Off Square Theatre Co stages regional premiere of ‘Annapurna’

JACKSON HOLE, WYO – Colorado Public Radio described playwright Sharr White’s gritty two-hander Annapurna wonderfully with its review in 2014.

“Take two characters who love each other fiercely (and who hate each almost as much), put them in a small, dilapidated trailer together after 20 years apart and watch the unrelenting intensity unfold… The play is a piece of theater evocative of Tennessee Williams.”

This animosity-cum-comity rehashes a couple’s grungy past by placing them together in an even grungier present surrounded by the possibility of beauty awaiting outside the trailer, which is perched high and away from it all in the Colorado Rockies. If only the two can rise above their issues and step outside.

The New York Times review headline of the play when it debuted in NYC Off-Broadway in 2014 was pert. “Watch Out: The Ex-Wife Has Arrived, and She’s Got Lots of Baggage.”

Sharr White

Twenty years ago, Emma walked out on her husband, cowboy-poet Ulysses, in the middle of the night. Now hearing he’s in dire straits, she tracks him down in the wilds of Colorado in a rundown trailer, working on his magnum opus, hooked to an oxygen tank, and cooking in the buff. Their reunion, charged by rage and compassion, brings back the worst and best of their former bond.

Kate Gleason

White’s emotionally charged script really comes alive in the hands of the right actors. It makes Kate Gleason the perfect choice to play Emma, the ex-wife with a suitcase full of issues.

Gleason is reprising her role as Emma from the Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company’s 2014 production, where she received rave reviews and snagged a True West Award for her performance as the embittered ex.

Gleason has also appeared as Emma at Vienna’s English Theatre. Gleason’s Broadway credits include the U.S. premiere of The Pillowman and Noises Off. Off-Broadway she has appeared at BAM, The Roundabout Theatre Co. and The Kitchen.

Mark Rubald

Mark Rubald, an actor based in Colorado’s Front Range, stars as the equally crosspatch/escapist Ulysses, who’s holed himself up in an Airstream dream off the grid and on the outs with the world.

Off Square Artistic Director Natalia D. Macker, said, “This depiction of the bond of love is both timeless and timely in an era when it is all too easy to focus on what separates us. We are delighted to have this stellar creative team of guest artists joining us for this moving production.”

The play is directed by Allison Watrous, who has worked with the Off Square previously on Vanya & Sonia & Masha & Spike and Chekhov Unchecked. Both Gleason and director Watrous have collaborated with Off Square Theatre on multiple shows since 2014.

The Black Box Theater at the Center for the Arts will make for the precise type of venue this play needs. The stage will be transformed into Ulysses’ trailer and the intimacy of the cozy space will invite audience members right into the lives of two characters trying desperately to sort out who they are together, because who they are apart isn’t working for either of them.

Tickets are available now. Group tickets available upon request. Recommended for mature audiences.

Off Square Theatre presents Annapurna November 1-3 and 8-10 in the Center for the Arts Black Box Theater.

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