CMC faculty members take one-man play to New York
Colorado Mountain College will be represented on an international level today as Gary Ketzenbarger, program director for Spring Valley’s theater department and artistic director of Sopris Theatre Company, takes his one-man play, “A Resume for Immortality,” to the United Solo Theatre Festival in New York City.
The international festival is the largest solo theater festival in the world, with performances taking place at Theatre Row on 42nd Street. Ketzenbarger wrote “A Resume for Immortality” and is also the actor, and Brad Moore, CMC adjunct faculty member and technical director/production manager for Sopris Theatre Company, is directing.
“A Resume for Immortality” combines storytelling and movement, using Taiji and other Chinese martial arts as the thread that holds together personal stories, both funny and profound. It was first written as a book, Ketzenbarger said.
“I wrote it with the idea in mind that it could both be read and performed,” he said. “But performing it is a whole lot different from reading it. What this process has required is an enormous amount of cutting to get it down to performable shape.”
Ketzenbarger has an hour and a half of performance time at the festival. Because he’s not the only person to take the stage that day, he needs to use precisely that amount of time.
“Otherwise they just cut me off, shut the lights down, and it’s over,” he said.
Moore, who has directed a number of one-person shows recently, said it’s often a challenge to work on the performance with the playwright in the room. But at a certain point in the workshop and rehearsal process, Ketzenbarger fully embraced his role as an actor and was able to make more objective decisions about cutting content.
“From the beginning, our conversation has been: If something gets cut, it’s not anything personal,” Moore said. “We’re telling this particular story to this particular audience on this particular night. So it may not transpire that we keep every moment in because we just have to keep moving on.”
The two were still trimming down the play mere days ago, making Ketzenbarger’s tough job of acting alone on stage even more challenging.
“I don’t know if I’d recommend [one-man shows] to too many people,” Ketzenbarger said with a laugh. “It’s an enormous undertaking. If you blow something, there’s nobody to help you recover. It’s kind of like a tightrope act, and if you fall off, well, you fall off.”
Despite the inherent challenges of solo plays, both Ketzenbarger and Moore are thrilled to be representing theater of CMC and the Roaring Fork Valley at such a prestigious festival.
“I didn’t think about that at first,” Ketzenbarger said. “I just applied, I submitted my script, they said yes, and the full implications didn’t hit me all at once. But now I recognize that, yeah, this is kind of an important thing to have a faculty member represent CMC in New York City at a major performance venue.
“I’m scared as hell, but I feel pretty good about that.”
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