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Arts and Entertainment

Champagne bubbles kick off the DAC’s 24-hour theater festival next weekend

Brenda Macon

A good romantic story is worth its weight in gold. I love the one about the famous Dom Pierre Perignon, who yelled for his fellow Benedictine monks back in 1693 upon his discovery of champagne, “Come quickly! I am drinking the stars!” Fun fact: The containers used to ferment wine back then couldn’t contain the pressure that champagne bubbles caused, so the caskets often exploded, earning the sweet drink the moniker of “devil’s wine.”

Now, 330 years later, in a place as beautiful as the mountainous regions of France, we offer you the chance to sip the devil’s wine and meet some real stars. You’re invited to a thrilling ride of a weekend of live theater. Like a comet, it will flame out, and you won’t see the same one again, ever.

The 24-hour theater is an exciting magic trick. In one weekend only, in front of your very eyes, a selection of seven 10-minute short plays go from blank page to stage, and the audience is in the driver’s seat to determine the fate of each story.

On Nov. 17, join the audience for the champagne gala kickoff just for DAC members and patrons (you still have time to get on the list – become a member online) and you will ultimately select the prompts that are woven into each script.

Think of “Iron Chef,” where the prompts are like the required ingredients for a play. They include a character name, a prop, a line of dialogue, a location and a sound effect. Imagine you're a script writer. You have all the coffee you need to pull an all-nighter and you’ve just been given these prompts to weave into a story by 4 a.m. Nov. 18: Uncle JoBob; Feather boa; “Let’s dance, Mr. President”; a Detroit Car Factory; and a Barking Dog sound. If you’re a writer, this can feel like a MadLib. Luckily, our writers are professionals: Michael Grais (“Poltergeist,” “Cool World”) Blake Crouch (“Wayward Pines,” “Dark Matter”) Jacque Ben-Zekry, Mandy Mikulencak and other amazing writers. Directors and actors arrive the next morning to see what scripts they got. Actors include Mellisa Mossinghoff, Charlie Grice, Connor Shehan, Tyler Wiseman, Andy Rude, McKenzie Oury, Julia Stock and many more – including some surprises. While the actors learn their lines, the house is abuzz with props and costume experts flying around getting everything ready and the scenes set. At 7:30 p.m. Nov. 18, the audience returns. Curtains open and everyone holds their breath to see what stars will shine.

In the theater
  • “Rocky Horror Show”: 7 p.m. Friday-Sunday; 10 p.m. Saturday. Tickets $25.
  • A Night of Improv: 7 p.m. Nov. 10. Tickets $15.
  • 24-Hour Theater, 7:30 p.m. Nov. 17 member/patron audience selects prompts at champagne gala. Shows are 7:30 p.m. Nov. 18 and 2 p.m. Nov. 19. Tickets $15.
  • Silent Sunday with Swanson: 2 p.m. Dec. 3. Tickets $15.
  • “A Ghost Tale for Mr. Dickens,” based on the Magic Treehouse book, “A Ghost Tale for Christmastime.” All ages welcome. 7 p.m. Dec. 8-9, 15-16; 2 p.m. Dec. 9-10, 16-17. Tickets $10 students/$15 adults.
Art classes and gallery events
  • Pots & Pints: 4:30 p.m. Fridays. $35.
  • After School Art for second-12th grade, variety of subjects.
  • Adult Art Classes five nights a week, all levels welcome, registration required.
  • Current Exhibit: “The Night Gallery, A Terrifyingly Creative Community Exhibit.” Free.
  • Call to Artists: Holiday Gift Gallery. Submissions close Saturday. See website for details.
  • Shop the Artisan’s Market: Open noon-6 p.m. Wednesday to Saturday.
  • Adult and youth art and theater classes fall online registrations now open.

Buy tickets, donate, become a member and register for classes at DurangoArts.org.

Brenda Macon has been executive director of Durango Arts Center since 2018.