Saturday, May 30, 2015

What's opening in June?

Robert Bergin, Erik Gratton and Todd Jefferson Moore in Slaughterhouse-Five at Book-It Repertory Theatre
(John Ulman)

As we begin June, theatrical offerings that open this month have little in common. That’s great, since no two experiences will be alike! A couple of events are shorts fests, which proliferate as the weather gets warmer, making our attention spans that much shorter. Remember, if you don’t like one short, wait a few minutes and there will be another!

Sandbox One-Act Play Festival or SOAPfest, June 3-7, 2015, at West of Lenin.
Three interesting plays by three veteran local theater artists: Las Cruces, by Vincent Delaney, transports us to the New Mexico desert, not far from casinos and the spaceport, where Sheridan is camped out, hiding in a gutted trailer. Chosen Less, by Phillip Lienau, reveals a chance meeting on the street where two men learn the hard way that leaving is not the same as escaping. Why Do We Keep Broken Things, by Carl Sander, where five inhabitants of Seattle collide in a kinetic collage of civics, sex, and estranged friendship amidst Occupy Seattle.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

"Cabaret": Solid production (not much sex appeal)

Brian Earp and Billie Wildrick in Cabaret (Mark Kitaoka)

Cabaret
Issaquah: Through  July 3, 2015
Everett: July 10-August 2, 2015

Village Theatre is mounting a classic musical, Cabaret, by Joe Masteroff, and music writing team of Kander and Ebb. You probably know a good many of the songs, though perhaps not the context, unless you’ve seen the movie from 1972 starring Liza Minelli. Songs include: Willkommen, Don’t Tell Mama, and Cabaret.

The story focuses on a pre-war Berlin, where the Nazi Party is beginning to gain power, yet clubs with gay performers and employees were still flourishing openly, and Jews were being harassed, yet their businesses not completely destroyed. Cliff Bradshaw (Brian Earp), an American writer, visits Berlin and gets drawn in to one such club, the Kit Kat, where he meets British performer Sally Bowles (Billie Wildrick).

Monday, May 25, 2015

Exquisite theatrical (and almost secret) performance by Akropolis Performance Lab

Joseph Lavy as Dr. Glas in The Glas Nocturne (credit Joe Patrick Kane)

The Glas Nocturne
Akropolis Performance Lab
through May 31, 2015 or quite possibly beyond

I can't tell you where the performance is. I can tell you how to arrange to see it, though.

And you really should do everything you can to see Akropolis Performance Lab's production of The Glas Nocturne. If you appreciate a true theatrical experience, that is.

They are allowing up to 10 (TEN) people per performance. That's tiny. It's in a tiny performance space, and they even will provide a bit of food to help you feel comfortable. The show times are a bit random, as well, and the performance runs about 90 minutes, but you might want to stay after and chat with them for a bit.

Joseph Lavy performs essentially a solo show with a "Greek chorus" (that actually sings), along with Zhenya Lavy as piano player of several nocturnes that accompany moments of the play.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Sally "Talley's Folly" is our delight

Rebecca Olson and Mike Dooly in Tally's Folly (Paul Bestock)

Tally’s Folly
Through May 31

Is Lanford Wilson’s 1980 play, Talley’s Folly still relevant? The answer, as demonstrated by Seattle Public Theater’s current production, is a resounding “Yes!”

While this is a love story and they hardly become irrelevant, the tension here is that a New York Jew is wooing a southern belle with a rampantly anti-North, anti-Semitic and anti-liberal family. These days, politics is certainly enough to break up couples and families!

Even as Wilson has his main character, Matt Friedman (Mike Dooly) start the entire production by breaking the fourth wall and talking directly to the audience (“Once upon a time…”), the play maintains a realistic enough content that you forget that he was once audience-aware. And Dooly, as the force-of-nature Friedman, tirelessly pursues his object of affection.

Saturday, May 09, 2015

Seattle Shake's "Othello" is an imperfect but solid production

Cast of Othello (John Ulman)
Othello
Seattle Shakespeare Company
Through May 17, 2015


The current production of Othello by Seattle Shakespeare Company is a combination of aspects that work excellently and some that don't quite. Director John Langs adds some beautiful atmospherics, like starting the whole production with an imagined wedding ceremony between the fair Desdemona (Hillary Clemens) and the Moor Othello (Sean Phillips). 

The presentation is 20th Century garb, but not quite up-to-date and not quite a specific time period. So, it's modern enough to include guns, of which there are none, but too modern to include swords, of which there are plenty. It might have made more sense to use short, decorative swords for dress uniforms, instead. 

Thursday, May 07, 2015

"Little Bee" stings with real life drama

Claudine Mboligikpelani Nako as Little Bee (John Ulman)

Little Bee
Book-It Repertory Theatre
Through May 17

If you’re like me, you probably don’t know all that much about Nigeria and the relationship with international oil conglomerates. The attempt to control the valuable oil resources of Nigeria has created undeniable danger for residents of areas on top of oil. Book-It Repertory Theatre’s latest production is based on the fictionalized plight of one young teenager, but there is no mistaking the desire for the novel writer, Chris Cleave, to help us realize the truth of the Nigerian situation.

Little Bee is the name of the play and the name of the main character, played with heartbreaking simplicity and sagacity by Claudine Mboligikpelani Nako. She begins a narration of her circumstances by first asking us to agree with her that scars are beautiful. Scars prove you’ve survived. Many of the stories Little Bee and other women have survived begin with the phrase, “And then the men came…” This is both a wonderful moment and one that portends great pain to come.

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Edgy "Tilt Angel" is something different

Carter Rodriquez and Llysa Holland in Tilt Angel (Chris Bennion)
Hey, You! The one who's always complaining that Seattle theater is boring! Well, have I got a show for you: Tilt Angel by theater simple (at West of Lenin). Edgy, moody, weirdly funny, definitely not like most of the theater you see around here.

It's not easy to describe the story, but that's why you want to see it, right? It starts with a mimed plane crash that kills the mother, Lois (Llysa Holland), and we then meet the agoraphobic son left behind, Ollie (Spike Huntington-Klein) and his dad, Red (Carter Rodriquez). They don't have the best relationship.