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By Laura Moore
Special to The SUN
It’s closing weekend for Thingamajig Theatre Company’s “One Flea Spare” at the Pagosa Springs Center for the Arts, with performances Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.
The 1997 Obie Award (Best Play Off-Broadway) winner about four very different Londoners quarantined together in a single room for 28 days while the Great Plague of 1665 rages on outside, sheds light on issues of class dichotomy, the human need for touch and the lengths people will go to in order to maintain hope in desperate situations.
While these events are set against the backdrop of The Great Plague of 1665, many correlations can be seen in our modern lifestyle, with relevance 350 years later.
Indeed, playwright Naomi Wallace’s plays have been described as, “strong, darkly humorous, and political.” The Kentucky native has experienced great success in both the U.S. and abroad, having several of her plays produced in the U.K. and “One Flea Spare” incorporated into the permanent repertoire of the French National Theater, the Comedie-Francaise. Wallace is the only living American playwright to enter the repertoire. Only two American Playwrights have ever been added to La Comédie’s repertoire in 300 years: the other being Tennessee Williams. Pretty good company if you’re a playwright.
In selecting the play, Thingamajig artistic director Tim Moore said he was attracted to its lyricism. “The language of the play. It’s so poetic, so beautiful. I compare it to reading a long poem.”
The title of the play is taken from the John Donne poem “The Flea” and its allegory is woven throughout the two-hour production.
“I’ve been transformed in small and large ways by theatre and other works of art,” said Moore. “By that moment when you’re watching something and you feel like we all can be bigger than we are. The best work makes us strive toward that — not only politically, but enacting change within ourselves. Reading, directing and producing ‘One Flea Spare’ has been an overwhelmingly gratifying experience. I hope audiences take the play home and chew on its contents long after the final bow. This play has so many wonderful layers to it and Naomi Wallace has written it with the humor and compassion for her characters that few playwrights achieve.”
And while audiences are chewing on the play’s gritty content, patrons will also be able to take in some of Pagosa’s best food at the Center for the Arts. The Pagosa Baking Company is a Thingamajig Theatre Company Season Sponsor for the 2013-2014 Winter Season.
“Kathy and Kirsten have been constant supporters and season ticket holders since we first opened in 2010. The bakery now sponsors and hosts all of Thingamajig’s Champagne Openings for the season” said Moore. “What they have done in support of the arts and Thingamajig in particular is nothing short of a Godsend for us. We’re very fortunate to have such amazing sponsors.”
For tickets and show information, visit www.pagosacenter.org or call 731-SHOW.