Grapefruit Lab’s Latest Production Strange Bird, Queer Bird Runs April 7 – 15

Lars Reid and Julie Rada in rehearsals for Strange Bird, Queer Bird

Strange Bird, Queer Bird is the latest production from Grapefruit Lab and it launches on Friday, April 7 and runs the following two weekends (see dates and times below) at Buntport Theater at 717 Lipan St., Denver, CO 80204. Per the latter’s press release:

“Strange Bird, Queer Bird, the latest original show from Grapefruit Lab, is
an early-pandemic love story based on actual events. After a single face-to-face date, the world shuts down, but two queer people manage to connect despite the imposed distance. Against the backdrop of forest fires, uprisings in the streets, uncertainty, and massive death – this show finds a hopeful tone in the personal and profound connections still happening between people.

“It’s a story told through music, dance, and intimate correspondence,” says Lars Reid, one of the creators. “A story about falling in love, and finding comfort in a time of great loss and widespread isolation.” The text is taken verbatim from letters, phone messages, journal entries, and poems between Reid and Julie Rada – who perform as themselves. These words are joined with original dance (Kate Speer, Allison Blakeney) and live music (Teacup Gorilla) to create a poetic reflection on blossoming love.

“The show is inspired by the complex mating rituals of bowerbirds,” says Rada.
“These birds build intricate nests and colorful collections to impress each other – and we’re telling a queer version of that story. In the context of the pandemic, it’s a story that seems relatable, in spite of these specifics.

“This vulnerable, charming production is a collaboration among many other local artists. In addition to the creators and performers, the show features sculptural scenic pieces and costumes created by the masterminds at Colorado Shoe School: Annabel Reader and Dan Huling. It is also being performed at (and co-produced by) Buntport Theater, another company known for their innovative original work.”

Allison Blakeney and Kate Speer in rehearsals for Strange Bird, Queer Bird

All ticket sales for the Sunday April 9 performance will benefit the Denver Actors Fund which profides financial support to Colorado artists in medical need. On Saturday, April 15 Grapefruit Lab will host a thirty minute “creative conversation” at 4 pm for attendees with an interest in a behind-the-scenes glimpse into how the production was made.

As per usual for Grapefruit Lab, a performance company founded by long-term collaborators Julie Rada, Miriam Suzanne and Kenny Storms, this show will be a mixed media affair imbued with great creativity, humanity, humor and warmth that will provoke thought and reflection on the subjects presented. For tickets visit Grapefruit Lab’s website at this link:

Allison Blakeney and Kate Speer in rehearsals for Strange Bird, Queer Bird

Friday, April 7, 2023 – 7:30pm
Saturday, April 8, 2023 – 7:30pm
Sunday, April 9, 2023 – 6:00pm (fundraiser for Denver Actors Fund – suggested
donation $20)
Friday, April 14, 2023 – 7:30pm
Saturday, April 15, 2023 – 2:00pm
Saturday, April 15, 2023 – 7:30pm

Grapefruit Lab Presents Darkly Comedic Tragedy Pity+Fear (a travesty) May 13-May 28

Pity+Fear (a travesty) is the latest original work from Grapefruit Lab the performance group that brought us the fantastic production 2018 JANE/EYRE, a queer interpretation of Charlotte Brontë’s 1847 novel. This new performance piece is, according to the Grapefruit Lab press release, “an intimate and darkly-comedic modern Greek tragedy, exploring what it means to be alive, to tell the truth, and to change over time. It was written by founding Grapefruit Lab member Miriam Suzanne (of JANE/EYRE and 10 Myths on the Proper Application of Beauty Products) who will also perform with live music by Josie Cool (An Antiquated Bluff, The Better Selfs). You will see Suzanne and Cool tell the story through three “incompatible myths of a Greek princess Agraulos” with personal stories from the performers. As with JANE/EYRE the performance promises to be utterly unique and imbued with meaning, humor and of course the tragedy one would expect given the genre vehicle of what you’ll witness on stage. But rather than summarize the Grapefruit Lab’s excellent synopsis of the performance and the ideas informing it, here’s is a bit more of what the group has to say about this current production:

“I’ve been trying to write about Agraulos since I first encountered her myths in 2010,” says Miriam Suzanne. The character has become a sort of worry stone for Suzanne, according to director and Grapefruit Lab collaborator Julie Rada. “This piece wrestles with both the mythical character and also Miriam’s ongoing obsession with her three lives and three deaths.” Those stories are framed by the two performers, who use the myths as a starting point to reflect on their own lives as queer and trans women through song and direct address.

Pity+Fear premiers on Friday, May 13, at Buntport Theater (717 Lipan St) in Denver, and runs for three weekends with shows every Friday and Saturday at 7:30pm. In order to make this production accessible, regardless of ability to pay, tickets are all name-your-price. “Buntport has been kind enough to lend us the space, and we want to pass along that generosity, especially as we’re still in the middle of a pandemic,” says Kenny Storms, the third member of Grapefruit Lab.

Grapefruit Lab is a performance company founded by long-term collaborators
Suzanne and Rada, along with Kenny Storms, a sound designer for theaters around Denver. The three met in 2009, working on a LIDA Project production. Since then, they’ve collaborated under various names — finally forming Grapefruit Lab with a vision for mixed-media shows that engage the community. “We want to make art without assumptions,” Rada says, “Art that humanizes, and entertains, and challenges, and brings you into conversation.”

Friday, May 13, 2022 7:30pm
Saturday, May 14, 2022 7:30pm
Friday, May 20, 2022 7:30pm
Saturday, May 21, 2022 7:30pm
Friday, May 27, 2022 7:30pm
Saturday, May 28, 2022 7:30pm
All tickets are name-your-own-price.

Buntport Theater
717 Lipan St
Denver, CO 80204


Grapefruit Lab: Julie Rada, Miriam Suzanne, Kenny Storms
Also Featuring: Josie Cool
Created With: Erin Rollman, Ben Meyer Reimer