November 6, 2009
If it hadn’t occurred to you that the Roaring Fork Valley is home to a strong arts community, then the next few weeks are a good time to become convinced. Aspen Community Theatre’s “The Music Man” is up and running (through Sunday, Nov. 15 at the Aspen District Theatre) and, as usual, ACT should upend audience’s notions of “community theater.” Keep a particular eye on the sets designed by the gifted Tom Ward. At the Aspen Art Museum, 123 local visual artists have contributed work to the Roaring Fork Open, and the overall ambition of the work is extraordinary. The museum broadens its reach with a performance series related to the Open; this week includes an evening of local writers on Tuesday, Nov. 10, and a handful of actors on Thursday, Nov. 12, staging a reading of Yasmina Reza’s “God of Carnage.” Another handful of local visual artists is spotlighted in the Eastern Flair exhibition at the Red Brick Center for the Arts. Downvalley, Defiance Community Players opens its production of “The Wiz” on Thursday, Nov. 13 at Glenwood Springs High School. It does a body proud.
Ellen Kuras and Thavisouk Phrasavath’s Oscar-nominated documentary about Laos is called “The Betrayal,” though a more apt title would pluralize it, to “The Betrayals.” The film – heart-tugging, poetic, agonizingly real – begins in the ’70s, as the U.S. launches its covert war in Laos, in an effort to contain the spread of Communism through Southeast Asia. Despite the physical devastation – the film notes that America dropped more tons of bombs on Laos than it used in World Wars I and II combined – the war is eventually recognized as futile, and the U.S. withdraws, abruptly and totally, leaving its Laotian allies to deal with the brutal aftermath. The Phrasavath family, which had fought alongside the Americans, must flee their country, and face betrayal number two: The U.S., where they settle, is not exactly the land of freedom, opportunity and endless electricity. In Prospect Park, Brooklyn, they reckon with poverty, Asian gangs and, worst of all, the disintegration of family that was the core of life back home. Powerful and insightful, “The Betrayal” shows Wednesday through Friday, Nov. 11-13, at the Wheeler Opera House.