‘Bitterbush’ will premiere at Freight | Free content
“Bitterbush: A Family Saga” premieres at Freight on June 30. The comedic play, which tells of a family on the verge of breaking up, was written by Leadville couple Bekah Grim and Blue Mooers.
The play follows a group of elderly parents who visit their daughter at art school. The couple encounter a diversity of characters, including a hitchhiker, psychic, therapist, and former Olympic volleyball player. Together, they encounter tarot readings, dairy addiction, therapy, a puppet cult, break-ins into yak farms, and a Vestival, where everyone dresses in their best waistcoat. In the midst of these encounters, parents have a secret they are waiting to reveal. Will the girl accept her family or give up everything for her art?
Grim is a writer, whitewater raft guide, and dog sled driver. She earned a Masters of Fine Arts in Documentary Writing from the University of Iowa, and her work has been featured in various publications including the Herald Democrat, The Washington Times, 5280 Magazine, and The Rumpus. Mooers is a poet and dog sled and river guide who has performed in various theatrical productions.
Grim and Mooers sat down last week to interview each other about their collaboration on their first piece. Grim’s answers to Mooers’ questions are as follows:
– What do you relate to most in your character?
Olive Bitterbush is a self-help author who is obsessed with her own books. Anyone she meets is just a potential reader. She represents the less tasty parts of myself as a writer – the dark side. She’s the family’s killjoy, trying to regulate everyone’s behavior and steal the show. I’ve learned to appreciate her bizarre theories, and at the end of the day, she really enjoys the family circus.
– What was the most exciting scene to write?
There was a lot of heat behind the police scene. Two unbalanced characters have contact with reality. You have a deranged therapist Dr Nightshade chasing his milk addicted client and his new friend, a tarot card reader named Pineapple Ring, speeding through the Las Vegas desert trying to outrun the cop in a Geo. Subway. Blue and I wrote the scene together and passed the laptop at breakneck speed.
– Why freight as a meeting place?
It is a space dedicated to curiosity and collaboration. We love freight! The Anderson family who run it are committed to serving the community in a spirit of conviviality. The space is wide open, leaving enough room for the characters to cast their spells. There will also be a stocked bar and delicious food from Tuck & Vittles, and a dance party will follow. This is the first theatrical production the depot has seen, and we’re ready to go further.
Mooers’ answers to Grim’s questions are as follows:
– How is family a theme in the play?
The glue that holds this great puzzle of quirky characters together is family. Bitterbushes hold family close, often to the point of suffocation. But despite their differences and their gritty nature, they finally realize that family is the only certainty in life to celebrate.
– What character moves you deep inside you?
Dr Nightshade is a complicated man. His extreme insecurity coupled with greatness in his position of great power as a therapist is an interesting dichotomy. Sometimes he seems to have divine guidance; at other times he lies down in a depression in the earth to let himself be carried away by the ants.
– Why is this room important to you?
This piece began as a writing exercise during a dinner between Bekah and me. We decided to jump into the autofiction genre and incorporate the little gems of some of our favorite people into the story. We started doing weekly dinners and rehearsals with local actors from Leadville. I cooked 10 pounds of chicken every two weeks to feed them. Two of Bekah’s siblings come from all over the country to be actors. The play speaks of belonging and mutual dependence, a testimony of friendship.
“Bitterbush: A Family Saga” will premiere on the Frieght outdoor stage on June 30 at 7 pm. Tickets are $ 10 in advance, or $ 15 at the door, and can be purchased at www.freightleadville.com. Participants are requested to wear their “best vest”.