Live Theatre in Fort Collins has always been a tricky art form in my view, it seems as if young trendy millennials (myself included) for whatever reason, exclude live theatre from their traditional routine. With the prominence of first Friday art walks, and more creative co-working spaces on the rise, it seems clear that we are standing on the cusp of a revival as far as the live performing arts are concerned. the evidence of this is quite clear when you contextualize ambitious shows such as the Blue Flower at Bas Bleu, Ubu Roi at CSU, and Ultimate Beauty Bible at Open Stage etcetera.
Make no mistake, the community has always been here. I have talked with some of the local talent staring in these shows who regularly are asked ‘where have you been this whole time’ Only to respond with an astounded ’I’ve been right here.’
When I look at the development of any creative scene around the world on a very basic level, it starts out with ambition, sometimes wildly unfocused and scattered. Over time and with practice that focus begins to tighten, and coalesce into an environment or an ecosystem where good talent can develop. As this talent then develops, the ‘scene’ or community then becomes stronger, the regular patrons are galvanized to spread the word and lend support, even if they themselves are not actively involved in creating the art they are patronizing. It is then at this point that a community receives recognition from outside sources, the talent within becomes competitive with the larger more established industry outside of localized system. From what I am seeing and hearing, we are in this transition.
Fort Collins in many different creative ways has been leading up to this, and specifically in this article, I want to point to Ultimate Beauty Bible as an example. Far be in from the only one, as the aforementioned and incredibly ambitious shows at Bas Bleu and CSU clearly exemplify. Ultimate Beauty Bible however is in it’s own realm with its inventive format and oddly relatable narrative. A semi-love story with its own twists and turns, set in New York City at a high energy fashion magazine. As a script, it is incredibly well crafted, the dialogue is fitting and not excessive, engaging even the most fidgety millennials.
What does truly set this show apart from anything in recent memory, is how it is performed. It is in-the-round format, this means that all sides of the actors are exposed, and that there was nothing to hide behind. A risk that has paid off spectacularly. Because of this format choice, every single actor was acting with their full bodies. At one point there was a scene between two characters on stage, one of which was being berated, and I was able to read her emotion purely from the movement of her shoulders.
An all around solid show, worth every cent of the $20 ticket, I can wholeheartedly recommend seeing this show, and I would be following up with the cast on any further productions. I am personally excited to see what the director Natalie Renee has in store for her next production. We will most likely be having her on for a podcast interview sometime this week. So stay tuned and get out there and see some of the exciting arts that are taking place, now is the time to become part of the forward momentum.