Mare Trevathan exists in the local theater scene on many levels: She's an actress, publicist and booster all rolled up into one dynamic ball of energy, who's played roles for numerous companies, including Curious Theatre, where she also manages community affairs. Mare has been all over the world and has a long backstory in experimental theater, but has chosen to remain in Denver since 2001, which is a pretty good indicator for how things are here, theater-wise.
Mare notes that, after arriving in Denver, she saw her first Buntport Theater production, and "I thought, 'Oh, I could live here.'" And she has, ever since. Buntport, Mare adds, is able to keep the right balance between the "humorless and austere" avant garde and accessibility, without sacrificing an ounce of creativity or originality. "Buntport should be in the starter kit for culture in Denver," she notes. "You can go to one of their shows and appreciate it as if it's an art installation." Buntport is also vastly affordable, and in her role as theater booster, she likes that the metro area does offer plenty of affordable stage experiences. Following are ten from Mare:
Third Tuesday at Buntport: When I discovered the existence of Buntport, I relaxed a bit into living in Denver. On the third Tuesday of every month, Buntport always offers some sort of quirky, cheap programming. In January, it's The Great Debate: Kafkaesque Moments or Freudian Slips, in which "teams of non-experts go head to head in lively debates of the inconsequential." Tuesday, January 18, at 8 p.m. $5-7, by luck of the draw.
Backstage Pass at Curious Theatre: My uber-fun gig at Curious includes dreaming up free pre-show events to host backstage. Next up: an all-ages acting class on Sunday, January 30, at 12:30 p.m. and a performance by the Colorado Chamber Players on Sunday, February 13, at 1 p.m., with funny love poetry read by Curious actors. Free!
Freak Train at the Bug Theatre: The last Monday of every month, my buddy GerRee Hinshaw hosts a silly and strange open stage. Come at 7 p.m. if you want to sign up for one of the twelve performance slots. The show starts at 8 p.m. $5 includes free beer.
Denver Center Theatre Company: I lived in Denver two years before attending a show at this big fish organization, finding the ticket costs out of reach. Now, in partnership with the SCFD, each Tuesday at 10 a.m., ten seats for every Denver Center Theatre Company performance in the coming week are put on sale for $10. Use code SCFD at the website.
Cuéntame un Cuentito/Tell Me a Story: I've had many conversations with Gabriella Cavallero, the exquisite actor and co-director of Modern Muse Theatre Company, about the need for more bilingual theater in Denver. Now she's making it happen, through a partnership with Stories on Stage. Gabriella, the aforementioned GerRee Hinshaw, Manuel Roybal and Caroline Eder will present Spanish/English bilingual stories and music, appropriate for both adults and children. Saturday, January 29, at 2 p.m. at Su Teatro. Tickets are $3 to $5; 303-494-0523.
Sneak Peek at Paragon: This tight ensemble of very gifted actors wines and dines its audience for free once a year, giving them a glimpse of the plays to come in the season. This year's event is at Kim Robards Dance on Saturday, January 15. Doors open at 6 p.m., show starts at 6:45 p.m., libations and appetizers start at 7 p.m. Free. RSVP: 303-300-2210.
Comedy Nights at the Avenue: A rotating repertoire comedy groups perform most Wednesday nights at the Avenue Theater. Next up, All of the Above on January 19. All shows are $10 and begin at 7:30 p.m.; seating opens at 7:00 p.m.
Big Time at the Boulder Fringe Festival: The first Monday of every month, the delightfully odd Emily K. Harrison hosts what she's called a rip-off of Freak Train from 7 to 9 p.m. I've been remiss in getting up the hill to show support so I can't speak to Big Time's own merits, but it's free and anything with Emily at the helm is bound to be worth your time. Location varies, though they've lately been at the Twisted Pine. Big Time is taking a break, but promises to hook up next month with the Boulder Fringe Festival's 2011 Public Lottery Party when they coincide on February 7.
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Denver Puppet Theater: Annie Zook and her family have made a little puppet empire of their home in northwest Denver. There's an enchanting courtyard with fountains and flowers, a fantastic gift shop, a really fun craft studio, and multiple stages for kids to try out their puppeteering skills. The shows are definitely most appealing to little tykes (3 to 7 years old, I'd say), but the experience makes for a great outing for parents, too. Thursdays and Fridays at 10 a.m., Saturdays and Sundays at 1 p.m. Tickets are $7. The next show, The Day It Snowed Tortillas, opens on March 3.
Redneck Romeo and Juliet at Dangerous Theatre: A modern language, improvised adaptation of Shakespeare, in which the Capulets and Montagues are two competing crystal meth makers. The cast includes students and instructors of The Yes! Lab. Could be awful, but I'm sure intrigued, aren't you? Friday, January 21, at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m., and Saturday, January 22, at 2 p.m. $10.