Saturday, August 15, 2015

What Color Is That Dress?

Front:  Stephanie Sly (Ashley), Angie Gerholdt (Crystal).  Back:  Becky Lofton (Agent Chroma), Garfield Gerholdt (Agent Prism).
Playwright:  Cyndi Parr

CompanyDragon Theatre Productions (a program of Imagination Celebration in a partnership with the Pikes Peak Library District)

Venue:  Library 21c, 1175 Chapel Hills Drive, Colorado Springs CO

Running Time:  1 hour 

Date of Performance:  Friday, August 14, 2015.

You may remember the recent internet controversy over what color(s) is the dress in this photo.  Blue and gold?  White and gold? Black and blue?  None of these?

So the Dragon Theatre has taken that story and put it on the stage, turning the controversy into a teachable moment.  The science of color, it turns out, is not as simple as we believe it to be.  Women can see color better than men.  Guys…can any of you see mauve?  No?  That’s what I thought.  Color is much more subjective than we realize.  Our brains interpret color and light, but  as with a lot of things, your brain won’t always agree with other brains on what color the dress is.

The story includes two brilliantly dressed characters to help us make sense of the color question. Agent Chroma (Becky Loften) and Agent Prism (Garfield Gerholdt) arrive
“prepared” to show us how color is not always what we think it is.  Do you know how “red shift” affects color?  

Can you tell which box is darker in this photo?  (Hint:  Neither.  They are the same.  Black out the border between the two boxes with your finger.  You'll see that they are indeed both the same color.)

So Dragon Theatre sets out to tell us that things are not always what we perceive, and they succeed in doing so.  But perhaps not in the way you might think.

From the program:

“Dragon Theatre Productions is a completely community-inclusive theater program that welcomes anyone willing to make the performance commitment to have the ability to perform, regardless of race, age, disability, orientation, or income.  The scripts are adapted to showcase the unique talents and abilities of the performers in a fun and cooperative environment.”

That’s right.  No one is turned away.  Anyone can and will be cast, without regard to the factors above.  

Given that information, you will understand why the point of my review is not the performance, which as information, was entertaining and enlightening.  Rather, this is a review of a company and its’ commitment to the transformative power theater can bring to all of us.  

A partnership with the Pikes Peak Library District and Imagination Celebration, Dragon Theatre Productions writes scripts that are tailored to their actors skills.  Think about that for a minute.  If you had a son, a daughter, a friend, or even an acquaintance with a disability, you can probably relate to how that disability takes an emotional as well as physical toll on that person.  It’s difficult to know that, in some sense, people think you’re not “normal.’  Anyone trying out for a role at Dragon Theatre Productions gets a chance to be someone else, someone new.  Someone people can see, listen to, and relate to, apart from the person they thought they knew.

It’s like a therapeutic costume party where you become someone else and go to a place where everyone is equal, happy, and productive.  It is Dragon Theatre Productions that is opening that door and giving everyone a chance at equality, happiness, and productivity.

For some, a successful theater is one that sells a lot of tickets.  For others, it’s producing shows that enhance our lives.  Dragon Theatre Productions is in the latter category.  Their focus isn’t to make a lot of money selling tickets, nor is it necessarily to enhance the lives of the people in the audience.  Rather, their purpose is to enhance the lives of those who live around us, among us, and with us, but who are all too often marginalized.

Dragon Theatre Productions might not put on a lot of award winning shows.  That, frankly doesn’t matter in the slightest.  In fact, the very concept of awards for art is a dubious one.  Instead, Dragon Theatre Productions takes its many intangible awards as they come.  

We heard about a volunteer who wanted to be in a production, but couldn’t speak at the time.  Dragon Theatre Productions found her something she could do onstage.  Over time, that actor has begun to speak, and she can now deliver some lines.  She has been transformed emotionally and physically, and she exudes a level of joy and happiness we all seek.  

The intangible rewards we get in life are almost always the best ones.  Dragon Theatre Productions understands that, and their intangible rewards have been substantial.  Theater, done well, is very powerful.  So is theater done right.  Dragon Theatre is doing theater right, which the audience may find touching, but more importantly, has a transformative impact for their performers.   

As I mentioned above, things are not always as we perceive them.  We don’t always perceive colors correctly, nor do we always perceive people correctly.  Dragon Theatre Productions is helping us with the latter, and for that, they deserve and get my highest praise.
What Color IS That Dress?

I usually only credit the main performers and crew in the interest of brevity.  For Dragon Theatre Productions, I will make an exception and be “community-inclusive.”  Every single person who was credited in the program has been included below.  

This show closes on August 16, 2015

On a personal note, my wife, Roxie, has lymphedema in her right arm as a result of breast cancer treatment and has to wear compression bandages or garments all the time.  We are aware of the glances of others and although she is not bothered by questions, I am astounded at how many people feel free to ask her what happened.  She feels an instant kinship whenever she meets another person with lymphedema - giving complete strangers hugs.  She, and we, get it.

PHOTO CREDITSDragon Theatre Productions.

TICKETS:  At the door.  


Director:  Angie Kinnett

Assistant Directors:  Angie Gerholdt, Nathaniel Bourn, Pam Parr, Robert Bowman, Eileen Morgan, Cyndi Parr

Produced by:  Jeff, Jane, Matt, and Velma Hall

Dragon Theatre Program Director:  Cyndi Parr

Imagination Celebration Executive Director:  Deborah Thornton

Imagination Space Manager:  Dan Wecks

Imagination Celebration Board:  Emily Foster, Keith Johnson, Lee Kyle, Diane Loschen, Ana Olivas, Beth Seymour, Becca Sickbert

PPLD Staff:  Dee Sabol, Sean Anglum, Danny Walter, Jamey Hastings, Travis Duncan, Jeremiah Walter

Dedicated in Memory of Past Dragon Theatre Participants:  Mike Chase, Leslie Levengood, Rita Marks, Tiffany Maxwell, Steve Warmington.

Costume Design:  Ashley Gamba

Scenic Piece Designers:  Ben Sloan, Angie Kinnett, Robert Bowman

Additional Set Creators:  Roy Ballard, K8e Orr, Joel Newmiller, Jeff Hall 

Stage Manager:  Monica Erck

Backstage Manager:  Devin Walker

Backstage Crew:  Pam Parr, Angela Wu, Christina Reyes, Robert Bowman, Jane Oliver, Stephanie Sly, Bob Wolf, Marsha Miller

Dramaturgs:  Angie Gerholdt, Becky Loften, Robert Bowman, Ben Sloan, Devin Walker

Lighting Designer:  Ben Sloan (

Sound Designer:  Maelle Dassonville

Light Assistant:  Bob Wolf

Music:  The Rogue Spirits:  Travis Duncan/Jeremiah Walter

Set Painters:  Angela Wu, Christina Reyes, Emily Sorenson

Set and Prop Movers:  Angie Gerholdt, Matt Gerholdt, Joe Kinnett, Angie Kinnett, Wesly Kinnett, Jane Hall, Matt Hall, Anita Azare, Glenn Azare, Ashley Whitead, Robert Bowman, Ben Sloan, Cyndi Parr

Helpers, builders, lifters:  David Sorenson, Danny Walter, Sean Anglum, Daniel Medina

Dance Choreographers:  Anita Azare, Micah Spiers, Stephanie Sly

Fight Choreographer:  Tom Condas

Costume Goddess and Workshop Leader:  Jane Hall

Costume Creators:  Angela Wu, Christina Reyes

Costume Helpers:  Brendon Kern, Tristen Kern, Collen Kern, Cathy Hoefker, Sarah Kirkbride, Eileen Morgan, Matt Hall

Costume Donors:  Weston Kreuger, Josh Kruger, Starr Vansholtz, Justin Courtier, Joan Courtier, Stephanie Sly, Tracy Rodgers, Joyce Rodgers, Cyndi Parr, Matt Hall, Robert Bowman, Isabel Sorenson, Joy Blackburn, Matthew Miller, Marsha Miller, Shannon Liska, Jamie Oliver, Jane Oliver, Beth Wood, Betty Wood, Anita Azare, Ashley Whitead, Leanna Wolf, Nancy Wolf, Bob Wolf, Michael Blickhann, Angie Gerholdt, Garfield Gerholdt, Dan Wecks/Imagination Celebration, Betsy McClenahan, Carolye Asfahi

Costume Running Crew:  Angela Wu, Christina Reyes, Jane Hall, Wright Family, June Gordon, Russ Gordon, Mike Olive, Jane Oliver

Prop Workshop Leaders:  Joel Newmiller, Bandon Busby, K8e Orr (

Prop Master:  Matt Hall

Prop Creators:  Lindsey Roy, Rod Merriman, Lura Winter, Sarah Kirkbride, Chris Gould, Anita Azare, Ashley Whitead, Jeff Hall, Jane Hall, Ron Foster, Donna Winter

Prop Donors:  Dan Wecks/Imagination Celebration, Drew Johnson, LaVonne Taylore, Robert Bowman, Matt Hall, Jane Hall, Jen Sorenson, Joyce Rodgers

Photographer:  Matt Meacham

Poster Design:  David Ball

Printing by:  Cheetah Printing

Program Design:  Cyndi Parr

Poster Art by:  Michael Hague and

Ad Sales:  Drew Johnson, Cyndi Parr, Jane Hall, Cletis Johnson

Promotional Team:  Cyndi Parr, Shannon Liska, Travis Duncan, Jermian Walter, Sean Anglum, Deborah Thornton, Jen Furda, Joy Blackburn, Micah Spiers

Awesome Supporters:  Daina Beck, Beth Merriman, Donna Winter, Jeff Hall, Chris Gould

Snack Master:  Angie Gerholdt

Wesly Wranglers:  Jeff Hall, Pam Parr, Joe Kinnett


Crystal:  Angie Gerholdt

Red, Bee 1:  Anita Azare

Yellow Bee 2: Ashley Whitead

Agent Chroma: Becky Loften

Athena, Purple: Beth Marie Wood

Royal Sea Snailer, Cerberus, Butterfly: Cathy Hoefker

Voiceover of Light Designer: Cyndi Parr

Green, Mantis Shrimp:  Eric Williams

Agent Prism:  Garfield Gerholdt

Cleopatra, Sparrow:  Heather Hayward

Sheep, Bee 4:  Hillary Hayward

Zeus, Reindeer:  Jamie Oliver

Bee 3:  Jane Hall

Blue, Woman in Red, Claude Monet, Queen Bee:  Joyce Rodgers
Scientist, Violet:  LeeAnna Wolf

Hades:  Matt Hall

Artist:  Michael Blickhahn

Color Illusionist:  Robert Bowman

Ashley:  Stephanie Sly

Orange, Man in Red, Zuckerberg, Chameleon:  Tracy Rodgers

Special thanks to:

Audrey Bussanich, Tommie Sue Wojnarowski, Chris Terrien, Becca Sickbert, James Kelley, Velma Hall, Shannon Liska, Angie Gerholdt, Robert Bowman, Tom Fleecs and D-11, Dan Wecks, Deborah Thornton, Betsy McClenahan, Drew Johnson, Lavonne Taylor, Cindy Whittington, Warren Epstein, Nora Hardin, Gloria Shanstrom, Midnight Multimedia M3, El Paso County, Fox21 News, Kim Green, KCMJ, Pikes Peak Interagency Transition Team, New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts, Peak Radar, COPPeR, Colorado Theater Guild, Colorado Community Theater Festival, Pikes Peak Arts Council, James McClain and the Bellevue Youth Theatre, and the entire staff of the Pikes Peak Library District.

Media Sponsor:  Colorado Springs Business Journal

Ad Sponsors/Donors:  elope, Inc., Jeff, Jane & Matt Hall, Springs Realty Group, Jerry and Margaret Morris, Midnight Multimedia M3, Qualtek, Jane Dillon, Terri & Cecil Harrison, Touchstone Internal Medicin, Bruce Tabberson DDS, TechWares.

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