VMS Upper School presents: Inertia. Life keeps changing, changes keep coming | VailDaily.com

VMS Upper School presents: Inertia. Life keeps changing, changes keep coming

Daily staff report
A photo of Athena is both physically and symbolically present in the intersection of Jake and Angela's lives. Though Angela ages through the show, Athena remains 18 years old. It's all part of Vail Mountain School's production of "Inertia," running Thursday through Saturday.
Vail Mountain School |

If You Go ...

What: “Inertia” — Vail Mountain School’s Annual Upper School Standard.

When: 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Dec. 7-9.

Where: Vail Mountain School theater.

Cost: $15 per person available in advance at http://www.vms.edu/tickets, or at the door if tickets remain.

More information: Call 970-476-3850.

VAIL — Inertia is similar in both nature, and human nature, that objects in motion will keep moving, and objects at rest will stay right where they are until some outside force is applied.

“Inertia” is also a dramatic play written by Vail Mountain School English teacher Kim Cope Tait. It runs this Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, Dec. 7-9, in Vail Mountain School’s Peter Abuisi Auditorium.

Featuring 22 students in grades ninth through 12th and three from lower school, the story opens in 1989 with a group of teenagers who experience a profound change in their lives. “Inertia” follows the repercussions of that change over nearly three decades, demonstrating how these moments can teach us, grow us and even break us.

To tell you more would reveal too much, but this poem by Cope Tait provides a glimpse:


“There are layers above and beneath these layers.

One human skips a stone over water like a mirror,

and another howls his agony into the hair,

of an imagined lover.

Why is it I can never remember why I

put this thing down — only to take it up again,

in a primal embrace? There is a way to remember,

a lover from a past life. There is a way to forget.

Rings swivel on fingers, click the stones we carry,

remind us of futures blooming in our hearts and,

lighting up memory like flame. Campfires of regret,

refuse to be lit. To kindle these thoughts before they,

have passed into being would be a sacrilege.

I have known you for lifetimes, but this tenacity,

is new. There is no way to anticipate the past.

Lifetimes split themselves like atoms, lethal explosion,

of selves. I have known you for all of mine, and,

I’m afraid I don’t remember how to let you go.”

The Nucleus of the Story

“Inertia” is a beautiful play about the cyclical nature of life, love, and loss. Its characters and their intertwined stories will stay with you long after the curtain falls. Jake and Angela, played by Daniel Tierney and Malia Hollander, are the two central characters around whom the story revolves.

“I’ve had to come up with a few theories, you know, in order to reconcile myself to things like that,” says Jake to Angela in a pivotal exchange. “Incongruencies with my ideas about God and the world. It’s like, my whole belief system got shot out of a cannon that night on the lake. For a long time, I thought it was irrecoverable, but then … then I realized I would have to put it back together again. Differently. Some of the pieces are the same, but I’ve become open to a lot more. My closed system didn’t give me a very satisfying answer to all those why’s.”

“We sometimes lock ourselves into what we love or cling to, and it causes us to miss out on opportunities and relationships that are right in front of us,” says Cope Tait. “We frequently misconstrue change as loss, but that is really only an expression of our own limitations.”

“Inertia” addresses some of life’s central questions and raises new ones, while leaving its audience with a sense that our lives, our loves, our losses, may be much more interconnected than we ever imagined them to be.

Genesis of the Show

“Inertia” began as a group of sonnets written by Cope Tait that grew into the play. The VMS production will be the second time that the show has been on stage. Inertia was also performed at Leysin American School in Switzerland, where Cope Tait was a teacher. Seeing the show on stage and the effect it had on the audience inspired her to write the novel, “Inertia”, with the intention of broadening the reach of the underlying message.

Evolution of the Production

Since the first production of “Inertia” a decade ago, changes to theatre technology have allowed for the addition of new layers. The VMS production includes surreal video montages that represent a flow of energy that was portrayed by dancers in the Swiss production. In the current show, VMS Studio Dance Majors give physical form to transformations taking place within the characters around whom they are dancing and the effect is stunning. There is also a musical element that has been added, including a melancholy yet mesmerizing rendition of Tears for Fears’ 1983 hit “Mad World.”

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