Playwright Carolyn Kras brings ‘Mine & Yours’ back to Theater Masters in Aspen
IF YOU GO …
What: ‘Mine & Yours’ at Take Ten First Look, presented by Theater Masters
Where: Black Box Theater, Aspen High School
When: Friday, Jan. 24 & Saturday, Jan. 25, 7:30 p.m.
How much: $12-$24
More info: Each evening includes a reading of the full-length play ‘Mine & Yours’ along with three shorts by local high schoolers
Playwright Carolyn Kras has come full circle at Theater Masters, which is bringing the playwright back to Aspen this weekend to stage a reading of her dark comedy “Mine & Yours” at its Take Ten First Look festival.
When Kras was a graduate student at Carnegie Mellon University in 2010, she spent a week in Aspen through Theater Masters’ “Take Ten” program for MFA playwrights.
Among 10 aspiring playwrights from graduate programs around the U.S., she work-shopped a 10-minute play with a cast of local actors and director Margaret Perry, staging it for an Aspen audience at the Black Box Theatre.
“The Aspen audience was so warm and welcoming and had great feedback,” Kras recalled.
She stayed in a host family’s home, “got an inside look at the real Aspen,” met fellow rising playwrights and Theater Masters founder Juila Hansen and heard Primary Stages artistic director Andrew Leynse give a talk.
Two years later, the local nonprofit awarded her a Visionary Playwright commission, supporting her development of a new full-length play and bringing her to the Aspen Ideas Festival to scout for material and inspiration.
“There were a lot of panels about the economy at that time — it was still in the aftershocks of the Great Recession,” she recalled.
The Ideas conversations led to “Mine & Yours,” her play about the Great Recession’s foreclosure crisis, in which two couples — through a banking loophole — have rights to a home for a period of time and find themselves sharing it.
“That was the genesis of it,” Kras said. “So I’m happy to come back to Aspen to share this work.”
When Kras won the Visionary Playwright award, she was working as a page at NBC in Los Angeles (“I was the real-life Kenneth from ‘30 Rock,’” she recalled with a laugh). The commission gave Kras her first chance to devote time to a full-length stage play while she was still paying her bills doing network grunt work.
“It was so exciting to have a creative commission while I was doing that for NBC,” she recalled.
“Mine & Yours” has since gotten developmental readings at multiple theaters in both Chicago and Los Angeles. As it returns to Aspen, Kras is hoping it is on its way to a full production. She said that in post-show talk-backs she has heard from audience members about their own foreclosure experiences and heard that the twist ending caught them off-guard.
“At its heart, it’s a play about dealing with a curveball that people didn’t think they’d have to deal with, and how they come out of that,” she said.
When Kras came to Aspen as a student a decade ago, she was positioning herself through her Carnegie Mellon studies to work in film and television as well as in theater. She’s now in the thick of the Hollywood hustle. Kras is currently shopping around a TV pilot about the clerks of the U.S. Supreme Court, a feature film about the Elizabethan scientist William Gilbert with “Entrapment” director Jon Amiel attached and working on a horror comedy script.
Of her apparent genre-hopping interests as a writer, she said, “I love exploring different genres and exploring different themes and style.”
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Indie folk band Birdtalker is making three Colorado tour stops this weekend starting with Aspen’s Wheeler Opera House on Friday.