One of the great things about theater is its ability to reflect the challenges and convulsions of society with a speed and alacrity that most other performing arts mediums just aren’t capable of achieving.
That fact is highlighted by Benchmark Theatre’s regional premiere production of Ruby Rae Spiegel’s “Dry Land,” which runs at the theater, 1560 Teller St. in Lakewood, through Sunday, Oct. 8. Performances are at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 2 p.m. on Sunday.
“Dry Land” tackles the timely topics of abortion, female friendship and much more. We spoke to Haley Johnson, executive director at Benchmark, about the show.
Answers edited for brevity and clarity.
-Tell me about selecting “Dry Land” to be part of Benchmark’s season?
When Texas enacted the Texas Heartbeat Act on September 1, 2021, we knew that a play like “Dry Land” couldn’t be more relevant. Of course, we didn’t have the foresight of what was to come from the US Supreme Court in June of 2022. As a result, “Dry Land” is eerily timely, probably more so than any of the plays in the rest of our season.
-What is the show about?
“Dry Land” is a story that follows teammates on a Florida high school girls’ swim team. Underage and pregnant, Amy has enlisted the help of Ester as she is unable to obtain an abortion without her mother’s consent.
-Tell me about the cast?
We have a phenomenal cast that are all new to the Benchmark Theatre stage. Director Abby Apple Boes selected a group of artists that have been a delight to work with and really brought the story to urgent life. The play sits in realism and honesty and every member of this five-person cast has done a tremendous job grounding themselves in a genuine and raw performance.
-The show has an all-female/non-binary creative team — how did that affect the way you told this particular story?
It was very important to us that we had the right voices around the creative table. Surrounding ourselves with female and non-binary artists, we were able to focus on the artistry of the show from a perspective that everyone could relate to on some level. This is a story about teenage girls and the adversity they face. Inherently, having female and non-binary voices to support the artistry of the story was vital.
-What do you hope audiences come away with?
I hope audiences leave the theater with, perhaps, a sober understanding of the lengths to which some people may need to stretch to make the choice that’s right for them. The playwright does a careful and intentional job of not politicizing this play. We simply want to present the piece as a cautionary tale and a reminder that what happens in this fictitious story is all too real in high schools, summer camps and bedrooms all across the nation and beyond.
For more information and tickets, visit www.benchmarktheatre.com.
LSO celebrates works of the cello
The Lakewood Symphony Orchestra is getting into its new season in a thrilling way with the upcoming “Cellists’ Favorite” performance, which will be held at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 6 at the Lakewood Cultural Center, 470 S. Allison Parkway.
The concert will feature cellist Seoyoen Min performing Elgar’s “Concerto for Cello in E minor, Op. 85.” Min, a South Korea native, has been Principal Cello of the Colorado Symphony Orchestra since 2019 and has performed with a range of international ensembles.
All the details and tickets can be secured at www.lakewoodsymphony.org.
Walker Fine Art examines the natural world
There’s a reason so many people are worried about the state of the climate and environment. Mixed in with all the beauty the world offers are danger and fear about the future of the planet.
“Environmental Reflections,” the latest exhibit at Walker Fine Art, 300 West 11th Ave., No. A, in Denver, gives six artists — Theresa Clowes, Elaine Coombs, George Kozman, Bryan Leister, Heather Patterson and Zelda Zinn — the opportunity to explore their understanding and appreciation of landscape, climate and habitat.
The exhibit runs at the gallery through Saturday, Nov. 18. Find all the information at www.walkerfineart.com.
Clarke’s Concert of the Week — Night Moves at Red Rocks
I have a pretty firm rule that if the name of your band references Bob Seger’s best song (and one of the best songs ever written), I’m going to be inclined to give your band a chance. Over the last decade or so the Minneapolis-based group Night Moves have fine-tuned their approach to reverb-drenched roots rock. Their 2019 album “Can You Really Find Me,” is home to some of the year’s best songs and their recently released “The Redaction” EP hints at great things ahead.
The group swings by Globe Hall, 4483 Logan St. in Denver, at 8 p.m. Oct. 6. Get tickets at https://globehall.com.
Clarke Reader’s column on culture appears on a weekly basis. He can be reached at Clarke.Reader@hotmail.com.