Monday, November 10, 2014

Awaiting the Apocalypse

Cast:  L-R, back:  Stacia Gordon, R. Scott Croushore, Winter Maza.  Front L-R:  Patrick Call, Dan Davis, Marq Del Monte, Winnie Wenglewick.

Playwright: Jonathan M. Vick
Company:  Denver's Dangerous Theatre
Venue:  Denver's Dangerous Theatre, 2620 W. 2nd Avenue, Denver CO, 80219.
Running Time:  2 hours, 5 minutes (includes 15 minute intermission).
Date of Performance:  Friday, November 7, 2014 

"If tomorrow should lead us to tears, let them be for what we have lost, and not for what we have missed altogether."

Awaiting the Apocalypse by Jonathan M. Vick.

If you're facing the Apocalypse, that would be some very good advice.  Cry not for what we lost, but for that which we never experienced.  Whether you believe in a Biblical Apocalypse, or no apocalypse whatsoever, it is undeniable that we will each face our own personal "end of days."  No one gets out of this life alive.
Awaiting the Apocalypse presents a non-Biblical version of the end of days; it's not about the end of the world, but the end of living.  It's not famine, it's not pestilence, it's not war.  Nor is it death.  It's the choices we make that prevent us from actually living our lives.
In fact, the entire play takes place in a diner ironically called "Smithereens."  The irony is that this apocalypse is not the one that destroys the planet (perhaps by blowing it to "smithereens").  

Rather, the diner is a sort of therapeutic confessional, where the "apocalypse" of lost opportunities has already sucked the life out of the regulars.  Their regrets are, sadly, for what they "have missed altogether."

It's an intriguing premise, giving rise to some deep philosophical discussions.  For example (from the script):
What is Armageddon, Cameron?  What is the Apocalypse?  Is it the Judgment Day?  The end of the world?  Is it the slow and deliberate destruction of souls by Famine, War, Pestilence and Death; the Four Horsemen?  Or is it just me and you; giving up?
Giving up your dreams, consciously choosing to let them be just dreams, is arguably "giving up" on life.  

Awaiting the Apocalypse reminded me of the lesson my late wife taught me.  She lived her
Linda.  November, 2001.
life with passion, and wasted not a second of it.  She had a dream to walk on the Great Wall of China by her 50th birthday.  I thought she was kidding...or at least just dreaming.  

One day in August, 2001, I casually mentioned to her, (even though she was only 48 years old at the time), that there was a great package deal in the newspaper.  It included 7 nights in Beijing and an excursion to the Great Wall for $999 from Boston.  I only mentioned it to her so that we would have an idea of costs and other details when she reached 50.  Her reaction:  "Book it."  

We went to China in November, 2001, and she stood on the Great Wall.  She was not one to cry someday for things that she had "missed altogether."  But that day she cried tears of joy, living her dream.
I mention this personal experience to illustrate that playwright Jonathan Vick is onto something here.  We all have dreams; we all need dreams.  But not everyone moves them from dreams to reality; in fact, some people, some might even say a lot of people, don't even try to live their dreams. Or, as Vick describes the Apocalypse:
"It is not the end of THE world; it’s the end of YOUR world." 
This is a script with big ideas, painted broadly across a small, deliberately restricted universe the size of the Smithereens Diner.  The result is a feast for the mind and the spirit.
Mort (Marq Del Monte).
If you thought Waiting for the Apocalypse might be a bit depressing, I have good news for you.  It's actually quite funny.  While all the characters have some laugh lines, it is Mort (Marq Del Monte) who gets the best ones.  Del Monte is marvelous as the whining, high maintenance cranky old codger.  In fact, all the performances are competent and sincere. 
Smithereens Diner.

Denver's Dangerous Theatre is a very small, intimate venue, which is to say, perfect for Vick's script.  They have turned the small room into a diner for Awaiting the Apocalypse, seating the everyone at small tables and serving chips, salsa, dip, and coffee to actors and to the audience.  It's not Broadway; you don't get pyrotechnics and the latest, state of the art technical gimmicks at Dangerous.  What you do get is cutting edge new theater, served with a big side of passion.   
Nora (Winnie Wenglewick).

Winnie Wenglewick is the director; she plays Nora, she sells the tickets, builds the set, and she probably cleans the rest rooms.  I'm giving her a hat tip here, not just because I totally enjoyed Awaiting the Apocalypse.  She also deserves the hat tip because she isn't waiting for her Apocalypse.  She's living her theater dream, and living it with passion.  She is exactly the kind of person who would recognize the wisdom of "Awaiting the Apocalypse."  
Awaiting the Apocalypse contains adult situations and adult language.  Discretion is advised for younger folks.
The ceaseless construction project at 6th Avenue and I-25 has impacted the access to Denver's Dangerous Theatre.  Currently, best access is from the south.    Take Alameda to Clay; go north on Clay.   After several blocks you will come to a T intersection; go right.  The parking lot for Denver's Dangerous Theatre will be on your right nearly immediately after that right turn.  Add 5-10 minutes to your drive time to allow for delays.
Before the show starts, you will be served an appetizer.  It's included in your ticket price, so come a little hungry.  
This show closes on November 21, 2014. 

Pre or post show dining suggestion:  
The Hornet, 76 S. Broadway, Denver CO.  It's very near to several downtown Denver theater venues, including, in this case, Denver's Dangerous Theatre.  

On street parking is difficult on Broadway; go 1 block east to Lincoln for a better chance to snag a spot.  The Hornet is a neighborhood pub/restaurant; I had a build your own burger that was probably the best I've had a in a very long time.  Roxie had the honey chicken entree, which was also very good.
Photo CreditsDenver's Dangerous Theatre.
Tickets HERE.
Creative Team:

Director/Scenic Designer:  Winnie Wenglewick

Cameron:  Patrick Call
Sylvester:  R. Scott Croushore
Mort:  Marq Del Monte
Solomon:  Dan Davis
Melissa:  Stacia Gordon
Dallas:  Winter Maza
Nora:  Winnie Wenglewick


  1. Thanks for coming out to our show! We're glad you enjoyed it.

    --R Scott Croushore

  2. Scott: very thoughtful piece. Glad we got to see it. Keep up the good work!