“Offending the Audience” was the final play staged by Germinal Stage-Denver at its 26-year home in northwest Denver. Here’s my video podcast capturing the emotion of the closing-night performance on Aug. 25, 2013. Video by John Moore. Running time: 9 minutes.
By John Moore
Sept. 1, 2013
People have been asking me about my first experience acting on a stage since performing in “Equus” as a college student in Boulder. I got suckered into joining the cast of “Offending the Audience” when I told Ed Baierlein I wanted to chronicle the final Germinal Stage-Denver production at its northwest Denver home for the past 26 years. “Fine,” he told me … You’re in the play.”
Wait … what?
After the first rehearsal, I wanted to punch this play in the face. I quickly realized that its repetitive, hypnotic and confounding Seuss-like language was too much for my feeble memory to master – especially after a concussion scrambled my brain jelly back in 2009. At one point, feigning the altruism of not wanting to bring down the work of the 40 actual, veteran stage actors Baierlein had brought together for this swan song, I tried to quit.
“No,” Baierlein said bluntly. “You’re just scared.”
Yeah? Tell me something I don’t know, you big bully!
I will always be grateful to Ed for the journalistic opportunity to chronicle an important closing chapter in local theater history. I will always be grateful to Ed for pushing me, because I actually did learn six long, dense word widgets. Words like, “Only a play where time is left out of play is a play …” And in doing so, I learned that just maybe … my memory circuits aren’t quite as blown as I assumed them to be. For me, that’s a huge win.
As for the play, I was tickled to see that the same thing that I loved about high-school and college theater still happens among grizzled vets: They started to form a unit, a family. They bonded. And then, like the audience of a play, they ceased to gather and they ceased to form a unit. That’s sort of the point of the play. Where it fibs is that it doesn’t acknowledge that the ephemeral, sentimental connection that now binds us together … will remain long after the building is returned to a cobbler’s shop.
I made fun of this perplexing script for weeks. But eventually, I too, started to see the gems of truth in it. (Too bad audiences only got 80 minutes to fall in love with it.)
In the end, the script is not really about the theater experience, as it claims. It’s call to be aware of the experience of being alive. Thank you to everyone involved in this production who allowed me the opportunity to experience that.
Countdown to Closure: John Moore’s blow-by-blog chronicling the final production at Germinal Stage Denver.
At “Terminal Germinal,” these walls CAN talk. Check out our photo essay of all the backstage quotes that have been etched into the dressing-room walls.