We saw “Eventide” last night at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. It is a gritty and luminous affirmation of love, set on the eastern plains of Colorado. The play follows a novel of the same title by Kent Haruf. The Denver Post got it right in this review, calling it “the role of a lifetime for Mike Hartman.” He plays the lead, Raymond McPheron, one of two bachelor ranchers living in loneliness and transformed by love.
It could have been a gooey disaster, but for the dark counterweight of a family in the same community of Holt, Colorado, beset by crushing problems of poverty, mental illness, and violence. Those scenes are powerful and difficult to watch, frankly. But when we got home, Darlene and I realized that they made real and more powerful the fragile flowering of love between Ray McPheron and Rose, the widowed social worker whose caseload includes the tragic family. The counterpoint of the hell those kids inhabit is the story of another boy, played superbly by Augustus Lane Filholm, growing up wonderfully with his ailing and cranky grandfather.
Knowing that Mike Hartman and the actor who plays Rose, Lauren Klein, are real-life husband and wife adds to the pleasure of watching their awkward and victorious dance of love.
The play runs till February 27. If you are in Denver, please don’t miss it, and spread the word!