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'Blue Flower' Blooms At The A.R.T11:34
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Meghan McGeary in "The Blue Flower." (Tyler Kongslie/A.R.T.)
Meghan McGeary in "The Blue Flower." (Tyler Kongslie/A.R.T.)

When asked to give a three-sentence description of "The Blue Flower," the American Repertory Theatre's newest production, co-creator Jim Bauer laughed and shook his head.

"Impossible. No." Bauer said.

Bauer, who co-created the musical with his wife Ruth, isn't lying. "The Blue Flower" is not just one thing. It's a musical as well as a play, richly infused with a variety of paintings and film. Inspired by elements of Dadaism, Weimar music and folk art, "The Blue Flower" also explores themes of love and war.

Set largely in Berlin, the play opens at the beginning of the 20th century and follows three artists and one scientist who decide to go off to fight in World War I. Along the way, they are confronted by the gruesome realities of war, and philosophical challenges, such as whether it's possible to learn from history.

While the Bauers are both new to live theater, the Beverly-based husband and wife team bring a lot to the table,  including Jim's extensive background in music and Ruth's years of experience as a visual artist. In the program notes, they write that the "Blue Flower" experiment began "with the purpose of expanding and animating our work as a musician and visual artist with the four-dimensionality of live theater."

"The Blue Flower" debuts December 1 at the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge and runs through January 8.

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This segment aired on November 30, 2010.

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