Thursday, January 26, 2023

Not Perfect Daughter Is Perfectly Fun and Expertly Done

Cast of I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter (Nate Watters)

I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter
Through 2/5/23
Director Juliette Carrillo directed one of the few plays that stay stuck in my mind for many years. Way back in 2011, Carrillo directed The Brothers Size at Seattle Rep. Images from that play instantly come to mind when I think of that production. Carrillo helmed a designer crew of sets, lights, sound, and movement/choreography that melded together perfectly. The trio of actors was magical.
Now, Carrillo has directed another play that may have that same lasting power for me. I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter is not a perfect play, in that it might need a bit of trimming from a jam-packed script, but this production is magical. From the amazingly simple but amazingly stunning set design of a massive beaded curtain by Efren Delgadillo Jr., to the costumes by Danielle Nieves that fit the actors within an inch of their lives (with an eye-popping quinceañera dress!). From the light by Robert J. Aguilar that went from tenderly subtle to a blinding crescendo and the sound design and compositions of John Nobori. Again, she has indeed assembled a fantastic cast of actors.
I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter is about a 15-year-old Júlia (who ages to about 17 during the play) who has just lost her beloved but maybe-slightly-mysterious older sister and is trying to cope with what that means to the rest of her life. While surrounded by family, the relationships are not at all comforting. Júlia mother (Amá played by Jazmín Corona) might love her, but most of the time she seems as toxic as it might get. Júlia’s father (played by Eddie Martinez) is remote and removed.

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

"Becoming Othello" - Great Actor Needs a Better Script 

 Guest Reviewer Amy Pierce

Deborah Ann Byrd in Becoming Othello (Robert Wade)

Amy Pierce is a lifelong fan of the theater, an actor, a storyteller, and a Black woman, who hopes to encourage more people of color to embrace art in all its forms (but especially live theater).

Deborah Ann Byrd has great stage presence and has accomplished quite a lot as an actor and as a woman from severely disadvantaged beginnings. One can feel that from the moment she takes stage with a powerful singing voice, owning the stage. She is a vastly talented actor with a story that should be rich and compelling. Her struggles to find and express her talent and love for acting, particularly of acting Shakespeare is certainly worthy of being heard.

In her solo show now presenting at Seattle Shakespeare Company, Becoming Othello, A Black Girl's Journey, Byrd tells the story of those struggles and her unlikely journey to becoming a Shakespearean actor and to founding the Harlem Shakespeare Festival in 2013, a festival that continues today to provide professional opportunities to Black and underrepresented actors to perform any classical roles they might like.

Sunday, January 01, 2023

2023 Starts With A Bang in Seattle Theaters


William Eames and Bretteney Beverly,
A Woman of No Importance, Taproot Theatre (Photo by Robert Wade)

2023 is starting off with several bangs with productions of classic plays, world premieres, new to us stories, and intriguing plays referencing classic writing. There is something for everyone, this month. Get outcher calendars! Happy New Year!

The World’s a Stage: Becoming Othello, A Black Girl’s Journey, Seattle Shakespeare Company, 1/3-29/23
This autobiographical solo show from Debra Ann Byrd, the Founding Artistic Director of the Harlem Shakespeare Festival and Artistic Director of Southwest Shakespeare Company, is a living memoir of her life’s trials and triumphs. Through verses from Othello and dynamic multimedia elements, she chronicles her youth growing up in Harlem, her tumultuous teen years, and navigating race in classics as a gender-flipped Othello.
I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter, Seattle Rep, 1/13/23-2/5/23
As she grieves the death of her older sister, Julia Reyes faces pressure to put her own dreams of becoming a writer on hold. She finds herself caught between her family’s expectations and the less-than-perfect life she grapples with every day as a 15-year-old growing up in Chicago. A rich and poignant exploration of how to transcend your circumstances while remaining true to who you are.