Last two performances of Thingamajig Theatre’s ‘box.’ this weekend at the Pagosa Springs Center for the Arts

Photo courtesy Zach Burke
Tomorrow, Friday, Oct. 19, and Saturday, Oct. 20, at 7 p.m. are the last two performances of Dennis Elkins’ “box.” on the Thingamajig Theatre stage at the Pagosa Springs Center for the Arts. Tickets for “box.” are available at the theater’s website, or by phoning 731-7469.

By Carole Howard
Special to The PREVIEW
Tomorrow, Friday, Oct. 19, and Saturday, Oct. 20, at 7 p.m. are your last two chances to view Dennis Elkins’ “box.” on the Thingamajig Theatre Company stage at the Pagosa Springs Center for the Arts.
This biographical solo show written and performed by Elkins resulted in a standing ovation and rave reviews by the audience when it opened last weekend. Among the reactions: “Brilliant.” “Deeply incisive.” “Alternating very funny and hugely sad.” “A special treat to see such first-class acting in our little mountain town.”
Elkins’ “box.” focuses on the psychological trials in our lives associated with packing and unpacking boxes — literally and figuratively. We follow Elkins through major events in his adult life including his mother’s death, his son’s overdose, coming out of the closet and leaving academia. It is an intensely moving and intimate portrayal, even comedic at times. The colors red, blue and green play an important role in the show, representing organization, order and compartmentalization as we pack and move from location to location in our lives.
Before coming to Pagosa, the opening section of “box.” debuted in a workshop in 2012 in Vancouver, Canada. The full play premiered in February in Savannah, Ga., and was performed in March in Elkins’ hometown of Elkhart, Kan. Elkins then took the show to Seattle, Wash., and London, England, in July, and Cape Town, South Africa, in August. After the Pagosa performances, “box.” heads to the United Solo Festival in New York City.
Over the eight years that Thingamajig has brought professional theater to Pagosa Springs, Elkins has impressed both locals and out-of-town visitors with his brilliant acting, keen directing and remarkable versatility. He starred in significant dramas including “Red,” “A Picasso” and “A Few Good Men”; played major roles in musicals like “Cabaret,” “Hairspray” and “Sister Act;” and earned laughs in comedies like “Lend Me a Tenor” and “Tuna Christmas.” This summer he directed the musical “Thoroughly Modern Millie.”
During his 25 years in the academic theater arena and five-year tenure as head of the theater department at Fort Lewis College, Elkins mentored young actors by teaching classes and directing his students in several plays including “The Pirates of Penzance” and “Spring Awakening.”
He also made opportunities for Thingamajig director Melissa Firlit and actor Taylor Marrs to perform in Fort Lewis College plays, as well as showcasing the talents of Pagosa’s own Johannah Laverty, well-known in town for her many roles in high school and Curtains Up Pagosa productions.
In addition to being admired in Pagosa and Durango, Elkins has made a name for himself in other major venues including the Colorado Shakespeare Festival, the Utah Shakespearean Festival, the Single Carrot Theatre in Baltimore and the Clarence Brown Company at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. He also directed “Comedy of Errors” in 2017 and “The Merry Wives of Windsor” this summer at Albuquerque’s Shakespeare on the Plaza.
Elkins’ home base currently is the South Harlem area of New York City, where he divides his time between acting, directing, teaching and writing, as well as enjoying the company of other theater people, including Thingamajig alumni Craig Dolezel, Firlit and Dan Morrison, who also live in the Big Apple.
Tickets for “box.” are available at the theater’s website,, or by phoning 731-7469.
Thingamajig Theatre is a professional nonprofit 501(c)(3) theater in residence within the Pagosa Springs Center for the Arts producing musicals, comedies and dramas year-round.

This story was posted on October 19, 2018.