We asked the playwright, director and cast of the world-premiere play ‘twenty50’ to imagine what American society will be like in the year 2050. Video by DCPA Video Producer David Lenk.
DCPA community boards reveal both hope and fear for the future
During the 2019 Colorado New Play Summit, Patrick Berger, the DCPA’s Audience Development Manager, was struck by the questions that were asked by a character in twenty50 who was preparing a time capsule as a school project.
Once the show was selected for the 2019-20 Theatre Company season, the curation team, which included Berger, looked at the questions posed by the show and wondered if the DCPA could engage the community with these ideas.
After feedback from both Playwright Tony Meneses and Director Henry Godinez, as well as some community partners, the curation team decided to ask a broad question in public places: Imagine the world in 2050. What do you think society will look like?
As one of the Theatre Company’s first curation projects hosted outside of the theatre and lobby space, there was some internal nervousness. How was the community going to react to the boards? What would be the level of engagement? And ultimately, were the responses going to be negative?
The original goal was to have five boards across the community in higher education institutions, high traffic public spaces, and organizations and institutions that specifically connect to Latino people. Berger and his team were able to place 12 boards in and around the Denver metro area, including five branches of the Denver Public Library, Tivoli Student Union and the Mexican Cultural Center.
Initially, the responses were on the pessimistic side as the curation committee feared. However, something interesting happened around Day 3. As the majority of the comments were negative, the community began to swing back with a more optimistic view and hope for the future. Over the two to three weeks the boards have been up in the various locations, the results have culminated into a happy medium of viewpoints.
twenty50 is Meneses’ outlook on the year 2050 and this broad question allowed the community to respond with their own predictions. There were several categories in which the majority of the answers fell, including conversations around technology and space, race, climate change, and the opinion that the future will look and feel much more like today than we realize. And while there were many comments that followed the thread reflecting the pessimism of the moment, there have also been statements of hope, kindness, love and generosity.
This project not only started conversations across the Denver area, but also strengthened relationships with community partners. The boards have been part of a greater initiative for the DCPA to build a community around art with interested partners who are excited about storytelling and desire to be a part of it.
Through engaging the community in such a way, these conversations have created a time capsule of their own, a temperature gauge for the city of Denver in our current moment. “The future is all of ours,” Berger said. “We own it together, collectively.”
Madison Stout is a receptionist and member of the security team as well as a contributing writer for the Communications Department at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. After graduating from Grove City College, where she was an editor and staff writer for The Collegian, she continues to pursue writing as an Education and Community Engagement journalist at the DCPA.
twenty50 community boards: A gallery of responses
twenty50: Ticket information
- At a glance: In the year 2050, Andres Salazar, an immigrant, is running for congress. In an imagined America where Latinos are now considered part of the racial majority, he has tough decisions to make. Will identifying himself as a Mexican American help or hinder him on Election Day? Will denying part of his identity be worth the potential political benefits? As the campaign forces his mother and daughter to face their own questions of culture and identity, a mysterious stranger arrives. Searching for freedom and running from the law, his appearance jeopardizes everything the family holds dear.
- Dates: Performances through March 1
- Where: Space Theatre
- Genre: Suspenseful thriller
- Tickets: Start at $30 and can be purchased at 303-893-4100 or in person in the Helen Bonfils Theatre Complex at 14th and Curtis streets or online by clicking here: