It's been three decades since actors Kathy Najimy and Mo Gaffney wrote and acted in "Parallel Lives," later turning it into an HBO movie. But the play with two characters talking about the human condition is still current, says director Nathan Halvorson.
"Parallel Lives" opens at the Fine Arts Center at Colorado College with two supreme beings deciding how the human population is going to work, and then "they go through nine snapshots of situations. The two actors play 12 to 14 characters apiece. In each scene, they play one to three people the audience hasn't seen before," said Halvorson, who's been directing plays for "a long time" - 20 years - and has been on staff at the FAC for 3½ years.
It opens Friday on the FAC's second stage and runs through Oct. 1.
"Each year, Scott RC Levy (FAC's producing artistic director and performing arts director) and I read a lot of plays. Last November, I started pulling plays off my bookshelf. I used to be obsessed with this one. I cannot believe at 30 years later we're still talking about the same things," said Halvorson, FAC associate director of performing arts. "I thought, 'This is a great way to start the season.' It's a great play because it's hilarious and also very thoughtful."
The main characters will be played by local actors Birgitta De Pree and Leslie O'Carroll.
"They are two of the best actors in the state of Colorado and are extraordinary women," Halvorson said. "In this play they are doing acting gymnastics, is what I call it."
The play is focused on the actors, with minimal costumes (designed by Karen Holloway) and spartan sets. It's at once hilarious and thought-provoking.
"It's a play about women, written by women. I'm engaged by it every day," Halvorson said. "It's fun to watch because it's like a tennis match between extremely professional and extremely gifted performers. I think the audience will be riveted."