Merely Players Presents Small Mouth Sounds

February 9, 2024

Merely Players invites audiences to a unique and profound theatrical experience at the regional premiere of Bess Wohl’s critically acclaimed play Small Mouth Sounds. Set at a silent retreat, six individuals confront their suffering as they search for meaning and spiritual growth. Small Mouth Sounds runs from February 9th to February 18th at Merely Underground in the Durango Tech Center. By Jessica McCallum. This story is sponsored by Happy Pappy's Pizza & Wings and Kroegers Ace Hardware.

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Next up for Merely Players, audiences are invited on a silent retreat for a unique and profound theatrical experience at the Regional Premier of Bess Wohl's critically acclaimed play "Small Mouth Sounds." Showing from February 9th to February 18th at Merely Underground in the Durango Tech Center. You're watching the Local News Network brought to you by Happy Pappy's Pizza and Wings and Kroegers Ace Hardware. I'm Gillian Arnwine.

"Small Mouth Sounds" is a very interesting play by a playwright named Bess Wohl. About six people who are in their own kind of agony in her words, who each go on a silent retreat for a week. And you might be asking yourself, "Wait, silent? So do they talk at all?" And the answer is no, they don't. There's huge sections of the show that have no spoken dialogue at all. It's just kind of people in space behaving and kind of going through their process of grieving or learning about themselves, learning about each other. And yeah, it's a really kind of interesting and different kind of show. The script provides kind of a small history for each of the characters, which is nice because it gives some context to who it is that they are playing and embodying. It's funny because the audience will not get most of the facts that are, you know, in these little character histories, but it just informs them and, you know, the way they move, the way they interact with each other and the kind of personal journey that each of them are going on. They're all in like a really difficult place in their lives. They're all in a very emotional state and they're very desperate and at the top of the play for relief from those feelings.

The Six Retreaters are played by an ensemble cast of local talent that includes Joy Kilpatrick, Cindy Laudadio-Hill, Stephen Bowers, Conor Sheehan, Geoff Johnson, and Tara Demmy.

There's long lists of stage directions that kind of describe the action of what's happening in the play, and we get the incredible fun job of taking that and creating that, but then also filling in the gaps and finding new moments, moments of humor, moments of sadness. And I dunno, my cast is incredible. They just jumped right in. They are so willing to build the story and build these characters and be very vulnerable. And so I just feel, I feel very, very grateful.

The seventh actor, local favorite Maureen May plays the disembodied voice of the teacher at the Silent Retreat.

There's a seventh character in the play. The teacher who is kind of, for lack of a better term, a kind of guru character who has the most lines in the play. She kind of like speaks to the students, the retreaters, and gives them little bits and pieces of wisdom, you might say. But I really see the teacher as kind of a catalyst for the retreaters to feel compelled to change themselves. Truly, my favorite part of the play so far is, you know, it's the morning of the final day of the retreat and the teacher is speaking to all of them. And this mantra that kind of gets repeated is, you are not alone. Even if you think you are, and then she laughs to herself, she says, you are not alone. So that is kind of the universal message of the peace for me is that yes, you know, life is suffering and suffering is inevitable, but ultimately you are not alone. And we are all one part of the same community. And you get to see that literally happen in real time on stage. These kind of six people who are complete strangers, who have all these terrible things going on, become a community of support and love for each other.

Although the show is sold out, tickets often become available. Visit the website to get on a wait list or go to the theater a half an hour before showtime, where seats often open up at the last minute.

This is a play like one you have not seen before. It is so unique in its premise, it's so unique in its execution. And we have some really brilliant performers kind of telling these wonderful, wonderful stories. Or I guess not telling these stories, for lack of a better word. It's just, it's a very unique experience. It is sure to be a very compelling night of theater and it's 90 minutes. So come on out and join us.

For more information about this and other stories, visit Thank you for watching this edition of The Local News Network. I'm Gillian Arnwine.


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