#64: Betsy Tobin
Betsy Tobin's multidisciplinary theater works unfold unlike just about anything you've seen before, blending offbeat techniques with an old-world aura. With her Boulder-based Now or Never Theatre, she produces visually stunning pieces that incorporate puppets, live actors, dance, shadow theater and video in a sophisticated way. Some are for children, others very much for adults; they variously explore small worlds and spectacular ones, as in the case of Shadows & Journeys, a work from 2007-2008 that played out against an outdoor backdrop of rock canyon walls.
Betsy Tobin as Athena in The Odyssey.
Tobin's newest work, METAPHOR, explores relationships, as she discusses below. She'll present it this weekend at the Dairy Center in Boulder; For more information, visit Now or Never Theatre online Nowornevertheatre.com.
In advance of METAPHOR's premiere, we asked Tobin to answer our 100CC questionnaire. Read on to learn what makes her tick.
Westword: If you could collaborate with anyone in history, who would it be, and why?
Betsy Tobin: Peter Brook, the amazing British director who worked for many years in France. When I first went to France to study theater, I saw his version of Carmen at a beautiful old amphitheater in Paris, les Bouffes du Nord. Now, that changed my life.
Who in the world is interesting to you right now, and why?
President Obama, because of his integrity and how he keeps his calm in the face of all kinds of provocation.
What's one art trend you want to see die this year?
Overuse of digitally generated video projections.
What's your day job?
Theater and teaching theater, and I teach a little French, too, mostly in combination with theater.
Peter Davison in Now Or Never Theatre's METAPHOR.
A mystery patron offers you unlimited funds for life. What will you do with it?
I will continue to create new work with excellent artists like those I am working with on METAPHOR and pay them well. I will buy new video equipment and start a center for artistic exchange in puppetry, shadow theater and related arts. I will travel to Bali to study Indonesian mask and puppet traditions. I will study video and collaborate with a variety of artists from different disciplines and traditions.
What's the one thing Denver (or Colorado) could do to help the arts?
Support individual artists and small companies and not require 501c3 status for grants. Support the creation of new work in nontraditional ways.
Who is your favorite Colorado Creative?
My current favorite is Peter Davison, who can juggle anything. But I feel really lucky to be working with the incredible cast in METAPHOR that includes Peter, Shoshana Bass, Lucia Rich, Margarita Blush, T'ai Hartley, Casey Beauchamp and Jesse Manno.
What's on your agenda for the rest of 2013 and beyond?
We will be presenting our new show METAPHOR at the Dairy Center for the Arts June 7-9. Don't miss this delightful show about relationships, an unusual combination of dance theater, video and circus arts. After that, I will also be performing Charlotte's Web in Boulder and Englewood. My next project will be a show about sustainability, using all recycled materials.
Throughout the year, we'll be shining the spotlight on 100 superstars from Denver's rich creative community. Stay tuned to Show and Tell for more, or visit the 100 Colorado Creatives archive to catch up.
Do you have a suggestion for a future profile? Feel free to leave your picks in the comments.
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