted) and split up to conduct free writes on the cards they received. The sections were then merged together from their mix of interpretations to produce the show.
“That’s what has been so rewarding about this process,” Suzanne says. “You’ll see the same characters and basic story in the show that you see in the novel, but the ensemble wrote between the cards and filled in the space and dialogue between the cards with their interpretations.”
The challenge was to produce a show in which everyone has different conceptual interpretations. It’s one that Buntport Theater Company was willing to take on. The small ensemble writes, produces, directs, designs, and performs in all their original shows. Known for their unusual adaptations and eccentric comedies, every show from Buntport is unique and designed to push the boundaries of classical theater.
10 Myths is no different. As Buntport’s 40th full-length production, the peformance consists of three time-jumping narratives melded together into one story. It includes discussion on the Greek myths of Salmacis and Hermaphroditus, challenging audiences to make sense of them through the explanation of magic.
“The time sequence of the play forces us to start again and represents how questioning these myths keeps people in this cycle of perpetual remolding,” says Brian Colonna, one of Buntport’s ensemble members. “The show is designed to challenge people, and it keeps our ensemble fresh because they are dealing with their own perceptions of the content. We want to encourage people to come to all our shows and have these deep discussions of myth.”
Attend: 10 Myths on the Proper Application of Beauty Products runs March 4–26 at Buntport Theater Company, 717 Lipan St. Insider tip: Stick around to purchase Miriam Suzanne’s Riding SideSaddle* and create your own interpretation of the story.