Free play at Gypsum’s Lundgren Theater |

Free play at Gypsum’s Lundgren Theater

Derek Franz
VAIL CO, Colorado
Derek Franz/

The Porchlight Players present their sixth annual Play in the Park at Gypsum’s Lundgren Theater this Friday and Saturday. Showtime is at 6 p.m. and the entertainment is free. Families are invited to bring chairs and picnics.

The performance takes the stage at Eagle Town Park Sept. 8-9.

“The Apple Tree” is a series of three musical playlets that were first staged on Broadway in 1966, starring Barbara Harris, Alan Alda and Larry Blyden. The storyline of each act is different but they are tied together by a common theme of romance and wishing for things that ultimately aren’t wanted. The first act is based on Mark Twain’s “The Diary of Adam and Eve.” The second act is based on Frank R. Stockton’s “The Lady or the Tiger?” and the third act is based on Jules Feiffer’s “Passionella.”

“This musical seemed like a great choice for summer,” said first-time Porchlight director Nancy Lorenzi. “I love it and I’ve wanted to perform it for a long time.”

The Porchlight Players is a community theater group and frequently mixes new talent with the veterans. Six new-comers are among the 15 cast members for “The Apple Tree.” Didi Doolittle is one of the new Porchlight members.

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“I saw the group’s Valentine production, ‘I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change,’ and was really impressed,” said Doolittle, who plays Eve in this weekend’s production.

“When people hear the character I’m playing, they ask if I have to appear naked!” Doolittle said, laughing. “I say, ‘No, it’s a family production!'”

The Edwards resident said her husband has been very supportive. “He runs lines with me and asks character questions I never would have thought of,” she said.

Speaking of character questions, the second playlette, “The Lady or the Tiger?” is likely to leave the audience pondering one. It’s definitely something that has been considered by Lorenzi and actress Trish Schultheis, regarding the character “Barbara.” Barbara (pronounced “Bar-bare-a”) is a princess in a love affair with an army captain. The two are caught by the king and the captain is put to trial.

It is an unusual trial in which the prisoner must choose between two doors. A beautiful woman is behind one of the doors and a man-eating tiger behind the other. If the prisoner chooses the door with the woman, he is innocent and required to marry her.

Barbara learns ahead of time which door will conceal the lady or the tiger. Her lover, the captain, looks to her for an answer before choosing a door … but which door she leads him to is open to interpretation. Schultheis has a clear belief about which fate Barbara chooses for her man.

“I think she’s a stuck up princess,” she said.

Schultheis’ cohorts said her portrayal strongly implies the outcome. However, there is still no definitive conclusion to the act. Lorenzi has a different take on it than Schultheis.

“It doesn’t matter which door he picks because Barbara loses him either way,” Lorenzi said. “I have no hunch about what happens.”

Nonetheless, there’s a solid chance that the performance will entertain this weekend. The Porchlight Players are eager and have been rehearsing for months in the basement of the Alpine Bank building in Eagle.

“They’re a great group of people,” Doolittle said. “I’m happy to be working with them.”

Those who go might go home with a new favorite song to sing to their children.

“My favorite song is ‘Go to Sleep Wherever You Are’ in ‘Adam and Eve,'” Lorenzi said. “I used to sing it to my daughter. Another favorite of mine is Eve’s ‘What Makes Me Love Him.'”

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