Last Friday night - we were treated to and participated in a magical event. We had gotten tickets to the play "Harvey" which was produced by the PHAMALY Theatre Company. It was held in the Historic Olin Hotel - Apartments which is located on Logan street in Downtown Denver.
The Olin is home to numerous - over 100 - low and very low income seniors who live in subsidized housing. The average income for the folks there is $10,800.....a year. Senior Housing Options owns and operates the hotel and was established in 1979 to try to address the needs of seniors and older individuals with disabilities. A worthy organization in collaborating with PHAMALY Theatre Company......but the magic was just the beginning.....
PHAMALY Theatre Company is the oldest and longest running theatre company in the United States that EXCLUSIVELY casts actors with all natures of disabilities. It doesn't make any difference with regards to race, gender, class, ethnic background or religious beliefs. It was established to give individuals a chance to realize their dreams in the theatre with respect to but without prejudice to their disabilities. It casts for potential - and performance !
The play was "Harvey". It was written in Denver by Mary Chase for the people of Denver....fitting since we were watching it here. It took her over two years and is quite the story.
Jimmy Stewart made it famous on the big screen. - It is about a man who has as his friend a 6 foot invisible rabbit...only he can see him. It was written after WWII to brighten the lives of so many that had been affected by the travesties of the war....it was written to make them smile and laugh again. The question being.....do you have to deal with reality that makes you unhappy or maybe deal with a belief that brings joy to you and others. The point.....look past the tragedy.
That is basically the story but this is where the magic happened for us:
The actors and acting were FABULOUS...splendid and memorable. I don't disclose the names of people on line or in blogs without their permission.....and I wasn't able to talk with the members of the cast after the show so I don't feel comfortable blogging about them without their approval. But I can say this........The entire cast including the ensemble was comprised of sixteen dedicated and hard working actors, a production team of ten and a staff of four. As for the actors their personal "disability" issues ranged from Parkinson's to dyslexia, traumatic brain injury, deafness, bipolar disorder, autism, epilepsy.....on and on. Talk about courage, commitment and support for the sake of theatre. Working as the true professionals they are they made "magic" happen. They were downright good !!!!!
The production was also wonderfully unique. There were two sets - a living room and a sanitarium office. The were placed on different floors of the Olin Hotel-Apartmen building. Instead of the sets changing the audience simply moved from one floor to the other as the scenes changed. Ingenious......
PHAMALY Theatre Company is a professional - well coordinated and superior acting group. We have seen shows - plays - musicals around the world. From London to Broadway to Denver and in between. This group ranks as one of our favorite. Treat yourself if you get the chance and go watch some magic being made.
They have a Mission & Vision:
"OUR MISSION is to inspire people to re-envision disability through professional theatre.
OUR VISION is that every individual with a disability has the opportunity to participate in all aspects of high-quality performing arts."
"MISSION and VISION ACCOMPLISHED"
Recently I have blogged about current trips and places that I have visited in the last couple of months. But in this blog I wanted to continue with our journey through Scotland. It was and is one of my favorite trips - so I am referring back to the beauty, landscapes and travels of our very short time there.
Keep in mind if you decide to go - driving to me is the best option. It allows you to side track and stop in places that tours may not. BUT........it may be a challenge.
It isn't necessarily driving on the left side of the road that is an issue - it is that the roads are two-lane, narrow and there are a number of tour buses that are large and NOT NARROW !!!! I drove off the road three times the first day - hit a curb the second and ruined a tire so either make sure your credit card company covers any damages or get the CDW........just saying........back to our trip......
We drove from Stirling Castle to Fort William through the Highlands. It was beautiful with low hanging clouds - a slight rain and mist that hid some of the peaks but created a mystical appeal...and soooooo green!
Living in Colorado we have our share of majestic mountains but it was different here. So many different shades of green. Fabulous.
There are a number of trails and long hikes you may take through the Highlands. I didn't know that. We drove and it was still beautiful.
We stopped for lunch at a very small roadside cafe...as we entered we were greeted by backpacks stacked to the ceiling in the corner. Hikers relaxing and drying out as they ate. And of course the slight smell of wet dogs as they sat under the hikers' tables - resting.
We encountered a father and daughter. They were from Edinburgh and Glasgow respectively who had decided to get away for the weekend and head to the Highlands for a reunion. They were not hikers. They shared their story of the night before when they dressed nicely for dinner. When they entered the "white table cloth" dining room they noticed they were the only ones not wearing jeans or hiking gear. They laughed - attributed to the weekend in the Highlands. Made us think of Colorado.
It was a Saturday and little did we know that as we headed to Ft. William the tiny city would be overflowing with weekenders......we didn't have a reservation at a place to stay - we often travel with the thought that we will find something for the night after we get there. - We did.....although next time - on a weekend in the Highlands in Scotland - get a reservation. Where we ended up staying - was not the best.....no matter. It was an experience. Enough said.
The main "city" of Ft. William is a single street that is lined with shops. Since we were there late in the day most of them were closed. But we did find a little souvenir shop that was run by two older sisters. We thoroughly enjoyed our time. We bought a couple of items and they were so gracious and quaint. They finished each others sentences when we talked with them. It was ....... as they would say "Lovely".
There are lots and lots of B&B's in Ft William. It is a weekend get away place. We stayed the night and then headed out to find "Nessie".
Loch Ness was beautiful the day we traveled. There is a saying in photography that the water reflects the sky and that day the sky was blue and the water reflected the shadows of clouds shimmering across the deep blue of the water.
Loch Ness is over 23 miles long and over 700 feet deep. The story we know is about "Nessie" the Loch Ness Monster that some have seen and others have searched for. Keep this in mind....the country has a Unicorn as its national symbol.....so I believe they believe in Nessie. You will see a number of attractions and museums that will also have you looking for "the monster". For me the only monster I saw ....was how "monstrously beautiful" it was and the surprise of Urquhart Castle!
The castle sits with a commanding view of Loch Ness. It is just ruins - it was literally blown up in 1692 to prevent the warring Jacobites from taking it and has never been rebuilt. The visitors center's most interesting element is a short film that walks you through the history of the area and the destruction of the castle. There is also another short film demonstrating the creation and use of a trebuchet which is a type of catapult that was used for sieges.
The trebuchet would launch 72kg or about 158 pound boulders to break down walls and destroy battlements. It worked.
Our time in Urquhat was well spent. Expect crowds although on a Sunday it wasn't too bad.
On to Inverness ......which was pretty quiet ....so next up "Edinburgh" - another blog at another time !!!
Travel Safe Travel Well !!!
BK Travel Tips
To enjoy travel and see the world and often yourself as if for the first time and with with the eyes of a young child.