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REVIEWS

Stories on Stage: Theatre – Simple and Pure


Stories On Stage is a recurring reader’s theatre event in Denver. Now in its 10th season, Stories On Stage will mount a number of storytelling events. These performances, presented twice in one day, features professional actors from the Denver area and beyond. The featured stories, grouped thematically, represent a wide spectrum of excellent literature (written by renown authors as serious as Anton Chekov and as funny Dave Berry).

HE SAID: What a great night?! The first story was called The Lie by T.C. Boyle, as read by Josh Robinson, which was a comedic tale of a man’s ever-increasing lie to get out of work. Robinson’s performance was so natural I felt as though I was hanging out with a buddy telling me some crazy story in a bar. Next was Naomi and the Writer by Laurie Sleeper, an interesting story exploring a woman’s self-image when left with the scars of fighting cancer. Not only was the material touching, but it played with a the writer/reader relationship in a completely new way. Jeanine Serralles was amazing in this piece balancing all of the humor, drama, and interesting conversations between writer and reader with grace. Lastly, John Hutton’s reading Walter John Harmon by E.L. Doctrow was a fabulous story about the fraudulent cult leader told through the perspective of one of his devout followers. Overall, the night was fun, relaxing, comfortable, and best of all entirely engaging throughout. I expected to like one story, while the other two would be OK, but I really did get drawn into all three stories and walked out wanting to go find each piece for my collection.

SHE SAID: This sort of reader’s theatre clearly falls under the umbrella of theatrical performance, but I considered it a welcome variation in my several-nights-of-theatre-a-weekend routine. The atmosphere is so relaxed, and instead of feeling like an audience observer of a story, I felt like a fellow human being (who happened to have incredible theatrical training) was sharing story directly with me and a few of my friends. For this particular installment, all of the stories were well-written and all of the performances were excellent. One story and performance really stood out above the others, however — Jeanine Serralles reading Naomi and the Writer. The story was unconventional, flowed well, but was very powerful, and Serralles’ performance couldn’t have been more compelling. She’s now close to top of my list of incredible female performers in Denver.

THEY SAID: Before we went to this past production, we were probably like a lot of you. We had heard of Stories on Stage but we still weren’t entirely certain of what the night entailed. We had concerns about whether or not the material would be engaging. Turns out all three stories were funny, touching, and moving in their own way. We had concerns about whether or not the lack of action would keep our attention. By bringing in top-notch performers, the action of the story fully came alive through their voices and in your imagination. And as people who see a lot of theatre (40+ shows in 4 months), we had concerns about whether or not this would truly feel like a night out at the theatre. But if you believe, as we do, that theatre is truly a story telling medium, then this is the simplest form of theatre in town.

For more a full history of Stories on Stage, click the banner below. Stories on Stage’s next event will be Making Merry, presented in the Seawell Ballroom at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts on Sunday, December 13 at 1:30 and 6:30 pm.

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