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Final weekend for ‘The Lion in Winter’ at Pagosa Springs Center for the Arts

This weekend, the Thingamajig Theatre Company presents “The Lion in Winter” Dec. 2-4 at the Pagosa Springs Center for the Arts. Performances on Dec. 2 and 3 are at 7 p.m. the Sunday performance is at 2 p.m.

Since its birth on Broadway back in 1966, “The Lion in Winter” has seen countless community and regional theatre productions around the world. Whether your stage is in the massive auditorium theater or the smaller 140-seat space at Thingamajig Theatre Company, drawing that distinct line between your audience and the historic stone structures of the late 1100s truly defines your level of authenticity needed to interpret the words of people who lived over 1,000 years ago. And some could argue that Thingamajig Theatre has mastered the skills needed to produce such a wonderful play. “Lion in Winter” is the major refresher Pagosa theatregoers were needing during this November season of entertainment.

From the first spoken word till the last step taken, Thingamajig Theatre has produced a fantastic production of James Goldman’s historic classic. Everything from the brilliant intimate set design to the groundbreaking performances by the ensemble, “Lion in Winter” is walking away with the title as one of the most prodigious and entertaining productions of the season, and we have the dedicated work of local and regional artists to thank. The play is being produced at the Pagosa Springs Center for the Arts, quite possibly one of the best theatre spaces in southwest Colorado, but the innovative staging and direction by Pat Payne and his crew really ignites the passion behind Goldman’s characters, whose journeys take them to the brink of holding on to survival. “Lion in Winter” is poetic and powerful, full of hatred and love that gleams off the eyes of each ensemble member.

King Henry II (Kurt Brighton) of England is at the age of 50 and not dead. Despite the large amount of strain placed on his mind of those “close” to him such as his three sons Richard the Lionheart (Tim Moore), John (Elliott Harwood), and Geoffrey (Robin Hebert), not to mention his loving and ruthless wife, Eleanor (Kristal Fortune). James Goldman sets his playwriting marvel in the year 1183 on Christmas, a time when families come together for a time of celebration and selflessness. But when the topic of who is to succeed dear old dad after he passes is brought up, each member of the family begins to betray, devise, and scheme their way to grabbing the throne, even though the King shows no signs of stepping down.

Every character wants something, and is willing to almost kill in order to have it.  Henry’s sons each demand the throne while their mother wants the right son to have it so it may benefit her ambitions. “The Lion in Winter” is a play about the corruption and status of “dysfunctional” that revolves around the historic family of England. It truly is a remarkable production; it steals the audience’s attention and makes us cheer for the greed and selfishness of these characters. Only Shakespeare could rival the words of James Goldman, and Thingamajig Theatre definitely reaches the bar with meeting the requirements of traveling through time.

Everyone has their own breed of family issues; whether it’s fighting for the crown of England or the last slice of pumpkin pie; bottom line is all families have problems. I recommend putting yours to the side for a moment and witnessing Thingamajig Theatre’s marvelous production of “The Lion in Winter.” If you’re looking for a play with a dynamic ensemble and chilling story line at an untouchable price, please look no further. For more information on this show or to purchase tickets, visit www.pagosacenter.org or call (970) 731-SHOW.

Also at the Center for the Arts, the Whatchamawhozit’s Children’s Theatre presents, “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” on Dec.10 and 11 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $5.00 at the door. All are welcome to come support our young local actors!

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