According to Brian Mann, artistic director and co-founder of THEATREdART, there really isn't such a thing as mainstream theater in Colorado Springs.
Mann's joking, of course, but he does believe that most productions in town at least have some elements that are unconventional and interpretive, even those put on by "mainstream" theater companies. Which is why TdA's collaboration with the venerable Star Bar Players on Dale Wasserman's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, based on Ken Kesey's novel, is a good fit for the companies and the scene in general.
TdA's track record is, well, a tad niche, with past productions including the surrealist Jet of Blood, Grand Guignol grotesque plays, and an "immersion experiment"of Reservoir Dogs, which took place without a stage in Western Jubilee Recording Company.
Star Bar — celebrating its 40th season this year — tackles more classical fare with 2012's God of Carnage, Othello: Moor of Venice and An Empty Plate in the Café du Grand Boeuf. "We tend to do traditional," says Alysabeth Clements Mosley, who serves both as artistic director and Nurse Ratched in Cuckoo's Nest. "We like to choose good material and represent it well."
Given their respective lineups, TdA tends to attract a younger crowd than Star Bar; Star Bar tends to attract a larger crowd than TdA. With a single story that's both edgy and familiar — set in a psychiatric hospital, the 1975 movie version starring Jack Nicholson swept all five major Academy Awards — both crowds should get something they want. Especially since Star Bar brings to the equation some of the scene's most well-established actors.
Like Clements Mosely, Mann notes that there's already a lot of cooperation involved in the theater scene. "We've shared space and sometimes actors," Mann says, "so it has been fun to get together to see what we can tease out of both companies."
This collaboration came together via TdA's Michael Lee, who will be directing. While trying to schedule the space they sometimes share, Lee suggested the companies work on Cuckoo's Nest together. Clements Mosley liked the idea and called Mann.
"It's working out well," says Mann. "Everything's sort of split down the middle. Star Bar is handling the set, and the costumes are up to THEATREdART."