Steamboat Players and the Steamboat Springs Arts Council  present "Kimberly Akimbo" beginning on Friday at 7 p.m. at the Depot Art Center.

Photo by Matt Stensland

Steamboat Players and the Steamboat Springs Arts Council present "Kimberly Akimbo" beginning on Friday at 7 p.m. at the Depot Art Center.

'Kimberly Akimbo' to open Friday in Steamboat

Community production offers comedy, challenging themes

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If you go

What: "Kimberly Akimbo," a dark comedy presented by Steamboat Players and the Steamboat Springs Arts Council

When: 7 p.m. Friday through Sunday

Where: Depot Art Center, 1001 13th St.

Cost: $15 general admission, $20 preferred seating; Arts Council members receive a $5 discount; tickets available in advance at the Depot Art Center and Epilogue Book Co. Play is PG-13.

Call: The Depot Art Center at 879-9008 or Epilogue at 879-2665

— Lately, Eileen Jones has been talking to her dog in a New Jersey accent.

In the two months or so since she was cast as Debra, a constant con and aunt to the main character in the darkly comic play "Kimberly Akimbo," Jones estimates her time spent rehearsing, gathering props and memorizing lines for the community theater production at about 400 hours.

"It does take over your life," Jones said about getting into her character. "You start absorbing your character into yourself."

Debra is one of the four dysfunctional characters in the life of Kimberly Levaco, a 16-year-old girl with the body of a 70-year-old. Steamboat Players and the Steamboat Springs Arts Council present "Kimberly Akimbo" at 7 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the Depot Art Center.

David Lindsay-Abaire's writing style keeps the first 75 percent of the play moving at breakneck comedic speed, with the characters trading lines in sitcom style, director Michael Brumbaugh said. In "Kimberly Akimbo," Lindsay-Abaire gives his main character a poetic-liberties-strewn take on the rapid-aging effect of progeria. He sets her up to die within a year.

Rusty de Lucia plays the title role. The lifelong theater lover started teaching acting at Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts School & Camp more than 40 years ago and recently retired from teaching with the Steamboat Springs School District.

Getting into the mind of a 16-year-old old might not be as hard for de Lucia as it would be for some - after 40 years teaching, she's in tune with what teenagers are thinking, she said. Emotional turbulence comes on strong in "Kimberly Akimbo," and it doesn't stop with the main character.

"It's a dark comedy, and what is really interesting is there are only five characters in it, and the girl who has the physical disability is probably the only functional character in the play," de Lucia said.

Kimberly's knowledge of mortality gives her a joy for life none of her family members can match.

Her mother is a hypochondriac. Her father is an alcoholic. Her aunt is a con. And her de facto boyfriend is a nerd.

Brumbaugh saw "Kimberly Akimbo" performed in Denver a few years ago and decided he'd like to bring the work to Steamboat, he said.

The play "has a sophistication about it," challenges and adult themes that set it apart from some of Brumbaugh's more family-themed local productions, he said.

"Kimberly Akimbo" stars de Lucia; Jones as Debra, Kimberly's aunt; Jordan Wallace as Jeff, Kimberly's friend; Jill Waldman as Pattie, Kimberly's mother; and Brandon Amato as Buddy, Kimberly's father.

Stage to stay at Depot

Kelly Anzalone, technical director for "Kimberly Akimbo" and Steamboat Springs Arts Council board president, designed the stage for the show with the help of donated materials from Alpine Lumber Company. The stage is movable and adjustable, and it will be used for future performing arts events at the Depot, he said.

Anzalone said the play's location in the Depot's back room, which features mixed media work by local artist Gerald Hardage, offers a chance to fulfill the Arts Council's goals of offering opportunities to experience visual and performing arts together.

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