By

By Kristin Carlson

How do we know what to believe, and what is a lie?

That is the core question in Sopris Theatre Company’s February production of “Private Eyes” at the Colorado Mountain College New Space Theatre at Spring Valley. Described by contemporary playwright Steven Dietz as a “comedy of suspicions,” the play asks the audience to follow the action closely and decide for themselves what separates fact from fiction.

When writing “Private Eyes,” Dietz said he began with a scene in which two lovers “fail to speak the truth.” The premise was simple, but the play that evolved was full of surprises – even for its author. Describing the process in his author’s note of the final script, Dietz said: “It took my sense of structure for a ride and built a web of such complexity that clarity (aka ‘truth’) was rendered virtually impossible.”

“The first read-through was pretty hilarious,” said CMC student James Steindler, who portrays Matthew in the production. “We were all trying to come to a clear agreement about what was real, or not, and we all had different perceptions.”

With a nod to the movie “Inception,” CMC student Joshua Adamson (who plays Adrian) agreed, describing the comedy as “a play within a play within a play, like Play-ception.”

Stella von Dedenroth, in her first onstage role at the college, portrays Lisa, a character whose relationship to any one truth is tenuous at best. “She’s an actress playing an actress, who’s an actress playing a role,” she said.

Recent CMC theater program graduate Ciara Morrison’s character, Cory, is similarly complex. “In every moment, I have to decide what’s true and what’s not for her and find real motivation for the choices I make,” she said.

“The result is a play that will keep the audience guessing until the very end,” said community actor Michael Banks.

Ethan Cosgrove, Pax Wilde and Rodrigo Perez serve as backstage crew and round out the cast, while Midge Glidewell acts as stage manager. Veteran director Brad Moore leads the intrepid ensemble through the twists and turns of the multilayered plot.

“It’s especially important in a piece like this,” Moore said, “to keep every moment grounded in reality for the actors — even though every moment may also be part of a grand deception.”

Actor Morrison said she sees “Private Eyes” as a rewarding piece of theater that offers a little something for everyone. “We’ll give people who want a juicy, theatrical steak something to chew on,” she said, “but we’ll serve it up with a generous side of easy laughs.”

Sopris Theatre Company at Colorado Mountain College invites everyone to bring an appetite for comedic intrigue to the New Space Theatre, CMC Spring Valley at Glenwood Springs, 3000 County Road 114. Show times for “Private Eyes” are Feb. 14-15 and Feb. 21-22 at 7 p.m., and Feb. 16 and 21 at 2 p.m.

Admission is $18 for adults and $13 for seniors, students, and CMC employees and graduates. Tickets can be purchased at Eventbrite.com or by emailing svticketsales@coloradomtn.edu.

For more information, contact director Moore at bmoore@coloradomtn.edu, or visit coloradomtn.edu/theatre.