Denver-based actor Rachel Fowler, who lived in France for several years as a child, is a fluent speaker of French and avidly seeks out any opportunity to perform in the language of love. To that end, the current member of Boulder’s woman-run Local Theater Company is also an artistic associate with Atlanta’s Théâtre Du Rêve, touted as the only French-speaking company in the United States. Though she hopes to one day produce an all-French play in Denver, Fowler has found it difficult to find suitably fluent local actors needed to pull off such a production.
But she’s not a quitter. To test the waters, she applied for (and won) an artistic scholarship from the Alliance Française de Denver and will star in a bilingual play-reading collaboration between Local Theater and director Park Krausen of Théâtre Du Rêve at 7 p.m. Monday, June 8 at the Grant-Humphreys Mansion, 770 Pennsylvania Street. Fowler describes the play — L’Évanouie, by Belgian playwright Olivier Coyette of Théâtre de Poche in Brussels — as a “tonal poem about two women reconstructing memories of another character who’s not on stage — an old woman at end of her life,” adding that it is “funny, silly and poetic.
“We weren’t sure what sort of audience we’d have in Denver, so we’re trying to gauge whether or not there’s an audience here at all for this kind of theater,” Fowler continues. “Performing in both French and English makes it more accessible for beginner French speakers.”
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And there’s a participatory element built into the script to help bridge the language gap: Sentences in French and English — audience members can choose which language they prefer — will be handed out before the show, during which people will be prompted to read aloud whatever they’ve been dealt.
Need further encouragement? There will also be sparkling wine served. And chocolate. “Even if you didn’t like the play, there will be Belgian chocolate,” promises Fowler, who will be relocating to London with her husband soon, where she’ll continue as Local’s long-distance literary producer while carrying on some Local missions of her own overseas.
Admission to L’Évanouie, which includes the sublime reception, is $20 in advance. Find tickets and more information at Local Theater Company online.