2014 True West Award: Amanda Berg Wilson and Jeremy Make




Amanda Berg Wilson and Jeremy Make shared very little stage time in The Catamounts’ fertile staging of There is a Happiness That Morning Is. No matter. Their fearless performances communicated an essential, messy, shared connection – from a distance. Happiness is a cerebral, challenging comedy written entirely in verse by Mickle Maher. It’s about two New England college English professors who have been caught making love in scandalously public fashion. Now both must apologize to their respective classes if they want to keep their jobs. In their subsequent, alternating lectures, each takes a turn invoking contrasting words from the radical English poet William Blake, whose Songs of Innocence and of Experience ruminated on “two contrary states of the human soul.” Bernard (representing innocence) basks in the transcendent morning afterglow of the couple’s campus hook-up like a pent-up, deflowered teen. It’s a particularly joyful performance from Make given these two lovers have been coupled for 20 years. Prim and practical yet deliciously profane Ellen (experience), by contrast, directs her hilarious hormonal ire at the college president who busted them in the bushes. “Art can never exist without naked beauty displayed,” Blake wrote. But we didn’t need to see Make and Wilson make naked love to know these actors made art on the stage in Boulder. We not only felt the connection that has fueled the couple’s affair, but their very disparate emotional crises laid bare. We’ve known Wilson as the driving off-stage force behind the rising Catamounts — she was last seen onstage way back in the early 2000s as a member of The Bug Theatre Company. It was a treat to be reminded that Wilson remains very much an actor as well. Next she will make her Curious Theatre debut in Detroit. 

1: Norrell Moore
2. Kate Gleason
3. Amanda Berg Wilson and Jeremy Make
4. Ben Cowhick
5. Robert Michael Sanders
6. David Nehls
7. Adrian Egolf
8. Emma Messenger
9. Buntport’s Naughty Bits
10. Tim Howard
11. Gleason Bauer
12. Daniel Traylor
13. Aisha Jackson and Jim Hogan
14. Cast of ‘The Whipping Man’
15. Rick Yaconis
16. Michael R. Duran
17. Laura Norman
18. Jacquie Jo Billings
19. Megan Van De Hey
20. Jeremy Palmer
21. Henry Lowenstein   
22. Sam Gregory
23. Wendy Ishii
24. J. Michael Finley
25. Kristen Samu and Denver Actors Fund volunteers
26. Matthew D. Peters
27. Shannan Steele
28. Ludlow, 1914
29. Spring Awakening and Annapurna
30 Theatre Person of the Year Steve Wilson

The True West Awards, which began as the Denver Post Ovation Awards in 2001, are the longest-running continuously administered awards program in Colorado theater. This year, the awards have been reconceived to simply recognize 30 award-worthy achievements in local theatre, without categories or nominations. A different honoree will be singled out each day for 30 days.

The True West Awards are administered by arts journalist John Moore, who was named one of the 12 most influential theater critics in the U.S by American Theatre Magazine in 2011. He has since founded The Denver Actors Fund and taken a groundbreaking position as the DCPA’s Senior Arts Journalist. His coverage of the Colorado theatre community can be found at MyDenverCenter.Org 

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