Telluride Theatre’s “Parallels,” A Review (In This World)

Telluride Theatre’s “Parallels,” A Review (In This World)

Telluride Theatre’s “Parallels” continues through Sunday, December 13, at The Ah Haa School for the Arts, 300 South Townsend Street, Telluride. Free, though a $15 donations is gratefully accepted. Seating is extremely limited. (First come, first served.) Telluride Theatre members and sponsors get reserved sears. To become a member visit . Note: Not suitable for children (rated R).


If I told you a play is about quantum physics – you know, quantum physics or mechanics, the theoretical basis of modern physics that explains the nature and behavior of matter and energy on the atomic and subatomic level – would you go?

Do you know anything about the Large Hadron Collider (which facilitated the discovery of Higgs boson, the god particle)?

Do you care?

Now toss in a cat, the one belonging to Mr. Schrödinger. His theory on quantum immortality asserts that a version of us must always be around to observe the universe (or the cat is both dead and alive. Observation determines the outcome.)

Does the name Hugh Everett mean anything to you?

Everett was the physicist who first proposed the many-worlds interpretation of quantum physics, which he termed his “relative state” formulation. The theory suggests we live in an infinite web of alternate timelines or a multiverse, where timelines are constantly branching off and creating distinct and coherent worlds, each experienced by a different version of you.

Which suggests you can have your cake (in our world) and eat it (in another nearby).

And that some version of me – and there are many, because we are like a massive root system that is growing exponentially like aspens – has seen Telluride Theatre’s “Parallels” before – and will see it over and over again. (You know, like Bill Murray in “Groundhog Day.”)

File that under Good Problem to Have.

“Parallels,” an original play by Telluride Theatre’s artistic director Sasha Sullivan (also the director) in collaboration with the cast, is very smart, dense as Christmas cake, and faster than a speeding bullet (an hour and small change). It is also tons of fun.

With its original productions especially (and this is the eighth made up by Sasha from whole cloth), Telluride Theatre aims to rock your world and that is exactly what “Parallels” does by asking and encapsulating theories about a multiverse of humongous proportions, not a uni – as in one – verse. The linear narrative of our lives seamlessly moving from birth to death: bunk? Countless versions of you and me, so we are immortal like the Highlander? No timeline to screw up, so no time travel paradoxes? Deja vu is not just a feeling; things in our rear view mirror are real and close.

Did you see the movie “Sliding Doors” starring Gwyneth Paltrow about a young Englishwoman living in London who has just been fired from her public relations job? While returning home, she does not catch the train in the subway. But in another possibility of her life, she catches the train in the subway. The story shows two parallel lives of Helen: in one life, she stays with her boyfriend Gerry, and in the other life, she finds that Gerry cheats her with Lydia and she falls in love with James Hammerton.

Well, “Parallels” features a sliding door and one of the subtexts is a variation on the theme of a modern-day love story between a guy named Ian (Colin Sullivan, also executive director, Telluride Theatre) and a gal named Katie (Cat Lee Covert, also the show’s choreographer, who does a mean cobra pose). They meet in a bar and make it all the way to Thanksgiving before their love gets carved up. Or not.

In “Parallels,” the Devil wear Prada; scientists white lab coats.

Scene (and world) changes are triggered by tubes of different colors of fluorescent light that resemble parts of atoms.

Cat’s propulsive choreography underlines the idea of swirling particles of energy.

The all-star ensemble cast –– Rachael Cooke; Gin Eborn; Carlin Power; Pamela Roth Sante, Cat and Colin – easily manages to walk the fine line between complex logic and what feels like pure unicorn dust in performances that amount to Level 3 mind yoga. There are no stand-outs because they are all stand-outs – although it must be said Carlin does suck the limelight from time to time in several of his way over-the-top incarnations.

“Parallels” is the Fourth of July at Christmas; its collective synapses go off nonstop like fireworks.

One of you among all the versions of you and yours will want to see “Parallels.”

1 Comment
  • Jody Power
    Posted at 07:20h, 11 December

    So proud of you Carlin. Love Dad.