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Shows, art continue at PSCA summer season

Watching the Thingamajig Theatre’s performance of “You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown!” is sort of like a fantastical journey through childhood memories of bits and pieces of Charles Shultz’s Peanuts comics and films.

Of course, this performance is not exclusive to Peanuts fans; it can also be enjoyed by those with little to no previous Peanuts experience. Shultz’s famous characters are wonderfully colorful and absolutely hilarious to see imagined and embodied in the physical form of college-age actors, dressing the part.

The songs are absolutely charming, the themes are warm and sentimental, and the overall performance is a tribute to the American icon that is Charlie Brown.

Adam Sowards, the actor portraying Charlie, is not balding. He is, however, in all other respects the precise and calculated embodiment of the essence of the angst of childhood that is Charlie Brown.

If you’ve ever tried to fly a kit, and had it get stuck in a tree, you’ve been there. If you ever tried to ask your older sister for advice and she offered you a knuckle sandwich instead, you’ve been there. Sowards brings that ironical part of all of us to the forefront of his performance, and it shines.

Everyone needs to come and see the heartwarming, sentimental, decisively comical, almost magically innocent performance of “You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown!”

It’s a family show, and children’s tickets are only $10, so bring your kids. If you don’t have kids, just bring your sense of childhood wonder. And don’t worry if you leave yours at home, chances are you may just find some in the Pagosa Springs Center for the Arts lobby while a local musician performs, while you are observing the art gallery, or just meeting and mingling with new people before the show.

I guarantee the only thing you could possibly regret about this show is not buying a ticket.

‘Chicago’

It’s 7 p.m. on Wednesday, the opening night of “Chicago “for the week, and my first time to ever see the show. The theatre is packed. A man sitting to my left notices I have a pad of paper and a pen, and whispers to me, “It’s so nice to be so small ... and the prices, they’re so reasonable!” I soon learned that the man to my stage right was Mr. Harris from Tampa, who visits Pagosa Springs every summer.

At this point, I could firmly assume that I knew two things: the first, that I was about to witness the glitz, glamour and gritty glory that is “Chicago,” and the second being that my new friend and his guests were about to become annual patrons of the Pagosa Springs Center for the Arts.

Amidst the buzz of excited theatre-goers discussing playbills over glasses of wine, the distant sound of people discussing set design, their weekend plans of horses and hiking and food and festivals, the lights finally begin to dim.

It’s 7:04, and as the audience members start shifting in their seats, anticipation mounting, Laura Moore takes the stage.

As the figurehead of PSCA, and the Thingamajig Theatre Company, she stands poised and comfortable in the bright lights. As she explains the vast range of enthusiastic community involvement Pagosa Springs has offered the Center for the Arts, the cheering and clapping becomes overwhelming.

The Pagosa Springs Center for the Arts is not just a home to a theatre company. It is not just a gallery space or a musical venue. It is all of these things and more for the community of Pagosa Springs, and the greater Colorado area. This becomes especially evident when the crowd refuses to stop cheering at the mention of donated artwork, posters, money, time and hotel rooms, of patrons and donors, pledges and sponsorships.

All this confirms my a faith in the spirit of the Center for the Arts. It is about the community. It is about bringing people and artwork and experiences together in a way that never could have otherwise been imagined in a small town like Pagosa. That is what Laura and Tim Moore bring to the table, or should I say, to the stage.

And then the show starts.

I would hate to spoil it for you so, instead, I will highly recommend you see “Chicago” at the PSCA. Ifthe costuming, the dancing and phenomenal vocal performances don’t get you, the razzle dazzle will.

As audience member Velva Merrick put it, “The timing with the music ... the moves ... it’s perfect. The timing of everything is incredible,” and honestly, I could not agree more. This is a performance not to be missed.

Art gallery

Crystal Hartman is one of the newest artists to join the gallery collection at The Pagosa Springs Center for the Arts. Her paintings, full of deep blues and bright reds and whites, stand out against the walls. In her work entitled “X X — A Piece on Love” Hartman encourages the viewer to scribble or inscribe their own thoughts on love onto her artwork.

Some people may call this crazy. Art historians, or people who want to sound sophisticated, may call it relational aesthetics. But call it what you will, Crystal Hartman’s work is big, bold and bright. Her pieces bring a new sensation of creative energy to the lobby of the PSCA, and a new perspective on the art object as a sacred space or a template for human expression.

Crystal is the founder of Durango Open Studios, a tour of working art spaces in Durango, a project begun in an effort to bring an art community together and allow the general public the opportunity to understand process in art. Exploring new ways to relate to art, to humanity and to the outside world, is what creative expression is all about. Especially in a gallery setting, it is a rare treat not only to view but to be encouraged to actively participate in the creative process, no matter who you are or what you know, or think you know, about art. Crystal Hartman’s pieces are not to be missed.

Ali Rohrbacher is a visiting art student recently graduated from Evergreen University in Tacoma Washington. As part of her intern to job project, she has written this review of the Thingamajig Theatre’s Summer Rep productions and Art Gallery show that run Wednesday, Thursday, Friday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 2 pm through Aug. 12. The Thingamajig Theatre is a professional 501c3 that uses local, regional and out-of-state actors, designers, choreographers and directors for productions. Ticket are $20 in advance or $25 at the door. Tickets are only $10 for kids 13 and under for admission to “You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown!” Tickets can be purchased online at www.pagosacenter.org or by calling 731-SHOW (7469).

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