Ava is an accomplished model American woman in the middle years of life, with a daughter, a loving husband, a circle of friends and almost all the luxuries of life. But is it enough? She loves to cook in her stylish well equipped kitchen, with her crazy music playing as she dotes on the view from her window. It’s Colorado. The shrubs are in flower. The deer are grazing. The season is changing. As she prepares dinner for friends and guests she recalls her distant childhood days in Donegal. Ava is troubled and haunted by memory, by loss, and by happiness, haunted to the depth of her being. Then the unexpected happens. A visitor from Ireland arrives. All becomes clear. Not quite dark. Not quite light. But astonishingly clear. Comical, musical, lyrical, uplifting and transformative, the Colorado premiere of a new play from the award winning UK writer and director (Red Roses, Séance, Kafka’s Last Request)
Plus a special pre-show entertainment, the “Blue Craich” with local singer/songwriter Barbara Clark and friends. Songs music, poetry, good humor and crack with a touch of the Irish pub about it all.
Press Release of "Blue Kitchen"
By Mishelle Baun, Media Specialist at Bas Bleu Theatre Company
Award-winning UK/CSU playwright Eric Prince crafts story to showcase talents of Wendy Ishii; Bas Bleu introduces Irish Blue Craic to Fort Collins
With the foundation of a 20-year artistic collaboration to build on, playwright and director Eric Prince and Wendy Ishii – founder and artistic director of Bas Bleu Theatre – have constructed a world premiere production for the Fort Collins theater community. “Bas Bleu is promoting new and original writing that is not available elsewhere,” said Prince, “Helping playwrights develop and refine their works has always been part of Bas Bleu’s mission,” explains Ishii.
“Blue Kitchen,” which the Liverpool-born Prince wrote to both feature Ishii on stage and to help celebrate Bas Bleu’s 25th anniversary season, tells the story of an Irish-American woman as she wrestles with the meaning of her cultural identity. As Ava, the protagonist, Ishii also explores “a woman’s abiding need to not only give love, but receive love,” Prince said.
The Irish flavor of “Blue Kitchen” also echoes how the creative relationship between Prince and Ishii got started, meeting in 1996 at an international theater festival honoring legendary Irish playwright Samuel Beckett. A year later, Ishii and Bas Bleu performed the American premiere for Prince’s play “Seance.” And in 1999 Prince become a CSU professor of theatre, and established its Center for Studies in Beckett and Performance, of which he is also director.
“Blue Kitchen” begins with a poem that Ava, the protagonist, recites quietly to herself. The play closes with another poem, the traditional Irish air “She Moved Through The Fair.” So, it was natural to incorporate – and to celebrate – music and poetry with an Irish craic (crack) — with the liveliness of an Irish pub – as a prelude or opening act to “Blue Kitchen.” The point of craic is to “get you thinking, talking and enjoying life,” Prince explains.
Prince once again enlisted the talents of singer-songwriter Barbara Clark for “Blue Kitchen” and to help assemble artists for the craic. Clark wrote and performed the songs for the Prince-directed Samuel Beckett’s “Catastrophe” at CSU. She composed music for Bas Bleu’s production of Bertolt Brecht’s “Mother Courage” that featured Ishii and was directed by Prince.
For the Irish Blue Craic – that nightly showcases different musicians — Clark recruited fellow Fort Collins artists including Colleen Crosson, Jill Vesty and The Drunken Wailers, Derf Green, Mulligan’s Irish Musicians and others. Poetry and readings will come from not only poets such as Mary Crow and author Laura Pritchett and playwright Tammy Meneghini, but also community members Rick Miranda, Doug Hobson, Jose Luis Suarez Garcia, and others.
Reflecting on what he hopes theatergoers take away from “Blue Kitchen,” Prince shared, “Thoughts about the nature of how we live and how we relate to one another – and our human identities.”
The Irish Blue Craic/Blue Kitchen is on the Tom Sutherland Stage from April 1 to April 30. March 30 is a free community preview (formerly student/educator night) and March 31 is pay-what-you-will night. Tickets are available from basbleu.org or (970) 498.8949 and cost $26 for adults, $20 for seniors, $13 for students and $10 for children under 13.
Ava, Wendy Ishii’s character in “Blue Kitchen,” recalls her days in Donegal, Ireland.
Click here to go visit Donegal.com