Pagosa’s Thingamajig Theatre Company is mirroring the drastic transition of seasons from summer into a cold, snowy fall. For its October production, Thingamajig unveiled the dark and thought-provoking “One Flea Spare” at the Pagosa Springs Center for the Arts.
“One Flea Spare” follows the story of an upper-class couple quarantined for 28 days with two peasants during The Great Plague of London. As Londoners rich and poor suffer from the ravaging disease, the conflict between the prisoners surges to an unexpected climax. Naomi Wallace’s award-winning play delves into a fierce exploration of class and morality.
“Art and entertainment is a great medium to ease your way into uncomfortable topics,” said Tim Moore, artistic director for Thingamajig. “You can take a moment to reflect on an issue that perhaps you hadn’t considered and see it in a different light.”
As Wallace’s story unfolds, the stark contrast between the upper-class Darcy and William Snelgrave and the lower-class Bunce and Morse becomes increasingly blurred. Though the story is set in the 1600s, Wallace asks the audience to look at contemporary conceptions of sociological lines.
“I think Thingamajig Theatre has made a good-faith effort to offer pieces that aren’t mainstream in the theater curriculum,” Moore said. “Typically, these shows do not boast the kinds of attendance numbers that popular titles do, but it’s important to offer audiences pieces that provide some interesting world history and issues that are still relevant in today’s society.”
As audiences have come to expect, Thingamajig offers a stunningly high production quality with its latest show. Featuring Melissa Cheffers as Morse, Desiree Henderson as Darcy Snelgrave, David Menich as Bunce, and Terry Alan Evans as William Snelgrave, Thingamajig continues to bring superb acting talent to the Pagosa stage. Providing some much-needed comic relief, “One Flea Spare” also features Moore as the quarantine guard.
“One Flea Spare” at times is difficult to watch. It vacillates between macabre and pensive. With carefully sculpted language, Wallace’s dialogue is as interesting to listen to as it is to watch.
“The way (Wallace) uses words is so important to this piece,” Moore said. “The punctuation in the script is intentional and gives a cadence that is crucial to her poetic style of writing.”
“One Flea Spare” premiered at the Bush Theatre in London in 1995. It since has been performed around the world, including The Public Theater in New York. In 1997, it won the OBIE Award for best play.
email@example.com. Margaret Hedderman is freelance writer based in Durango.