Thursday, July 19, 2012

Missoula Colony 17: Act 3

Posted By on Thu, Jul 19, 2012 at 6:00 PM

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In which we delight in the final days of our artistic gathering and bid good luck and farewell to our cast of emerging and established writers alike.

Part two of the Missoula Stories Project on Tuesday was stacked with drama and punctuated by an understanding of what it takes to live, love, win and fail in Missoula, as Montana Rep Artistic Director Greg Johnson puts it. Josh Wagner's Bleach Bone was a chilling old-style western set in familiar places, while Kate Morris' Everybody in Missoula Says I Love You touched on leaving and returning, waiting and wondering, moving on or giving up. The funny bone came from Floating, a four-character raft trip down the Clark Fork that showed the "down-and-dirty side" of Missoula (which actually is in Montana) through a roofing boss, his wife and his renters. The PBR was an excellent touch.

From left, Ali Tabibnejad, Nick Pavelich and producer Salina Chaitlin in the staged reading of Kate Morris' short play Everybody in Missoula Says I Love You.
  • Photo by Brooks Johnson
  • From left, Ali Tabibnejad, Nick Pavelich and producer Salina Chaitlin in the staged reading of Kate Morris' short play "Everybody in Missoula Says I Love You."

Craig Menteer and Nichole Pellant at the end of Mischa Jakupcaks play

Later that night the tone got serious.

Montana Rep Artistic Director Greg Johnson, left, chats with acclaimed playwright and screenwriter William Mastrosimone during the feedback session following the staged reading of his new play,
  • Photo by Brooks Johnson
  • Montana Rep Artistic Director Greg Johnson, left, chats with acclaimed playwright and screenwriter William Mastrosimone during the feedback session following the staged reading of his new play, "Oblivion."
Oblivion was such an involved experience I could see plenty of audience members on the edge of their seats for the last half hour at least. It was long and there are parts that give to real staging (like the eerie bass guitar signaling withdrawl) but there was some extraordinary acting that brought out the real-to-life characters of William Mastrosimone's autobiographical piece. He said in the feedback session (following every show) that the story, the imagery, gives more to film than the stage and may end up taking it in that direction. Let's hope so: this is a story that needs telling.

Just now the Colony witnessed Lily Gladstone and Joeseph Grady's Traps, a generational story told in an exciting new format with an immersive Medicine Wheel set that encourages participation or movement at the very least. It's a crows-eye look into modern Indian life and the strengths and weaknesses there, with all the bright anthropomorphic imagery you can imagine.

Tonight at 8, don't miss Character by Robert Caisley, whose work Colony producer Salina Chatlain calls "funny and cerebral."

And there are only four shows left after that, two Friday and two Saturday. It's an incredible experience to actually be on the stage with your back to the empty red seats watching the infant form of a written piece of art learn to walk. Read about all of the artists here, and print out the full schedule for the remainder of Colony, featuring readings by Christinane and Marcus Olson, Melissa Ross, Jay Kettering and a hard-hitting closer by WIlliam Missouri Downs Friday and Saturday at 3 and 8 p.m. To all ye Colonists: we'll see you next year.

Indy intern Brooks Johnson blogged throughout Missoula Colony 17 with reviews and previews of the action. Check out his first installment, Act I, and Tuesday's Act II.

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