Cowboys and Indians. Gold rush. Mining. These are the words that come to mind when one thinks about Colorado’s history. But our complete history is not all pioneering, pull-yourself-up-by-the-bootstraps tales.

The story of our state’s past also has a darker side: racism, socioeconomic inequality, hate crimes—topics that don’t easily transfer to the stage. In Rocks Karma Arrows, a “multimedia contemporary theater piece,” creator Kristen Wilson manages just that. The piece enlightens the audience with a more inclusive story of our past—specifically, Boulder’s—and the opportunity to use prior mistakes and unfair judgments to create a more promising tomorrow.

Rocks Karma Arrows starts with a focus on Native American culture in Colorado, including the Sand Creek Massacre, before moving on to 20th century concerns surrounding immigration and the KKK. Actors depict the stories and situations that Wilson and a woman in the ‘research department’ describe, as projections of historical photos flash onto three walls. It’s an immersive and unique theater experience that’s part history lesson and part performance.

The production is a result of One Action–One Boulder/Niwot’s Arrow, a collaboration between arts and civic organizations in Boulder that aims to create a more cohesive community, and Motus Theater.

Rocks Karma Arrows plays Thursday through Saturday at 7 p.m. at the ATLAS Black Box Theater on the University of Colorado–Boulder campus.

Image via Shutterstock

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Daliah Singer
Daliah Singer
Daliah Singer is an award-winning writer and editor based in Denver. You can find more of her work at