‘Jesus in Montana’ plays valley before heading to NYC
Humorist Barry Smith, The Aspen Times’ “Irrelativity” columnist, will perform his one-man show in the Roaring Fork Valley before taking it to the Big Apple.
Throughout the weekend, Smith will present “Jesus in Montana: Adventures in a Doomsday Cult” at three valley venues, giving local audiences a chance to see the show before he performs it at the New York International Fringe Festival. Lynn Aliya, an award-winning actor, writer and director from Glenwood Springs, directed and developed “Jesus in Montana.” Music and sound design is by Arman Christoff Boyles.
Originally premiering in Aspen last January, the show tells the true story of Smith’s journey into the depths of a religious cult and his desperate quest for God’s truth ” or something that seems close enough ” in the early ’90s. Smith, then a disillusioned dishwasher living in Aspen, believes his sophistication, wisdom and hallucinogenic drug use helped him overcome his Southern fundamentalist upbringing, until he discovers Jesus has returned and is living in Montana.
Sensing the Apocalypse is near, Smith asks, “What’s going on with the world?” and soon meets someone who quells his anxiety, telling him, “Jesus has returned, want to go meet him?”
The show incorporates home movies and photos, as Smith takes the audience with him on his pilgrimage. Smith said the show is not recommended for children or the spiritually faint of heart.
Smith has written “Irrelativity” for 11 years, receiving two Colorado Press Association Best Humorous Column Writing awards. He wrote and directed the short film “Diary of a Flagger,” which has won several awards, including the Grand Jury Prize for Best Comedy Short at Baltimore’s 2003 MicroCineFest. His 1999 poetry collection, “Ode to Mustard,” has sold nearly 20 copies.
His stage credits include playing a cloud in Aspen Community Theater’s “The King and I” and a tree in Steve Skinner’s rock opera “Umbrella Man.” With this theatrical dues-paying under his belt, he performed his first one-man show, David Sedaris’ “The Santaland Diaries,” which Aliya directed, in 2001. He does spoken-word performances throughout the Roaring Fork Valley, much to the chagrin of audience members who think they’re coming to see a band.
Aliya is no stranger to solo shows. Her original one-woman show “Women of Fredonia: the Legacy of a Nuclear Family,” was a winner at the 1999 Colorado Women’s Playwriting Festival and was the Los Angeles Weekly performance pick of the week. Aliya’s interactive one-woman show for children “Which to Choose? Which to Choose?” earned her the position of Colorado artist in residence.
She began her directing under Tony award-winning director Michael Blakemore as his assistant on “City of Angeles and Money and Friends.” Her recent directing credits include the New Works Festival at the Carbondale Council on Arts and Humanities (“Jesus in Montana” and “Physics for Poets”), “The Santaland Diaries” and “Anton in Show Business.” Aliya has most recently written and directed a short film, “The Red Rock Diner.”
Founder of the Mojo Studio, Aliya holds a master’s degree from the University of Colorado and trained as an actor at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts. She has performed in regional theater across America, including the Steppenwolf Theatre Company in Chicago.
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