the reservoir by Jake Brasch was selected by DCPA Theatre Company as one of four featured readings in its 2023 Colorado New Play Summit. Get to know this all-new play before it’s read in front of a Denver audience for the first time!
Playwright Jake Brasch, a Colorado native, had his humble beginnings at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. At the age of 11, he made his professional acting debut in the annual Theatre Company production of A Christmas Carol. The staged reading of the reservoir during the Colorado New Play Summit marks Brasch’s return.
One of protagonist Josh’s grandparents, Shrimpy (nee Milton) has recently turned 85 years old. In the play, Josh helps his grandfather prepare for his second bar mitzvah. A bar mitzvah is a Jewish ceremony where a boy, aged 13, is regarded ready to observe religious tradition and comes into maturity. A similar ceremony takes place for young girls, called a bat mitzvah. A second bar/bat mitzvah is based on a Psalm, which says the human life expectancy is age 70. Reaching age 70 can therefore be considered a new start, which is why at age 83 (13 years later), a man or woman may consider celebrating a second bar/bat mitzvah.
Josh has a unique relationship with the Cherry Creek Reservoir. As a land-locked, dry and mountainous state, Colorado does not have many water features or beaches. Cherry Creek State Park, located just outside Denver, is an exception. This 4,000-acre park includes the reservoir where water enthusiasts can boat or fish, a campground, a dog park, and more. In the play, the reservoir also serves as a sort of metaphor for the memory reserves in our brains.
Cognitive reserve is a major theme throughout the play as Josh and his grandparents struggle with their memories. Think of cognitive reserve as your brain’s agility, something built up over time through brain games, regular exercise, and a healthy diet. A person with great cognitive reserve has been shown to stave off symptoms of degenerative diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s more than someone with a lower cognitive reserve.
Alcoholism and recovery are also major themes throughout the play. Alcohol use disorder (AUD) often seems to run in families, which we can see in Josh’s own family. There are multiple genes that may play a role in a person’s risk for developing AUD, though their environment and external influences also factor into that risk. Scientists are continuing to investigate this field so that treatment options and prevention efforts can continue to be developed and improved. If you are struggling with AUD, please visit these resources for assistance:
Featured in the 2023 Colorado New Play Summit
Feb 25 & 26, 2023