Mar 022005
 
Authors: Amy Hochevar

Now playing until March 13:

Rasputin

Armstrong Hotel

Third Floor Ballroom

259 S. College

484-5237

It has been debated whether he was a saint or a holy devil, but the choice is up for observation.

Rasputin, born a peasant in Siberia, rose to great influence in the court of the last Russian royal family, Tsar Nicholas and Tsarina Alexandra.

While working magic as witchdoctor Rasputin would gallivant around town drinking and sleeping with the women. History still questions what his purpose really was.

Fort Collins' openstage etc., an endeavor of OpenStage Theatre & Company, presents a play that looks at one of history's most controversial figures at the Armstrong Hotel, 259 S. College Ave.

The play will be presented as a reading of the script and all audience members will have a chance to speak with the playwright, directors, actors and theater professionals from around Colorado after each evening's performance.

openstage etc. considers approximately 100 scripts per year for production from around the United States. Directed by Denise Freestone and Eric Corneliuson, "Rasputin" was the first script to be chosen for openstage etc.'s 2004-2005 season.

Playwright David Hall has been welcomed by openstage etc. to present his play, "Rasputin." Hall is a local writer who has been writing plays that have won contests and/or been staged in various parts of the country.

Hall chose to write a play about Rasputin because he is one of those larger-than-life historical characters who almost everyone has heard of or knows something about.

"For instance, the common view of him is that he unduly influenced the government of the last Tsar and Tsarina of Russia and helped bring it down," Hall said. "I realized in my reading, over the course of the past few years, that there was much more to him than any of us realized."

"Rasputin" has also been chosen to be in the regular season next fall at the Lincoln Center. The advantage of seeing it now is that the audience will be able to interact with the cast and crew after the production.

It has been more than 10 years since one of Hall's plays has been staged in Fort Collins, and he is very excited to have everyone see what he has been working on.

Andrew Quirk, one of the 17 actors in "Rasputin," managed to play three different characters.

"It is easy for me because I've done it (multi-casting) multiple times," Quirk said.

Quirk said that the process of the play was very different because he is used to actually staging shows rather than just doing a script reading of the play.

"A staged reading really helps you concentrate on the words of the play," Quirk said. "It was a great experience."

The actors all sit on stage at the same time, all wearing black. This shows the formal setting of the play.

"It's almost like watching a radio show," Hall, said.

Hall hopes that the play will provoke the audience to consider not just Rasputin but also their own tendency to accept the prevailing popular view of such men and women without digging deeper and finding out the more interesting truth.

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