Magical realism is one of the most difficult genres to tackle – blending the recognizable with the mystical is a fine line to walk.
For the first production of the Arvada Center Black Box Theatre’s 2022-2023 season, audiences are treated to a show that takes them to a small Brazilian fishing town, where a mysterious man is pulled from the Amazon River. What ensues is a stirring adventure that delves into the topic of family and more.
“The River Bride” runs at the center, 6901 Wadsworth Blvd. in Arvada, through Sunday, Nov. 6.
We spoke to director Jamie Ann Romero about the show, what she hopes audiences take away from it and more:
Interview edited for brevity and clarity.
-What drew you to directing “The River Bride”?
I had the great privilege of acting in the 2016 world premiere of “The River Bride” at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. It was there I fell in love with Marisela Treviño Orta’s beautiful play and her continued body of work. “The River Bride” is about being brave in love, what happens when you are and what happens when you aren’t. It’s a play that asks you to take a leap of faith.
-What is the show about?
The playwright calls “The River Bride” a “cautionary folk tale for adults.” It’s set on the Amazon River in Brazil and focuses on the myth that every June “botos,” or pink river dolphins, are given three days to venture on land and find their true love.
-Tell me about the cast?
The cast of this production is remarkable. I feel immensely lucky to have worked with an entire cast of Latine actors that bring their culture and years of experience to the stage. This play is centered around a family that love each other deeply but are struggling with secrets and broken promises and a stranger who comes ashore and changes everything. This cast has bonded together like a true family and the love they have for one another carries onto the stage. They act with depth and honesty and it is thrilling to watch them discover the play night after night.
-Tell me about bringing magical realism to the stage?
I would be nowhere without my brilliant design team; David J. Castellano (scenic and costume design), Kate Bashore (lighting design) and Jason Ducat (sound design). These artists brought the Amazon to the Black Box Theatre and they also brought the magic. We treated the “magical realism” moments as if they were the heightened moments you experience in real life.
-What do you most hope audiences come away with?
I think anyone who has experienced love in their life and its many beautiful, painful facets is going to find themselves somewhere within this story. I hope our audiences leave the theater reminded of the power of love and the ability within themselves to choose it, accept it and believe it. I hope you leave our darkened theater, our piece of the Amazon, with a sense of magic.
For information and tickets, visit https://arvadacenter.org/events/the-river-bride.
40 West Arts throws a fundraising party
If you’re not familiar with the work Lakewood’s 40 West Arts District does, you absolutely should be. The state-certified Colorado Creative District located along historic West Colfax has created an inclusive and dynamic arts scene that features some truly great venues and events.
To keep 40 West doing its work, the organization is hosting its annual Fundraising Gala, from 6:30 to 9 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 22 at the 40 West Gallery in The HUB at 40 West Arts, 6501 W. Colfax Ave. Get tickets at https://40westarts.org/fundraising-gala.
Throw in the dark at FlannelJax
October isn’t called spooky season for nothing, and what better way to add a little fright to your life than axe throwing in the dark?
FlannelJax’s, 7270B W. 88th Ave. in Westminster, is hosting its annual Halloween Glow Throw Event for the entire month. Throwers of all skill levels can have the fun of seeing the lights turned off and having some glow in the dark fun.
Get all the details at www.flanneljaxs.com/denver-arvada/.
Clarke’s Concert of the Week — The Jesus and Mary Chain at the Paramount Theatre
One of the seminal music moments of my life comes at the end of Sofia Coppola’s masterpiece, “Lost in Translation.” As the two main characters say a mysterious and moving goodbye, The Jesus and Mary Chain’s “Just Like Honey,” kicks in. Those booming drums, reverb-drenched guitars and faraway vocals just grabbed my imagination and have never fully let go.
Although the Scottish group hasn’t released a new record since 2017’s “Damage and Joy,” they have plenty of dreamy alt-pop rockers to perform when they play the Paramount Theatre, 1621 Glenarm Place in Denver, at 8 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 23.
Their music fits the season perfectly, so get your tickets at www.ticketmaster.com.
Clarke Reader’s column on culture appears on a weekly basis. He can be reached at Clarke.Reader@hotmail.com.