Craig history comes to life in upcoming play | CraigDailyPress.com

Craig history comes to life in upcoming play

‘Taming of the Wilderness’ performs next week

From left, Brandon Christensen, Carmelita Bays, Amelia Seim, SaraJo Smith and Dylan Kernen have some Western fun while rehearsing the show "The Taming of the Wilderness." The play, written and directed by David Morris, is loosely based on the founding of Craig and features performances Feb. 20 and 21.

Whoever said that truth was stranger than fiction never got in the mind of David Morris.

A blend of genuine history and wacky Western, the original play "The Taming of the Wilderness" will offer performances Feb. 20 and 21 in Craig Middle School's auditorium.

If you go

"The Taming of the Wilderness"

7 p.m. Feb. 20 and 21

Craig Middle School auditorium, 915 Yampa Ave.

— Tickets are $5 for adults, $3 for students, and proceeds go toward the Boys & Girls Club of Craig.

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The show is set in the 1880s and tells the early days of life in what would eventually become the town of Craig. To hear the playwright Morris tell it, the story is quite a ways from being a perfect recreation of local 19th century occurrences.

"It's a smidgen of history with a whole bunch of baloney on top of it," laughed the author, whose pseudonym, Orlando Frangiapani, stands on the script's byline.

Authentic characters include men named Tucker, Taylor and Breeze, whose names live on in modern-day streets in Craig, as well as Chief Colorow, of the Ute tribe, who was present at the Meeker Massacre.

Attorney, realtor and preacher William Craig, the namesake and financial backer of the city, also can be found during the show, though Morris said research indicates the man never once stepped foot in the town that would bear his name.

Unique to the tale of Craig but not to world history are brothers Romulus and Remus, inspired by the mythological twins that founded Rome. However, the more contemporary pair has different priorities — in the form of a saloon girl named Terra Firma.

"There's a lot of fighting between those two and nothing gets done," Morris said.

The play was completed a couple years ago, but Morris had trouble finding a cast until now, with the troupe going by the moniker of Moffat County Stage Stompers.

"What's great is we have elementary school, middle school and high school kids on up to old farts like myself," he said.

Acting on the CMS stage will be a return for Morris, who spent many years overseeing drama at the school and was glad to see the auditorium still standing after its 2009 remodel.

Proceeds from the show will benefit the Boys & Girls Club of Craig, and the curtain goes up at 7 p.m. each night. One need not be a historian to appreciate the narrative, though Morris indicated those who know his sense of humor will not be too surprised.

"It'll be very tongue-in-cheek," he said.

Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com.

If you go

“The Taming of the Wilderness”

7 p.m. Feb. 20 and 21

Craig Middle School auditorium, 915 Yampa Ave.

— Tickets are $5 for adults, $3 for students, and proceeds go toward the Boys & Girls Club of Craig.