A new production at the Cooper Center for Creative Arts takes audiences into the Old West with singing, dancing and acting.
“Deceit at the Dew Drop Inn,” an original melodrama, is scheduled play at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 8-10 at the Cooper Center, 1174 N. Fourth St. Tickets are $7 in advance or $10 at the door.
Audiences can enjoy free sarsaparilla root beer at a reception following each performance.
Students at the Cooper Center studied melodrama as a theater form before working together to develop their own storyline, said director Kayc DeMaranville. Melodramas often feature exaggerated characters and a story that focuses on the struggle between good and evil.
Set in Wyoming in the late 1800s, the story follows people coming and going from the Dew Drop Inn, which serves as the center of the action. One family in the play has inherited money after losing their father, while a new man appears in town saying he’s a preacher, accompanied by a woman who claims to be his wife.
“In the end, like a melodrama should end, good wins over evil, and it all works out,” DeMaranville said.
“Deceit at the Dew Drop Inn” has a cast of 20, including dancers and singers. DeMaranville said the theater program has never staged a melodrama before. The genre offers a chance to involve a range of artists in the production and rehearsing has been a fun experience, she said.
“We sometimes do some heavy work, and I thought it was a good time to do something really light and fun for our community,” she said.
The Cooper Center, a division of Ark Regional Services, offers classes in creative arts for people with intellectual disabilities. DeMaranville said one learning experience for the cast was figuring out how to rehearse segments of the play while keeping in mind the larger story arc.
“It was a really cool challenge of this particular play,” she said.
DeMaranville encouraged the Laramie community to enjoy an entertaining evening showcasing a group of talented artists.
“Being able to share an experience with people with intellectual disabilities broadens our community’s cultural landscape,” she said. “Take that opportunity. It’s worth it.”