Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Vital questions raised in Intiman’s new play

Charles Leggett and Adam Standley in John Baxter is a Switch Hitter (Chris Bennion)
John Baxter is a Switch Hitter
Intiman Theatre
Through September 27, 2015

Writing plays about “history” is a peculiar challenge: there is a true story people can read about; there is an aspect that a playwright thinks should be animated on stage. Such is the case with Intiman’s new play, John Baxter is a Switch Hitter, written by playwrights Ana Brown and Andrew Russell.

The play covers the 2008 Gay Softball World Series, held for the first time ever in Seattle. It was a big deal with teams coming from all over, along with supporters and family members. A team from San Francisco, the D2s, was doing better than they ever had, and during the championship game with the Los Angeles Vipers, a challenge was issued against the D2s: they had too many heterosexual players on their team!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Hurry to the old INS building to see Paper Angels!

Kathy Hsieh (front) in Paper Angels (Celeste Mari Williams)
Paper Angels
SiS Productions
(at INScape)
Through August 31

Hurry over to the old INS building to the performance space “INScape” to see a beautifully written play revealing another example of American injustice toward immigrants! Paper Angels, by poet and playwright Genny Lim, focuses on the immigration center on Angel Island, a large island in the middle of San Francisco Bay that processed a million Asians through its doors. However, there were extra-special rules for Chinese.

Have you ever heard of the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882? It’s not likely taught in very many American History classes in high school, but it reflected attitudes of resentment against Chinese workers – a ubiquitous ethnic exclusion that was focused only on Chinese while unfettered immigration of any other backgrounds was unchecked.

Monday, August 24, 2015

September Theater: Ready, Set, OPEN!

Hannah Mootz and Tiffany Yvonne Cox star in Intiman Theatre's production of The Children's Hour
Photo by Hayley Young)
The theater community often goes a bit crazy in September, with a “new season” mentality, but this year it’s almost too much to bear! In fact, after a lazy Labor Day weekend, 13 (13?) productions open the next weekend!! The biggest companies and small ones and everything in between. Also, there may never have been as many world premieres in one month as September 2015. It’s a bounty of riches, folks!

The Children's Hour, Intiman (at Cornish), 9/9-27/15
This production, helmed by Sheila Daniels, will relocate this classic script about the ruination of gossip and crowd-fearmongering from the 1930s to the 1980s. This is the second production in Seattle this year. If you saw the other, this spring, it might be doubly interesting to compare.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Is it "Matilda" or is it the Sound Qualities at the 5th Avenue?

The 5th Avenue has the most peculiar sound issues. It's a huge house making bunches of money with the most subscribers in the ENTIRE AREA and yet touring shows come in there, like the newest, Matilda, and Oh God There's That Sound Problem Again.

It seems like the local sound folks have figured out - for the most part and Not Always - how to get around the bouncy, dispersing sound waves inside that building, because sometimes shows there are actually ones you can HEAR.

But it's not clear what has to happen to fix it all. What is clear is: It Needs Fixing. Please? 5th Avenue Folk? Please? Won't you please get some good sound engineers in there to examine the issue and help you all fix it so that the sound bounce doesn't keep impacting your shows? Especially the tours?

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The Great American Trailer Park Musical is one fun ride!

The trailer park trio in The Great American Trailer Park Musical (Dan Davidson)
The Great American Trailer Park Musical
(at Richard Hugo House)
Through August 29, 2015

STAGEright started out, when they began producing, including musicals every once in a while. Their recent successes with musicals seem to have buoyed them to feel like they can really do this thing, and they’re doing them more and more. Given the feeling of fun and the level of talent in The Great American Trailer Park Musical, now play through August 29, they’re correct to do so!

Written by David Nehls and Betsy Kelso, iIt explores the relationships between the tenants at the Armadillo Acres Trailer Park in Florida, particularly between Pippi, "the stripper on the run," agoraphobic Jeannie, and Jeannie's tollbooth-collector husband Norbert. It was performed in the first annual New York Music Theater Festival in 2004 and Off-Broadway in 2005. It’s apparently a kind of “cult musical.”

New to Seattle Tom Stoppard play - worth your time!

Betty Campbell and Scott Ward Abernethy in Indian Ink (Ken Holmes) 
Indian Ink
Sound Theatre Company and Pratidhwani
(at Armory Theatre)
Through August 30, 2015

The great British playwright, Tom Stoppard, can be both exhilarating and inscrutable, in turns. So, if you don’t know one of his plays, yet, you might not be quite sure what you’re getting. Sound Theatre Company and Pratidhwani are presenting Indian Ink in a Seattle area premiere. This is a lovely, accessible piece!

This is mostly a story about an unconventional woman in the 1920s and her relationship with painters. Flora Crewe (Caitlin Frances) is a poet and free spirit, though when we meet her, she is quite ill. She travels to India for her health, though it is not the best fit for health reasons.

She meets Nirad Das (Dhiraj Khanna), a painter, and becomes his model, and maybe something more, as she flouts conventions of the time. She lives only a short time longer, but long enough to provoke academics to become hooked on her writing.

A biographer, Eldon Pike (Scott Ward Abernethy), visits her now-elderly sister, Eleanor (Betty Campbell) to try to gain insight and find treasure. So, does Das’ son, Anish (Monish Gangwani). Das ends up gaining more insight than Pike, since Eleanor feels like Das is more “family.”