Andy Garrison finds his own west wing in Denver actress Anna Hadzi.

In the Parlor 

Andy Garrison finds his own west wing in Denver actress Anna Hadzi.

Alan Ball's concept for the brilliant HBO series Six Feet Under is so obvious it's a wonder it had never been done before: a show about the mystery of life set under a cloud of ever-present death. But it took Ball's skewed view of suburbia (as previously seen in his American Beauty) and a cast of extraordinary actors like Frances Conroy and Lauren Ambrose (just for starters) to bring it to fruition. Though the show got hammered by The West Wing at the Emmy Awards, the Six Feet Under crew knows who's got the goods.

Similarly, FlyOver Productions, which splits its performance calendar between Kansas City and Denver, is cleverly tapping into the potential of the funeral-parlor setting with Three Viewings, opening at Quality Hill Playhouse on Thursday. "Tell-Tale" is a vignette told from the point of view of a funeral director annoyed by a real estate agent who shows up at funerals to pass out business cards. In "Thief of Tears," a kleptomaniac irreverently steals jewelry from stiffs. Finally, in "Thirteen Things About Ed Carpolotti," a contractor's widow finds her world turned upside down -- and that's nothing compared to her inherited debt to the mob. Kansas City-based coproducer Andy Garrison says that, despite the solemn setting of the three monologues, "they are really about hope." He adds that the pieces "reference each other but stand alone."

Garrison's coproducer is the Denver-based actress Anna Hadzi. Both Hadzi and Garrison perform with a third cast member: Kansas City thespian Bonita Hanson. Traveling 600 miles for a rehearsal sounds more than a little inconvenient, but FlyOver's weird geographical limitations haven't deterred the group.

"I met Anna on the Internet in a theater discussion group," Garrison says of his partner to the west. "It's one of those things where you find someone you can work with consistently. So what if we happen to live in separate cities?"

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