Going up? ‘Hope and Gravity’ looks at life in an elevator
A dislodged elevator falling multiple stories turns out to be a ripe setting for studying human relationships. That’s what playwright Michael Hollinger discovered when he wrote “Hope and Gravity,” the comedic drama that opens Sopris Theatre Company’s season on Oct. 18 at Colorado Mountain College Spring Valley at Glenwood Springs.
It’s rare for a theater company to produce a play that it has closely followed since its inception. However, that’s what happened with “Hope and Gravity.” In 2012, Hollinger came to Aspen with his new play, which was performed as a staged reading during the Aspen Fringe Festival.
“I spoke with Michael at that point about my interest in the show,” said director Brad Moore, Sopris Theatre Company’s theater operations manager. “We stayed in contact and he let me know when the piece would actually be published. Gary [Ketzenbarger, Sopris Theatre Company’s program director] read the script and thought it would play well in this season.”
For Sopris Theatre Company, being one of the first companies to produce the play is gratifying.
“The play was just published,” Moore said. “It has had many workshop productions and readings in development, but is now in its final form. It’s exciting to present newer works. Michael is a terrific playwright and an important voice in the American theater.”
Students and community members
The cast comprises both Colorado Mountain College students and Roaring Fork Valley actors. Five cast members play nine roles, doubling up per the playwright’s instructions as they weave in and out of one another’s lives. Three of the cast members are CMC students and two are community members, one of whom is a CMC graduate. All of the stage crew are CMC students.
“The setting is in a contemporary urban environment,” Moore said. “We felt this script offered a diverse and wonderful collection of characters for our students and community members to explore.”
Moore said the play is composed of nine scenes, which originally were a series of short plays. As a play they’re tied together.
“The additional challenge is that the scenes are out of order,” he said. “The show opens with scene six and closes with scene three. That is very much in keeping with the themes in the play. The idea that there is a random nature to how our lives play out. We can make plans and set goals. Sometimes life doesn’t follow a predictable path.”
First in the season
“Hope and Gravity” opens Sopris Theatre Company at Colorado Mountain College’s 2019-20 season; three more productions will follow. “The Veil” written by Conor McPherson and directed by G. Thomas Cochran runs Nov. 30-Dec. 8. “American La Ronde” by written Steven Dietz and directed by Gary Ketzenbarger runs Feb. 14-23, and “Kiss Me, Kate” with book by Sam and Bella Spewack, music by Cole Porter and directed by Brad Moore runs April 3-19. Tickets are available at Eventbrite.com.
“Hope and Gravity” at Spring Valley
Friday, Oct. 18, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 19, 7 p.m.
Sunday, Oct. 20, 2 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 25, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 26, 7 p.m.
Sunday, Oct. 27, 2 p.m.
$13 seniors and CMC students, employees and graduates
Individual and season tickets are available at Eventbrite.com