Wednesday, June 19, 2019

“The Drag” is a great tribute to Pride!

Visage “Legs” LaRue as Hell's Kitchen Kate in The Drag (Shay Sooter)

The Drag – A Homosexual Comedy in Three Acts
Play Your Part
(At Gay City)
Through June 29, 2019

Michael Raimondi came to town a couple of years ago and actualized a dream to start a new theater company. Play Your Part produced some evenings of short pieces and then he began looking for a full length piece to present around Pride Month.

Michael says, “I was looking for (previously) censored LGBT plays that haven’t been commonly done and a board member had heard about Mae West’s play, The Drag, from college. I was a huge fan of Mae West as a boy and knew exactly who she was and how her style of acting was done in the ‘30s. We found the play and decided do it.”

Actually, The Drag – A Homosexual Comedy in Three Acts is part of a Mae West trilogy in a book called Three Plays by Mae West. Michael and company’s research cannot find any other full production ever done of The Drag besides the ten days (only!) it was performed in New Jersey in 1927! It was raided by police and shut down for “indecency”!

Friday, June 14, 2019

Searing “Pass Over” Can’t Be Just “Described”

Preston Butler III, Treavor Lovell, and Avery Clark in Pass Over (Chris Bennion)
Pass Over
ACT Theatre
Through June 23, 2019

Moses (Treavor Lovelle) and Kitch (Preston Butler III) are stuck on this one block. It’s not clear if they are homeless with nowhere else to go or stuck because violence ranges all around them and they’re afraid to leave or stuck because they’ve been told they must stay on this block (the audience hears commands to stay put). Perhaps it’s all of the above.

In playwright Antoinette Nwandu’s intense 80-minute play at ACT Theatre, Pass Over, these two are not waiting, like Didi and Gogo, for Godot to show up, they’re aching to leave. In frustrated, angry, hopeful, anticipatory, poetic, ‘n’-word-filled friendship-language, they’re waiting to leave.

Nwandu seems to be writing in a way that needs to penetrate White America. It’s not very subtle, for the most part. The entire piece is metaphor-heavy, trapping the two black men into scarcity and despair (there’s nothing to eat, see, read, do but make up games to pass the time), and sending in a tut-tutting Colonial-style (read “colonizing”) white man who unbends himself to graciously feed them and a white police officer to harass them for even thinking about leaving (both roles played by Avery Clark).

Sunday, June 02, 2019

June Flowers with Choices

Cast of The Agitators at West of Lenin (Josiah Epstein)
June is frontloaded with 9 shows opening in the same weekend! There is a ton of variety in choices from old-made-new to world premiere. Time to get your tickets!

Blackbird, White Rabbits Inc and Libby Barnard, 5/30/19-6/15/19 (at 18th & Union)
Ray, 56, has a new identity and has made a new life for himself, thinking that he cannot be found. Una, 27, upon seeing a photo of Ray in a magazine, arrives unannounced at his office. Guilt, rage, and raw emotions run high as they recollect the illicit relationship they had 15 years ago, when she was 12 and he was 40. Blackbird is a story about living with the consequences of abuse and trauma, and demanding a new future.

Don’t Call it a Riot, Ten Auras Productions and Trial and Error Productions, 5/31/19-6/23/19 (at 12th Avenue Arts)
Amontaine Aurore writes about the history of Seattle activism from the height of the city’s 1960s Black Panther Party to the 1999 WTO protests, uncovering the toll that a commitment to social justice can take on the day-to-day lives of activists. Reed, a 20-year-old college student who is expecting her first baby is also an active member of Black Panther Party. The effect that fighting for liberation has on the foundations of her home life flows through her 31-year journey. Turmoil challenged the Black Panther party and caused a dream deferred.