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Terry Dodd loves environmental theater, and any play performed in the lobby of the historic Barth Hotel, built in 1882 and a longtime LoDo assisted-living facility overseen by Senior Housing Options Inc., is nothing if not environmental. That’s why the local stage director thinks Steve Martin’s Picasso at the Lapin Agile, set almost entirely in a Paris bar circa 1904, is a perfect choice for the third entry in SHO’s series of theater fundraisers at the hotel, which began in 2008 with Dodd’s production of The Hot L Baltimore.

“Environmental shows let people see how theater can push the boundaries, simply in terms of where it’s being performed,” Dodd explains. “We’re basically doing this in somebody’s community room. But the point of doing it in a site-specific location is to not alter it too much; otherwise, you might as well go see the play in a regular theater.” So, in spite of such challenges as figuring out how to do “an imaginative thing with stars,” Dodd is more than happy to work outside the box, especially with a play and cast he considers exceptional.

“It is a wicked play,” he says of Picasso, which comprises a fictional conversation between a very young Pablo Picasso and a very young Albert Einstein. “It’s a summing up, via Steve Martin’s mind, of the century to come, with projections into love, chemistry and — this is a recurring theme — a very small bladder. Martin mixes high and low comedy beautifully. The audience can just have a drink and sit back and enjoy.”

See Picasso at 8 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at the same time, through August 14. For tickets, $25 to $45 (or $100 for tomorrow night’s opening gala), go to www.seniorhouseingoptions.org or call 303-595-4464.
Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m. Starts: July 8. Continues through Aug. 14, 2010

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