REVIEW: THE LUCKIEST PEOPLE
By Brock Benson
A Curious Theatre World Premiere puts the squeeze on your heart through their superb ensemble.
THE LUCKIEST PEOPLE, by Meredith Friedman and directed by Chip Walton is a rolling success; enjoying its world premiere on the Curious Theatre stage now through June 19th. This thought- provoking play Is proud to be a part of the National New Play Network and will boast two more openings this year in Charlotte and Chicago after it’s run in Denver. I would be remiss if I did not mention the amount of time and energy put into making this play a success. From it’s humble beginnings to the transformation of the play’s eloquent interpretation, this serves as a true testament to the value and authenticity of programs like the National New Play Network and Curious New Voices. Bravo to everyone who helped to make this new work possible, it is absolutely the future and life blood of theatre. A special thank you to Curious Theatre for continuing to stand by their simplistic yet successful mission statement:
“No Guts….No Story!”
Set in the mid-to-late 2000’s, this play explores the complexities of family relationships and life choices in the wake of a mother’s death. Upon entrance we are greeted with a multi-leveled set that almost resembles a split-level mid century modern, with the upper level being a vaulted California glass front with a fortunate view that not only steps on, but towers over the basement level. This lower level further emphasizes the appearance of the lonely, chair-bound father’s new living situation. Designers Charles Packard, Shannon McKinney, and Jason Ducat do a smashing job in creating a compelling space that absolutely embodies the family dynamic and lets us know right away what class of society we are dealing with. I find this symbolism imperative in the understanding the history of the struggle of the middle class. This endless endeavor has shaped the lives of these adult children trying desperately to do not only what they think is right, but also what they can sustain.
It’s hard choices being made by experienced and nuanced actors that make this ensemble fascinating to watch. The cast is a tour de force of Denver talent, starring: Randy Moore as Oscar (the widowed father), Erik Sandvold as Richard (the son), John Jurcheck as David (Richard’s partner), and Karen Slack as Laura (the daughter). I could go on about the depth of talent and ability that these actors possess, but I’d urge you to go and witness them for yourself. It’s truly a delight to be able to fall into the story and transport yourself into the strife and determination of this delicate play; thanks to this compelling cast and talented crew. While this show is complex, it is the storytelling of the script that is filled with relevant conflict and an absolutely tangible experience that demands your attention!
The script is packed with dialogue and exposition that not only sets the stage for the present but also serves as the foundation for what will become another successful modern day trilogy. That’s right, Meredith promises to deliver two more companions to this piece that will surely follow suit in delivering the ultimate theatre experience.
I’m still processing it, but this is what I’m walking away with for now. This play is about my family. And your family. It’s about us needing each other….. making us “the luckiest people”. Take your brain and go witness this exceptional play for yourself, and check in at www.curioustheatre.org. Playing now through June 17th at Curious Theatre.