Producing Artistic Director Emily K. Harrison responds to criticism of HOUSE OF GOLD / by Emily Harrison

If you've read the reviews for our currently running Regional Premiere of Gregory S. Moss' House of Gold, you've probably noticed that they're...mixed. While Joanne Ostrow for The Denver Post hails the production as "a surreal ride that’s surprisingly effective and even profound at times," Juliet Wittman for Westword notes that "a play about JonBenét Ramsey seems like a violation." Likewise, while Sarah Haas for the Boulder Weekly says the production "is successful in creating a fictional world out of a very real story and does so with plenty of creative talents," Adam Goldstein for The Daily Camera notes that "It's impossible to forget that there's a real victim at the center of this story, a namesake that feels compromised and sullied for the sake of pointing out society's tendency to compromise and sully the young and innocent." 

square product theatre Producing Artistic Director Emily K. Harrison has written the following response:

"Some critics have had mixed feelings about House of Gold, noting that they believe the play borders at times on being disrespectful or exploitative. While they are entitled to their opinions, I believe they're missing the point. Our production of House of Gold, presented less than half a mile from the home where JonBenét Ramsey took her last breath, honors her memory, and the memory of so many girls and women trapped - even doomed - by the expectations of those around them, by the expectations of a culture that tolerates so much violence. We chose to produce this play knowing full well that it would make people uncomfortable, and that it would challenge an audience to sit with that discomfort, especially given the lack of resolution both in life and art. But ultimately, we don't believe it's our job or the job of any artist to make work that keeps us all comfortable. We understand that Boulder is a 'bubble,' but that construct isn't serving this community. It never has.

With this play we honor all the girls and women whose lives have been cut short. We honor all the girls and women who have been unable to live up to their potential because their worth is equated with 'beauty' in a culture that unrelentingly perpetuates and celebrates standards of beauty that are unrealistic, harmful, even dangerous - a culture that punishes both those it deems beautiful and those it does not. We honor all the girls and women who learned early to make themselves small in order to keep themselves safe. And we honor all the girls and women who have fought to survive and make things better for all of us.

We hope you'll take the risk and join us at a performance of House of Gold. While there are certainly moments that are difficult to watch, ultimately, we believe the production to be darkly funny at times, as well as beautiful, moving, and even profound. It has been a joy to work on this provocative and demanding play in a community that we believe is up for the challenge."