Beyond the world of glittering Broadway favorites at Buell Theatre, there lives a new show which few people are aware. The Space Theatre at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts is the current home of the world premiere of When Tang Met Laika by Rogelio Martinez. The play explores the issues surrounding Americans and Soviets in the International Space Station in the wake of the post-Cold War world of the 1990's.
The play observes the lives of two characters, Patrick and Elena, who are working on the Space Station. The romance which sparks between them complicates Patrick’s relationship with his wife, Samantha, and convinces him that he cannot be with someone who has never felt what it is like to be weightless. Elena, during a trip to the Space Station, sees the ghosts of Yuri Gagarin (the first Russian cosmonaut) and a dog named Laika (who was shot into space by the Soviets, never to be seen again). She takes this incident as a sign to break things off with Patrick. However, Patrick refuses to accept the break and ends up stranded on the Space Station, due to the Columbia disaster.
Not only is this play sublimely unique and enthralling to watch, the political indications of the play itself are intriguing, and will no doubt leave the audience in a frenzy of conversation. There is a generation in this country who can honestly relate to the tension and fear felt by their parents and grandparents, who lived in the days after World War II. Political perspectives reflected in the play poignantly pick at Soviet/American relations through clever use of metaphor. The somewhat misguided romance between the two main characters creates an unlikely place for reflection on world relations. It is definitely a show that is not to be missed. Check out the Denver Center for Performing Arts' website for information on tickets!