This group usually uses actors to perform short fiction. Now, they’re returning to their roots with a new reading — of a play

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Courtesy Stories on Stage/Tiera Zelenoy
Members of Stories on Stage perform at Su Teatro.

Actors usually perform plays on stage, yet one Colorado group has made a name for itself performing short fiction. 

Since June 2000, Stories on Stage has used actors to bring stories to life, and it has been described as your favorite book club on steroids. The usual programming has actors performing dramatic readings of short fiction, but now, they’re trying something a little different.  

“We normally don't do play readings. it's a departure for us,” said Artistic Director Anthony Powell. “Normally, we're in the business of short fiction, but the play just grabbed me by the throat and wouldn't let go. And so we decided to do it.”

The play that grabbed Powell by the throat is “The White Chip” by Sean Daniels. It is billed as a wise and witty play about recovery.

Eric Sandvold is one of three actors who will perform the reading, and he said this story is a bit different than many recovery stories. 

“This one has a wonderful sense of fluidity and humor about it that I think is one of its great assets. So it's very entertaining and harrowing,” Sandvold said. “However, it has an incredible twist toward the end, which is not some sort of dramatic twist or sort of external applied twist, it's absolutely at the very core of this story.”

Playwright Sean Daniels started writing “The White Chip” in rehab 11 years ago, and it even had a run off-Broadway in 2019. Now that pandemic interruptions are easing, Daniels said this story is even more relevant. 

“The idea of creating something that isn't precious or overly serious or sentimental or even just trauma porn, to be able to say, ‘This is something that's in our country, right? Someone dies from addiction every three minutes and it affects millions of people.’ And that's just the people that it directly affects. You talk about families, suddenly you're talking about, you know, the vast majority of the country.” 

Powell said the script handles a serious topic and keeps it accessible. “I think people here — it's a play about recovery — and they go, ‘Oh my God, it's going to be Flight with Denzel Washington,’ which is a marvelous film, but just harrowing from start to finish,” Powell said. “And again, this one is entertaining and funny and touching too. “

Stories On Stage Presents The White Chip on Sunday, March 12 at Su Teatro with a special virtual premiere the night of March 16.