June 15, 2021

One Two Kazoo: Meet Your Host, Amber Blais


This Wednesday, we welcome the second performance of One Two Kazoo hosted by Denver performing artist, Amber Blais. We caught up with Amber to learn more about her and what to expect for this fun and interactive storytelling program.

Photo of Amber blais
Photo by Michelle Christiance

Hi Amber! How have you been? 

Hi Tai, I am well, thank you! So excited to be able to be part of the MCA blog!

This is your third time hosting One Two Kazoo, what is it that you like about this program? 

It is so fun! I love how it has been able to morph and change every year to fit the current climate. Former MCA Denver staff member Carina Buchwald and I conceived of this fun “storytelling game show” format back in 2019 and the first show had a live band, incredible storytellers, and shenanigans that brought the audience into the fun. The second year, we were able to move it to one of the first virtual programs put on by the MCA, and this year, we are slowly moving back to a hybrid live/virtual format. Each year, we try to find fun ways to bring in silly antics next to great stories!

As a performing artist and Producing Director with Rainbow Militia. Can you share with us more about Rainbow Militia and how that came about?  Is there a process you go about with your story-telling? 

Rainbow Militia is an immersive circus company run by myself and three other women. We like to create fantastical worlds and stories that audiences can walk around, explore, and interact with characters. While all of this is happening circus acts such as aerial dance, acrobatics, stilt walking, juggling, paired with theater and live music. We love to bring out your inner child and encourage you to play! I have always been fascinated with the magical and wanted to escape through a magical portal to another world. I haven’t found one yet, so in the meantime, I will continue to create little worlds through my art! 

My process for Rainbow Militia usually involves looking into folklore throughout the world. I love to look beyond what the stories say at face value to why people felt they needed to create these stories. What fears, hopes, or dreams were they addressing? Or what hardships were they facing? I LOVE other people’s stories. I love that everyone has different experiences and moments that mean something to them and that was why I started Raconteur Denver back in 2016. I wanted to give anyone a chance to share their important moments with a supportive audience.

photo of rainbow militia
Rainbow Militia 2020 performance cast of Celestial Chaos - Photo by Martha Wirth

 What’s the wildest performance or program you’ve been a part of? 

To be completely honest, we do some pretty wacky things in our circus, so I’m not even sure where the baseline is! We are not afraid to let our imaginations run wild, from choosing your own adventures in cursed forests to mysterious mazes created in soon-to-be-demolished houses, we have had death quit its job, gnomes searching for homes, Greek gods battling to see who is the coolest, and are even working on a new show where you can have beers with a dragon. 

What or who has influenced your artistic practice? 

As I said above, I am deeply influenced by folklore of the world. I am, and always have been, inspired by the stories of others, and am also deeply inspired by my business partners, Staza Stone, Elizabeth Smith, and Cerene Shepard. They are all strong women performers and each brings their own magic to the world. 

What do you feel is the power of storytelling? 

Storytelling has this incredible magic that, when done well, allows you to step into someone else’s shoes for a moment in time. This is so powerful because we can often get bogged down in our own perspectives and it allows us to break out of those leading to deeper understanding, empathy, and connection. It is also so empowering to be able to share your story. I firmly believe that everyone has the right to be heard and to know that their brief time on this crazy planet matters.

2019 One Two kazoo featuring  Timmi Lasley, Stephen Bracket, & Gifty Amponsem
2019 One Two Kazoo featuring left to right: Gifty Amponsem, Stephen Bracket, Amber Blais & Timmi Lasley

What are you excited about for this year? 

Rainbow Militia is partnering with We Are Denver to create a new production called Beer Quest. It’s a fun romp through a fantasy fueled world full of orcs, elves, dragons, and BEER. It will include fun things like jousts, games of chance, joining thieves guilds, and, as I hinted to above, having beers with a 10-story tall dragon. 

Rainbow Militia is also traveling throughout Denver with our Circus Wagon Stage, we will be at the Denver Fringe Festival June 26-27 and various other neighborhoods throughout August and September. 

All of these shows are outdoors and should be not only safe but fun for people of all ages!

Join us for One Two Kazoo on Wednesday, June 16 at 7pm.