Spark Theater in Denver is taking the Craigslist ads we love to read (an occasionally even respond to) and putting them onstage. Starting on January 27th, Casual Encounters/Missed Connections will give Denver theatergoers a fictional look at the real personal ads posted on Craigslist.
Playwright and Spark’s marketing director Sean Paul Mahoney says the idea came to him years ago when he was living in Los Angeles. “In LA, Craigslist dating is a full contact sport. My friends all had some wild and unbelievable tales of hooking up on the site where you can also find a used bike or an apartment. I started reading the ads and immediately got hooked on the soap opera-like quality. I thought it would be cool to imagine the stories behind the ads either on stage or on film,” he says.
Years later Mahoney presented the idea to Spark’s creative director Michael Emmitt. Emmitt loved the idea and the show was then work-shopped in the pair’s living room and on Spark’s tiny stage. The final product is a series of vignettes based on actual Craigslist ads and starring a cast of Denver’s most talented actors. The first act “Casual Encounters” focuses on the perils and pratfalls of hooking up online while the second act “Missed Connections” highlights Internet tales of the one that got away.
“Our hope with the show is that people can laugh at and even find some humanity in these ads”, says Mahoney. ”
At the heart of both Casual Encounters and Missed Connections posts are people looking to connect with one another. The Internet and technology can be very isolating and these ads are proof that at the end of the day, regardless of what kind of phone you have, that we all just want to be touched and loved.”
Casual Encounters/Missed Connections opens January 27th and runs through February 18th.