Bas's Hurrah

Here in the metro area, where small theater troupes tend to crowd the cultural landscape, even the staunchest supporter of independent theater must give little thought to the Bas Bleu Theatre Company. Based in downtown Fort Collins, the ensemble has performed in its tiny salon-style space since 1992. But the northern Colorado location hasn't stopped the company from growing, or from winning national recognition.

No wonder Bas Bleu is busting its seams. The company is moving this fall to a larger space, but not without bidding farewell to the old one. Old fans and new are invited to attend Bas Bleu's Last Hurrah this weekend, a stimulating gala that includes champagne, chocolate, and performances from past productions. "It's a unique little theater, very small -- just 49 seats and a little gallery space," says spokesman Robert Reid. "All our patrons are quite attached to it, so the idea is to say farewell to it."

But it's also in the spirit of looking ahead: Bas Bleu is pushing forward, in spades. The season kicks off in October with an ambitious staging of Tony Kushner's Angels in America, a milestone two-part production performed in repertory and co-directed by CSU's Laura Jones and noted Denverite Terry Dodd, with a cast of actors from up and down the I-25 corridor, including troupe artistic director and guiding light Wendy Ishii floating above it all as the work's ubiquitous Angel.

And the company's new digs, a former machine shop, will provide yet another unexpected contribution to the fall kickoff: set-design materials. The place came to Bas Bleu full of discarded mechanical junk. "The design crew for Angels decided to integrate some of the found objects into the set," Reid notes, a move he says will incorporate the vintage feel of the space into the dramatic work.

"It's going to be an interesting theater," Reid says. "We'll still have an intimate feel. Even though we've doubled the number of seats in the new space, people in the back row won't be any farther away from the stage than they were before. And we're not skimping on the tech booth. It's going to be state-of-the-art."

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Susan Froyd started writing for Westword as the "Thrills" editor in 1992 and never quite left the fold. These days she still freelances for the paper in addition to walking her dogs, enjoying cheap ethnic food and reading voraciously. Sometimes she writes poetry.
Contact: Susan Froyd