Thursday, July 30, 2015

Dog Days of August still have plenty of theatrical openings

The Passion As Told by Antigona Perez,  (photo by Marquicia Domingue)

Here's a list of theater productions opening in August.

RASHOMON: Reloaded, Recession Era Broke-Ass Theatre  (REBATE)nsemble Theatre Group, 8/1-9/2015
(at 3320 Fuhrman Ave E, 98102, on the south side of University Bridge off Eastlake)
An original theater adaptation of Akira Kurosawa's legendary film, Rashomon. Re-imagined in Kabuki style, set in present day, the show is site specific in South Passage Point Park.

Love Song, Porcupine and Poet Productions, 8/1-8/2015 (at Stone Soup)
Oddball Beane gets burgled and his well-meaning sister, Joan, is baffled to find her brother blissfully happy. John Kolvenbach's offbeat comedy is a rhapsody to the power of love in all its forms. (Adult content)

Zig Zag Festival, Annex Theatre, 8/4-19/15 (Tuesday/Wednesday nights)
6 female playwrights write a play, direct a play and advise a play. Shorts in a range of topics.

Paper Angels, SiS Productions, 8/20-31/15 (at INScape)
In 1915, eager and hopeful Chinese immigrants await permission to enter the United States at the West Coast immigration center located at Angel Island in San Francisco Bay.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Brilliant “Dance Like a Man” gives us a real taste of India

Dance Like a Man (Agastya Kohli)
Dance Like a Man
Pratidhwani
(at ACT Theatre)
Through August 9, 2015

Pratidhwani is giving us a unique opportunity to experience an Indian play by an Indian playwright, Mahesh Dattani, based in India. And it’s a brilliant one, exceptionally well produced and directed by Agastya Kohli. Dance Like a Man, presented at ACT Theatre in their ACTLab partnership, is a family comedy-drama set in one room, a rather conventional set-up for an unfolding theme of much larger scope.

The play appears to be a familiar older generation versus younger generation piece about traditions and the always-changing pressures of modernity. But it’s not two generations, it’s three. We meet a young woman, Lata (Tanvee Kale) who brings home her intended Viswas (Jay Athalye) to meet her parents (Abhijeet Rane and Meenakshi Rishi).

Monday, July 20, 2015

Poetry saves and sinks "...And Jesus Moonwalks the Mississippi" but production might be worth the visit

...And Jesus Moonwalks the Mississippi (Ken Holmes)
…And Jesus Moonwalks the Mississippi
Sound Theatre Company/Brownbox Theatre
(at the Armory)
Through August 2, 2015

Thick Louisiana poetry covers the course of the Civil War with a story of one family and its slaves. Marcus Gardley’s play …And Jesus Moonwalks the Mississippi, performed by a terrific cast in a co-production of Sound Theatre Company and Brownbox Theatre, takes a long way ‘round to tell a simple tale.

This 2 3/4 hour piece has a lot of beautiful imagery and words. Some of the multiple ensemble characters speak in verse, as well. The production is well-presented with gorgeous settings by Burton Yuen, costumes of patchwork by Candace Frank, mood lighting by Richard Schaefer, and haunting sounds by Dana Amromin. Original music and well-known spirituals are included by composer/music director Jesse Smith.

With hints of Greek mythology, a character, Demeter (Santiago) comes looking for her lost daughter, Po-em. Po-em was the slave of Cadence and Jean Verse (Danielle Daggerty and Nick Rempel), but she’s now missing. When Demeter comes to their house, she meets two children, a white child, Blanche Verse (Sunam Ellis) and a black child who powders her face white, Free (Lindsay Zae Summers). They think they are twins.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Seattle Playwrights Circle’s “Short Shorts” and other playwriting groups


There are a number of playwriting groups around town that toil together in support of new work. Some of them are kind of class-based, like Freehold Studios and a spin-off of a group called Parley (led by Freehold instructor Rebecca Tourino Collingsworth). Some of them are newer iterations where one applies to be part of a small group supported by a theater (SeattleRepertory’s Writers Group, and a musical writing group at 5th AvenueTheatre).

There are three main large-group play writing entities in town. Seattle Playwrights Studio meets a couple of Mondays per month at BurienActors Theatre. They are presenting some shorts in a weekend there, from July 24-26. Information about joining them is sketchy after a bit of a reorg, but Scot Bastian reports that there is no longer a monthly contribution (it had been about $5) and the group is open to new members.

WARP (Writers and Actors Reading and Performing) claims the title of longest running playwright support group in town. They create three shorts festivals a year and meet almost every Tuesday night at Stone Soup Theatre. They ask for donations for space rental.

They also invite anyone who is at all interested and do not require any prior experience, either to come and be a reader for plays presented that evening, or for being established in any way as a playwright. So, they are clearly the most inclusive, and a great place to start, if you’re looking for a welcoming place to get your feet wet. More information at: http://warptheatre.org/about-warp.html

Seattle Playwrights Circle, which I am a member of, is open to people who have a certain (fairly minimal) amount of play writing experience and have had a play or two presented on stage somewhere. We generally have two “table reads” a month at a local library on Sunday afternoons during the “school year” and also in fall/winter, monthly public readings at Elliott Bay Bookstore.

Two plays by Tennessee Williams: "The Two-Character Play" and "Orpheus Descending"

The Two-Character Play
Civic Rep
(at New City Theater)
Through August 1, 2015

Orpheus Descending
The Williams Project/Intiman Theatre
(at 12th Avenue Arts)
Through August 2, 2015

Tennessee Williams’ most successful and well-known plays were written earlier in his life in an about fifteen year period from 1943 to 1958. The Glass Menagerie was the first hit, but others included A Streetcar Named Desire, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Orpheus Descending and Sweet Bird of Youth.

Always plays of despair and anguish, Williams’ plays and other writings were said to reflect aspects of his own experiences with an alcoholic father, a mentally unstable sister who spent years in asylums, and his own struggle with homosexuality that was dangerous to acknowledge for most of his life.

Friday, July 03, 2015

What’s Hot for July Stage Openings?

Eric Mulholland in rehearsal for Wizzer Pizzer at Theatre22 (Devin Bannon)
July means the start of the Outdoor Theater productions in various parks (see information below). Some big musicals amp the summer fun as Taproot does Godspell and the 5th Avenue does Grease! Also, there are several ethnicities heard from with ACT Theatre and Pratidhwani presenting work, and more diversity as Sound Theatre Company partners with Brownbox Theatre.

Godspell, Taproot, 7/8/15-8/15/15
The popular Stephen Schwartz musical that uses a playground and a troupe of loving hippy types to recreate the story of Jesus. Whether you are a Christian or not, the songs in this musical will move you and fill your spirit. Taproot sets this in Seattle’s Public Market.

Grease, 5th Ave Theatre, 7/9/15-8/2/15
This iconic musical will send audiences cruisin’ through the days of ‘50s sock hops and drive-ins with an exuberant cast of Seattle’s favorite performers at The 5th Avenue Theatre this summer. Hand-jive through unforgettable songs like “Beauty School Dropout,” “Hopelessly Devoted,” “Greased Lightnin',” and “You’re the One That I Want.”

Peanutty Goodness, Theater Schmeater (workshop production), 7/9-27/15
Scott Warrender presents his new musical, as he develops it further, and plays the piano for the performances. A collection of seven unlikely characters, including a photocopy boy with a peanut allergy, a loveable CEO douchebag, and a failed actress beleaguered by seagulls face their existential crises by ______  and  _________. Come help fill in their blanks as you mad-lib with them to make a musical.

Local playwright gets an Emerald City production with Theatre22

Amy Wheeler (Tom Marks)
A locally written play will open next weekend, produced by Theatre22, a newer company that has already created a track record of solidly mounted and well-chosen stage plays. This outing, they’ve chose Amy Wheeler’s play Wizzer Pizzer: Getting Over the Rainbow.

Amy lives on Whidbey Island where she is the executive director of the famous writing retreat Hedgebrook. She wants everyone to know that, “Whidbey Island now has its own fabulous Queer Pride Parade that's happening on Sunday, August 2nd at 2:00 PM in Langley. More information is at queerparade.com and we'd love for Seattleites to come out and celebrate with us.”

Amy has written a solid handful of plays that have been done in prestigious locations such as Portland Center Stage, Bay Area Playwrights Festival and Greenwich Street Theatre in New York. Her first play, Intersection, was turned into a short film! In addition, she’s taught at local schools like Cornish and Freehold.