Buntport’s 50th Original Coin Is a Monumental Milestone | John Moore | Culture & Leisure

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It’s a staggering creative achievement: a collaborative theater ensemble that conceives, writes and directs 50 all-original new plays for American theater in just 24 years.

To put the Buntport Theater canon into context, consider some of the most prolific playwrights of all time. Lope de Vega is said to have written as many as 1,800 plays during Spain’s Golden Age, but few of us have ever heard of him. One of them is Emily K. Harrison, founder of Boulder’s Intentionally Lowercase Square Product Theater. She was forced to read de Vega as part of her doctoral studies, and to be clear, she said, “I prefer Buntport.

Shakespeare, which we have heard of. He is dubiously credited with writing 37 plays. Neil Simon wrote 30. August Wilson wrote 10. But 50? At around 80 minutes each, that’s around 70 hours of original material from the creative brains of Brian Colonna, Hannah Duggan, Erik Edborg, Erin Rollman and Samantha Schmitz since 1998. Not to mention around 120 additional original episodes of two sitcoms. soap operas they have staged over the years. It’s still 90 hours.

The mind gets confused.

“Buntport has created unreal and unparalleled work,” said Denver native Thaddeus Phillips, himself a singular and internationally recognized original director. “Buntport is, without a doubt, one of the most unique and vital sets in the United States”

Frankly, 50 regular coins wouldn’t be so remarkable. But Buntport consistently produces imaginative, clever, and fun pieces. And #50 could be a #1: it may be the first new coin to have an emoji in its title. His name is “♥️ Richard”, and he bowed out in April.

It’s always difficult to describe a new Buntport game with any degree of accuracy. But here goes: “♥️ Richard” is loosely based on the real-life 2012 discovery of King Richard’s body under a car park in Leicester, England. The story itself is set in a Denver high school gymnasium that hosts a local meeting of the Richard III Society – a real-life group dedicated to reclaiming the Hunchback King’s stained reputation.

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What begins as an eccentric gathering of nerdy, current Richard III enthusiasts turns a little “crazy” with the cosmic arrival of none other than a boisterous Queen Margaret of Anjou, who died in 1492 but appeared to talk about what was really fell apart during the Wars of the Roses. OnStage Colorado editor Alex Miller described Rollman’s outrageous hairstyle as “Princess Leia caught in a pair of fishnets” and her Carol Burnett-worthy performance as “trashy panache”.

Buntport Theater True West Awards 2022 Richard

The Buntport Theater set has transformed their warehouse into a realistic high school gymnasium for “♥️ Richard.”

And every element, from script to scene, was conjured up by the clever, twisted brains of five Colorado College pals who have somehow spent their entire adult lives together.

“There really is no other place in Colorado where this kind of original work is done,” Miller wrote. “The sheer joy evident in the creation and presentation of ‘♥️ Richard’ is a heartwarming reminder that it’s still possible to fly a theatrical monster flag.”

Here are 50 more. No. 51 arrives next month: “The Death of Napoleon: A Play in Less Than Three Acts,” January 27-February 27. 18. (All we know now is that it’s a swing.)

Whether they’ll hit 100 remains to be seen, but here’s a truth Edborg is happy to bombard: “We’ve done something that’s quite rare,” he said.

Note: The True West Awards, now in their 22nd year, began as the Denver Post Ovation Awards in 2001. Denver Gazette senior arts reporter John Moore celebrates Colorado’s theater community by revisiting 30 of the best stories of the past year without categories or nominations. .

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