Opening night at Thunder River Theatre Co. |

Opening night at Thunder River Theatre Co.

There are only two or three human stories, and they go on repeating themselves as fiercely as if they had never happened before. Willa CatherThere may be no one more familiar with the mythical heros journey than Lon Winston and the resident actors of Thunder River Theatre Company.Winstons 12-year dream of having a professional theatre in the valley must have felt like the trials and tribulations of one of his classical stage characters.Last Friday night, before the curtain rose for the first time in their new 11,000 sq. ft. building, Winston remembered some of those times, along with the people who had always remained by his side. My mother offered me this advice, Winston said. She told me to follow your bliss. He did into a 41-year career where he has performed in more than 100 plays in the U.S., and Europe.And although his mother passed away before she got to see opening night, Winston knew she was there. As was his leading lady, Debra, his wife of 31 years, who has never missed a single show. For the companys first play, Winston chose to adapt Aristophanes’ Lysistrata, a Greek comedy.Its a heroic comedy for a heroic community, he said. Part of TRTCs mission is to bring important classics to the stage in a way that allows the audience to view modern problems with not only new eyes, but also through the lessons of history. In the play, Athens and Sparta are in the middle of a 20-year struggle for power over disputed territories. After some sizzling dialogue and fruitless answers from the men in power, the plays heroine, Lysistrata, played by Valerie Haugen, hatches a better idea.Well fix your muddled war, she says. The women, who were looked upon as dimwitted harlots, decided they were tired of being voiceless victims caught in a senseless war that was destroying their own people.So the women bind themselves with an oath to withhold sex from the men until a peace treaty is signed, lock themselves in the Acropolis, which arouses enougth sexual longing and amusing intimation to make everyone forget what they were fighting for.After the play, TRTC, in collaboration with the Carbondale Council Arts & Humanities, sponsored an artists reception in the theatres gallery where a dozen local artists created work inspired by their own interpretation of the play. John Baker, the Carbondale architect who designed the $1.25M building, patnered with Winston, local philanthropists Jim Calaway, Dick Stephenson, and Bob Young; along with several other foundations who all worked together to bring the project to fruition. Sixty-five thousand more dollars and this building is paid for, Winston said.The Company finally has a place to call home.But as any actor knows, as a new curtain arises, another journey begins. And at the end of every great story, the hero always returns home with something special to share with his people.And this is the Companys vital role in our community, for it is on their stage, through the power of anothers story that we see our own more clearly.For play times and more information on Thunder River Theatre Company, log on to

From left, Ken Riley, of Carbondale, is a blacksmith; artist Donna Riley, of Carbondale; and Staci Dickerson, of Carbondale, owns Sounds Easy Video.

From left, actor and founding associate artist of TRTC, Valerie Haugen, of Glenwood, played the lead role as Lysistrata; Calvin Lee, of Carbondale, an artist and attorney whose work is currently hanging in the artists gallery at TRTC; and Ro Meade of Carbondale, director of Carbondale Council on Arts and Humanities.

Thunder River Theatre Co. resident actors who performed in Lysistrata, from left, Patrick Murray, of Carbondale; Michael Miller, of Glenwood; Richard Lyon, of Glenwood; and Peter Goodwin, of Glenwood.

From left, John Baker, of Carbondale, an architect, designed TRTCs new building; Debra Winston, of Carbondale, designs schools; and actor Lon Winston, founding artistic director of Thunder River Theatre Co.

From left, Lana Karp, of Missouri Heights, is an actor and resident member of TRTC who starred in the production; Milu Karp, of the Bahamas, is a teacher; and Jennifer Mogavero, of Carbondale, an actor and member of TRTC, also starred in the production.

Sean McWilliams, left, of Carbondale, an ironworker and blacksmith; and his wife, artist Marilyn Mac, whose mixed media piece, Lysistrata: Then and Now, is currently hanging in the artists gallery at TRTC.

From left, Jocelyn Murray, of Carbondale, works at La Maison and served as stage manager for the production; and Kristin Carlson, of Glenwood, a resident actor in TRTC, who starred in the production, is a corporate copyrighter.

From left, Natalie Gonzalez, 13, of Bailey; Blaize Johnson, 16, of Glenwood, is a junior at Yampah Mountain High School and the daughter of Valerie Haugen; and Amanda Armijo, 16, of Glenwood, is a sophomore at Yampah Mountain High School.

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