The Denver Center’s new development initiative, Powered By Off-Center, drew 56 submissions from local artists
Off-Center, the Denver Center’s most unconventional line of theatrical programming, has selected the two inaugural projects that will receive fully supported residencies this spring as part of a new developmental program called Powered by Off-Center:
- Untitled Crypto-Judaism Project by local artist Jessica Kahkoska
- Conspiracy Theory G by local playwright Jennifer Faletto
Between two and six performances of each work-in-progress will be offered in The Jones at the corner of Speer Boulevard and Arapahoe streets. Dates will be announced later.
Off-Center designed Powered By as an opportunity for local creators of all kinds to develop their projects with the Denver Center’s staff, facilities and financial support, culminating in a series of public showings. Local artists were encouraged to submit performance pieces for consideration; a selection committee of more than 30 individuals participated in the review of 56 submissions, each of which was evaluated by seven people.
Each of the two selected projects will receive a $5,000 budget for development over the next four months including research, travel, production-related expenses, and artistic and production staff support. These residencies will culminate in between two and six performances for the public. “We’re giving our local artistic community a new place to play and a platform to experiment, engage and excite us all,” said Charlie Miller, curator of Off-Center. “I was so inspired by all of the creative ideas we received and the quality of the proposals made it difficult to select just two. We are thrilled to support these two projects and to help Jessica and Jennifer experiment with new theatrical ideas, processes and forms to tell their exciting and unique stories.”
Nine semifinalists and five finalists also were named.
Untitled Crypto-Judaism Project
- By Jessica Kahkoska
- Residency dates: March 26-31 (Performance dates TBA)
- About the artist: Jessica is a Colorado-based writer, dramaturg and performer. In Colorado, she has worked for the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, Creede Repertory Theatre, Theatre Aspen, Lake Dillon Theatre Company and Local Theater Company, where she currently serves as Artistic Associate. Her writing has been produced and developed by Local Theater Company, American Music Theatre Project at NU, The Drama League, Village Theatre, UCROSS Foundation, Chautauqua Institution, and Ars Nova, among others.
- At a glance: Colorado’s San Luis Valley is world-renowned for its beauty, but this famous Southwestern landscape may be harboring some secrets of its own. One in particular connects the valley to a clandestine Sephardic Jewish heritage and the 15th-century Exodus from the Spanish Inquisition … but is it really a secret, and if so, to whom? This new play with music sings the complicated legacy of Crypto-Judaism in the Southwest, illuminating an unlikely, alpine tale of secrecy, faith, fear and how we pass on culture when written records are too dangerous to keep. Driven by a community-engaged, Colorado-based research process, this piece explores if our identities and rituals rise from earth and mountains where we spend our days, are inherited in the ancient stories of our blood, or are learned in the motions of mothers at sunset and overheard songs of grandparents.
- In her own words: “My aim is to transform this Colorado-specific, nonfiction source story into a theatre experience that is engaging and accessible to public theatre audiences,” Kahkoska said.
Conspiracy Theory G
- By Jennifer Faletto
- Residency dates: April 9-14 (Performance dates TBA)
- About the artist: Jennifer’s plays include The Texas Homecoming Revolution of 1995 (2105 Reva Shiner Comedy Award finalist), Domestic Animals (2016 Woodward/Newman Drama Award finalist & 2016 O’Neill semifinalist) and This Little Light. Jennifer’s plays have been developed and produced at The Kennedy Center Page to Stage Festival, Venus Theatre Company, Amphibian Stage Productions, Palm Beach Dramaworks, Best Medicine Rep, The Blank, The Capital Fringe & The Great Plains Theatre Conference. Jennifer studied at the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) in Sydney, Australia and holds a BFA in theatre performance from TCU. She is also a graduate of the Second City Conservatory.
- You are invited to an emergency meeting of the Sweet Harmony Neighborhood Association. As a resident here, you will be asked to discuss the meaning of the “crop circle” that materialized in the local park this morning. As theories on how or why the crop circle came to Sweet Harmony Park emerge, factions within the community will form. Before the end of the night, someone will instigate a coup. Will you be a part of saving the neighborhood association or overthrowing it? Conspiracy Theory G will be immersive with the audience serving as members of the neighborhood association, each of whom will choose to join the coup or remain loyal to the association.
- In her own words: “Either outcome will have a written, structured trajectory incorporating audience participation,” Faletto said. “The artistic intent is to quickly go beyond the whodunnit form into an exploration of whether any particular group gathered will believe a significant event must have a significant cause.”
- Civic Discourse: A Game Show! submitted by Kevin Quinn Marchman and Ryan Foo
- La Llorona, submitted by Rhea Amos and Jaime Lujan
- Love Song to Nail Salon, submitted by Ayla Sullivan, Dr. Cecila J. Pang, and K. Woodzick
- Purgastory, submitted by Luke Sorge and Adrian Egolf
- House of Mystery, submitted by Sinjin Jones
- A Play Written by the Crowd, submitted by Royce Roeswood
- The Venntilator, submitted by Alex Miller
- Clinic, submitted by Tara Rynders and Edith Weiss
- Your Art or Your Life!? submitted by Esther Hernandez and Stephen Daniel Karpik
- Com/Unity, submitted by Maureen Breeze, Julia Wilson and Jonathan Holt Howard
- Group Therapy 3D, submitted by Carolyn Michaels
- How to Disembowel Your Friends, submitted by Sean Michael Cummings and Mike Largent
- In Transition, submitted by Deepali Lindblom
- Glass House Presents: A Panicked PTA, submitted by Kimberly Kutt, Joseph Wolff Phillips, Asa Erlendson, Wolfgang Stein and Eleanor Hollingsworth