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Fans of Arise Music Festival—a music/yoga/art/creative enterprise event held annually in Loveland—don’t have to travel far to catch festival co-producer Luke Comer’s latest creation. The Portal (opening Friday, October 9) is being advertised as a multimedia rock opera, but even that doesn’t fully encompass this unique blend of performance mediums, from film and live music to dance and psychedelic imagery.
Much of the plot is steeped in the archetypes of a mythological epic: the quest, a transformation, a muse. Dante, the protagonist, is a modern man who feels trapped in a mundane everyday that’s cut off from the natural world. Vulnerable, he is pulled through a portal into the desert, where Beatrice (the muse) guides him toward a new sense of self.
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The music has a New Age-y bent (the singer, drummer, and bassist don long tunics and loose pants), but the work itself is rooted in some serious talent. Comer wrote the music—which has solid rock undertones—with Arise co-founder Tierro Lee. Esteemed local choreographer Kim Robards created the flowing moves for the two dancers. And the film was shot by Comer and his team on location in the stunning landscapes of Moab, Utah, and Boulder. The entire process has taken about four years.
“It plays to the kind of crowd that’s into the more avant-garde, the underground performance art scene, visionary art,” says publicist Luke Rothschild. “Really more than anything, the point of the show is to create something that’s more than just a show that you go see. They were trying to create a show that the audience would get lost in and walk away having had an experience.”
The immersive production certainly has a lot going on, so prepare your senses. With a fully Colorado cast and crew performing in a warehouse-like building in RiNo, The Portal brings something different to the Denver stage. There is certainly a population in town that will love it; some may not. But at just 100 minutes long, it’s an experiment worth your time.