2018 TRUE WEST AWARDS, Day 7
An actor and the character he plays show real courage under fire
The moment: It was one of the most vulnerable, and then devastating moments of the theatre year: Kyle, an American soldier who has returned from war emboldened to live an open life, stands before a young man he is attracted to and slips off his pants to reveal the physical damage done to his body by an explosive device in Afghanistan. It was the kind of moment that proves acts of true courage are not confined to combat. And when it came in Local Theater Company’s wholly original world-premiere staging of Paper Cut, those watching had to instantly decide where to look: At the suitor’s horrified face as he watched on his laptop, or at the other actor revealing to the audience for the first time that he, too, is an amputee. It was the most heartbreaking of meta moments you could imagine in a theatre. For a second your brain was willing for this to somehow be a special effect, a bit of trickery that might spare us from the realization that this actor has a story just as catastrophic as the fictional character he was playing.
The man behind the moment: For Sommer Carbuccia, a warm and innately gifted actor making his Colorado stage debut, that story involves an accident stepping off a subway car in New York City. He was a student pursuing a degree at New York University when his life changed in an instant. Carbuccia was born in Dominican Republic and raised in Miami. He has been with Paper Cut, written by Andrew Rosendorf, since Local Theater first introduced the new play as a 2017 staged reading in Boulder.
Director Pesha Rudnick: “Sommer’s bravery and vulnerability on stage encouraged audiences to confront, and accept, their own bodies’ strengths and limitations.”
Critics’ corner: “That Sommer Carbuccia is himself an amputee energizes the production. Carbuccia gives a sincere and intelligent performance and displays admirable intensity during moments of high drama.” – Juliet Wittman, Westword. “Sommer Carbuccia inhabits Kyle with a mix of the sturdy and the unsteady. He’s coiled. There is a thin line between fear and courage, between steadiness and volatility.” – Lisa Kennedy, The Denver Post.
One more take: “Telling you this new play is the story of a soldier who has just returned from Afghanistan a changed man does not begin to give justice to the complexity, sincerity and originality of the story. If you think you’ve already seen pretty much every variation of the wounded warrior story, you are in for a surprise.” John Moore, DCPA Senior Arts Journalist.
Director’s last word: “As a trained dancer and singer, Sommer could have abandoned his career at a very young age. Luckily for us, he made the opposite choice. Working with him was pure joy. I have officially started my one-woman campaign to get him to move to Colorado. Don’t be surprised if you see him again soon in a theater near you.” Pesha Rudnick.
Paper Cut cast list:
- Zachary Andrews
- Sommer Carbuccia
- John Hauser
- Eddie Sánchez
About The True West Awards: ’30 Days, 30 Bouquets’
The True West Awards, now in their 18th year, began as the Denver Post Ovation Awards in 2001. DCPA Senior Arts Journalist John Moore — along with additional voices from around the state — celebrate the entire local theatre community by recognizing 30 achievements from 2018 over 30 days, without categories or nominations. Moore was named one of the 12 most influential theater critics in the U.S. by American Theatre magazine in 2011. His daily coverage of the DCPA and the Colorado theatre community can be found at MyDenverCenter.Org