Saturday, January 27, 2024

25 Years of ZinZanni Fun with Kevin Kent

Kevin Kent at Teatro Zinzanni (Photo by Nate Watters)

In recent years, TeatroZinZanni has “put up its tent” in various temporary locations, and for the last several months, they have been resident in the new Hotel Lotte (Low-tay) in downtown Seattle. The building includes the soaring sanctuary inside what used to be the 1908-built United First Methodist Church. ZinZanni figured out a way to insert the bottom part of the tent inside the sanctuary, and then erect metal structures above to be able to “fly” the aerial performers safely. But you can still see the beautiful dome above that.
So, if you’ve been to ZinZanni before, the surroundings will be familiar. The deep burgundy of the curtains, the wooden floor, the mirrors, the booths around the perimeter and the doors through which performers enter and food is served.
Kevin Kent was a cast member of the original Teatro ZinZanni show in Seattle in 1998 and the subsequent debut show in San Francisco in 2000, and has been with Teatro ever since. A physical and improvisational humorist, Kevin has honed his comedic audience interactions to a fine point. During the performance, he morphs into a female character that might baffle audience members. (During my visit, my companion did not realize until after the show that Kevin was both the male and female interactor.)
I had a great time interviewing Kevin about his life and working with ZinZanni. A New Mexico native, he and his husband Joe are living in the homestead his parents built in the mountains.

Monday, January 15, 2024

Jan + Half Feb Theater Openings, Check Out the World Premieres!


Montage of Comedy of Errors photos (Giao Nguyen)

Theater is bringing great energy to the new year! I’m partial to world premieres because of the sense of adventure, seeing a show that only has a tempting blurb, and rolling dice hoping that it will be a great experience. Even if it ends up not being your favorite show, you’re still supporting the forward motion of the theater community. Engage your inner adventurer and get outcher calendars!

The Comedy of Errors, Seattle Shakespeare Company, 1/10-28/24
This small ensemble version cleaves right to the heart of this comedy of separated twins. What are the chances there’s a guy walking around town with your face? What are the chances there’s another guy walking around town with your servant’s face? Antipholus and Dromio encounter some trouble when their doppelgangers seem to be on the loose in Ephesus, not realizing that their identical twins with identical names were separated from them in a shipwreck as babies. Performed by a troupe of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) collaborators.
God of Carnage, SecondStory Repertory, 1/12-28/24
A playground altercation between eleven-year-old boys brings together two sets of Brooklyn parents at a home for a meeting to resolve the matter. At first, diplomatic niceties are observed, but as the meeting progresses, and the rum flows, tensions emerge and the gloves come off, leaving the couples with more than just their liberal principles in tatters.
Strong Waters, Global Works 1/13/24-2/3/24 (at 12th Ave Arts) (world premiere)
“Permission to come aboard?” A retired actor and his recently divorced son share a tranquil life in a floating home community - until an unexpected guest arrives, destined to make waves. The past is awakened, and the present enlivened, as three people discover where their hidden hurts, and their hope for healing, collide.