The Craig Middle School auditorium suddenly went empty Saturday night. The audience had filed out, and the cast had retired backstage to change out of their costumes.
David Morris, writer, director and lead actor of “Moffat County’s Last Stand,” stood alone under a bright spotlight.
He was cleaning the stage with a wet mop.
“I think it went great,” Morris said of his play, which opened Friday and included two performances Saturday. “It was everything I’d hoped for.”
“Moffat County’s Last Stand” was a production of the Black Mountain Theatre group.
Morris wrote the play over the summer, auditioned citizen thespians in late August, and directed the cast during a three-week rehearsal before the play’s three-show weekend run.
Cindy Chotvacs, a member of Black Mountain Theatre group, estimated 300 people saw the play over the course of the three performances.
Ticket sales generated between $900 and $1,000, Chotvacs said.
The story, which is set in 2025, pitted Moffat County landowners against greedy corporate interests who wished to turn Northwest Colorado into a privately run prison and toxic waste dump.
The landowners’ resistance movement — SOS, or Save Our Sagebrush — was led by Royboy Stirrup, played by Morris.
The villain, Red Smirnov, was played by Zach Hendershott.
“We had fun putting it on,” Hendershott said. “It was an absolute blast.”
For the role, Hendershott affected a familiar-sounding Russian accent.
“I’ve been watching ‘Rocky and Bullwinkle’ since I was (a child), so Boris Badenov is deeply imbedded in me,” he said.
Hendershott said the comedic play was something new for Black Mountain Theatre.
“We really tried to bring out Vaudeville-type performances,” he said.
The approach appealed to the audience, said Shana Miles who attended the show’s final performance.
“I loved it,” Miles said.
Miles, who works at Sandrock Elementary School, said she was a student in Morris’s eighth-grade classroom in 1998.
“He gets more wild every year,” Miles said of Morris’s onstage antics Saturday. “We love him for it.”
Actress Roni Smith, who played villainess Krupskaya Smirnov, said Morris deserves accolades.
“We’re very proud of him,” Smith said. “We think he did a great job. He was wonderful to work for.”
Actress Katie Johnson said Black Mountain Theatre is ready for another Morris play.
“Dave will have to take a break for a while,” Johnson said. “But we’re hoping he’ll write another one and we’ll perform it.”
Morris said he’s up for it.
“I’m glad it’s over, but I loved it,” he said. “I really, really loved it. And I already knew before it was over that I’d do it again.”
As to why Morris would work so hard writing, acting, directing and mopping for such a brief theater run, he had a quick response.
“Because I’m a show-off,” Morris said laughing.