The Temporary hosts comedian Troy Walker and Nora Ephron’s ‘Love, Loss, and What I Wore’ | AspenTimes.com

The Temporary hosts comedian Troy Walker and Nora Ephron’s ‘Love, Loss, and What I Wore’

A local contractor in my neighborhood recently told me about his experience painting the newly constructed Movieland in El Jebel 24 years ago. At the time, there was little more than a stoplight in this no-man's land of a midvalley outpost. "Who would ever come down here to see a movie?" he recalled thinking at the time.

How times have changed. As the population of the midvalley has boomed – with applications and approvals for yet more home development making their way through the public process – the shopping center and residential development known as Willits Town Center has become a little boomtown of its own.

A handful of local programmers are betting that the area is vibrant enough of a destination to support a performing arts center of its own in The Arts Campus at Willits (TACAW). To test demand for the idea, the TACAW team opened temporary proof-of-concept space this summer – accurately if unimaginatively named "The Temporary."

Early events have drawn crowds for touring acts like the Ben Miller Band and for smartly programmed films like a Bob Rafelson mini-retrospective and a "Big Lebowski" night with bartenders serving White Russians. This weekend, the Temporary is hosting its first theater performances and an evening of stand-up comedy.

Here's what to expect from each.

'LOVE, LOSS, AND WHAT I WORE'

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THURSDAY, SEPT. 21 & FRIDAY, SEPT. 22, 7:30 p.m.

Nora and Delia Ephron's witty monologues, based on the 1995 book by Ilene Beckerman, will be performed by a quartet of local actresses: Nina Gabianelli, Eileen Seeley, Jeannie Walla and Jennifer Johnson.

Their poignant stories emerge from memories of prom dresses, wedding gowns, tight "monoboob" bras and track suits – fertile ground for ever-quotable and wise Ephron-isms.

The two-night production of "Love, Loss, and What I Wore" at the Temporary, which opened Thursday night, is an encore of a 2012 run at the Mountain Chalet in Aspen, produced on the heels of Nora Ephron's untimely death.

Walla, whose Palace Productions is co-presenting the show with The Temporary, said that returning to the material after a five-year break has been remarkable. She and her castmates – all four castmembers are returning from the 2012 production – are drawing on five more years of life experience. Performing a monologue about breast cancer, for instance, took on new weight for Walla, who has had the disease strike her family since the last time she last performed "Love, Loss, and What I Wore."

"When we rehearsed it the other night, I just broke up because that scene was personal to me," she said.

Walla is excited to put up the 80-minute Off-Broadway hit at The Temporary, where she has professional lighting and a true stage to use.

"It's an opportunity to see it in a real theater environment," Walla said.

She's quick to add that she hopes men will come out to the show.

"It's not just a play for women," she said. "It's a slice of life that women will love but men can learn something from it."

COMEDIAN TROY WALKER AND FRIENDS

SATURDAY, SEPT. 23, 8 P.M.

Denver comedian Troy Walker works with smart, observational humor. He has a gift for taking mundane experiences and observations, shifting them askew and finding some comedy gold.

For example, his network television debut, two years ago on "The Late Late Show," included an original bit equating slavery and working in corporate America, one about the fear a friend will be murdered after he drops her near her home, and one about picking up insults from classic literature: "If anybody ever called me a ragamuffin, we're both going to jail."

"My act is mostly personal stories and things that happen to me and things I notice," Walker said in a recent interview.

Finding material, for Walker, most often means goofing around with friends.

"It could be you sit around and think of dumb things or talk with your friends and start laughing," he said. "I try to keep my ears and eyes open."

Walker has been splitting his time between Denver and Los Angeles in recent years, but he's proud of the comedy scene that's booming on the Front Range and spilling out across Colorado.

"Denver breeds good stand-ups," Walker said. "There's tons of new and different shows of all kinds every week. Outside of just Comedy Works being one of the best comedy clubs in the country, there's also all these independent things and all of those give a variety of styles and voices that you can hear on any given night."

Another of Denver's stand-up standouts, Adam Cayton-Holland, comes to The Temporary on Oct. 14.

Before breaking out in comedy, Walker earned a law degree and worked a 9-to-5 finance job. Those unique experiences often make their way into his act. Law school may seem an odd way to prepare for a comedy career, but Walker notes that he was a comedian before he was a lawyer: "In a lot of ways, I approached law school through stand-up. I was always leaving to go do shows. I wasn't camped out in the library every night."

One thing you won't see from Walker is any bits about President Donald Trump. While many comics have felt obligated to lampoon the reality television star's bizarre political ascendance or to use the comedy stage as a forum of resistance against the Trump administration, Walker is steering clear.

"People are still pretty on-edge and are rather high-strung about that," he said. "And people are getting it every day. I don't believe there's an obligation to talk about him."

Whether a crowd is pro- or anti-Trump, he said, bringing up Trump tends to put audiences on edge.

"I'd say that most crowds are having less fun immediately, as soon as you start on Trump," he said. "And I don't mean just supporters. The temperature is so high on it all, I feel like everybody starts to get tight when you start talking about it."

atravers@aspentimes.com

If You Go …

What: “Love, Loss, and What I Wore”

Where: The Temporary, Willits Town Center, Basalt

When: Thursday, Sept. 21 & Friday, Sept. 22, 7:30 p.m.

How much: $18-$23

Tickets: http://www.tacaw.com

Who: Troy Walker

Where: The Temporary, Willits Town Center, Basalt

When: Saturday, Sept. 23, 8 p.m.

How much: $19-$24

Tickets: http://www.tacaw.com

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