Thursday, March 17, 2022

Reading Is Fundamental in The Book Club Play

Maya Burton, Lauren Paris, Arlando Smith in The Book Club Play (courtesy Village Theatre)
The Book Club Play
Village Theatre
Issaquah: Through April 3, 2022
Everett: April 8 – May 1, 2022
Book clubs probably comes in all shapes, sizes, and tastes. But the stereotype is that snooty people get together to read heavy classics of hundreds of pages. Karen Zacarias, a nationally known and produced playwright, chooses to skewer just such an elitist book club to explore the idea of classic versus popular culture.
The Book Club Play, now at Village Theatre, pinpricks a lot of very current cultural tropes and pitfalls, as many of her plays do. She likes to play with racial and class stereotyping with an eye to bring it up in a way that allows us to laugh a little while we explore our internal responses. Here, she brings us Ana’s book club (Marquicia Dominguez) and shows us what happens when it’s suddenly forced to change.

Saturday, March 05, 2022

Enchanting New "Red Riding Hood" Is a Hit With the Kids!

Claudine Mboligikpelani Nako and Conner Nedersen in Red Riding Hood (Angela Sterling)

Red Riding Hood
World Premiere
Seattle Children’s Theatre
Through March 6, 2022
Playwright Allison Gregory and director Steven Dietz make a great team. Long-time marital partners, they also have a lot of experience in the realm of children’s theater. And here is the world premiere of Gregory’s new play, Red Riding Hood, they have teamed to produce a winning production.
They’ve mind-melded with two of Seattle’s best performers, Claudine Mboligikpelani Nako and Conner Neddersen for a two-person, enchanting, silly re-enactment of the famous fairytale. Neddersen plays a theater-geek named Wolfgang who sees an empty theater and decides he’s going to treat the audience to a one-person show about this tale. Suddenly, he’s interrupted by a deliveryperson who is intrigued by his idea and wants to join the fun.

Look what March is blowing onto Seattle stages!

The Cake, As If Theatre, 3/3-3/20

Here in this list, you will find what, in March 2019, was considered a “normal” month of show openings! Are we back to “normal”? While no one can quite say, there is a blessed lot of theater to see in person in March 2022! (ALSO!!! Covid-19 protocols are changing in March of 2022 in Washington State. Masking and providing proof of vaccination requirements are being dropped by the state during March. But, masking is still mandated in some situations like in healthcare facilities and public transit as well as at the discretion of business and organization owners. Theater companies, venues and producers can still require/request you wear a mask/provide vaccination proof. If in doubt, we suggest checking with individual theaters/producers about their requirements and/or bring your mask/proof of vaccination just in case it’s required!)
The Book Club Play, Village Theatre, 3/2/22-5/1/22
Issaquah 3/2/22-4/3/22 | Everett 4/8/22-5/1/22
The Book Club Play follows a group of people whose book club is the subject of a famous documentary filmmaker. The members of the club differ in perspective, race, sexual orientation, and viewpoint on the world so completely, that their colliding assumptions also create a ripe environment for the comedy. With novels that audience members of all ages will recognize, this is a comedy that everyone can love, and a booklover will adore.
A Thousand Ways (Part Three), On the Boards, 3/3-12/22
Obie Award-winning 600 Highwaymen present A Thousand Ways (Part Three): An Assembly, a timely and intimate return to togetherness. 16 strangers construct a unique and intimate theatrical event, using a stack of instructive notecards. The audience will collectively recount a story of audacity in the face of uncertainty. This elucidating experience invites participants to consider one another—individually and collectively—and the significance of coming together after so much time apart. A Thousand Ways (Part Three): An Assembly is the final experience of the triptych of encounters between strangers, following Part One: A Phone Call and Part Two: An Encounter. Each installment brings people together in the creation of a moving live experience. The work explores the line between strangeness and kinship, distance and proximity, and how the most intimate assembly can become profoundly radical.

Friday, February 25, 2022

Run to Taproot to “See How They Run”

"Best clowns" Sophia Franzella and Shanna Allman in See How They Run (Robert Wade)

See How They Run
Taproot Theatre
Through March 5, 2022
They’re back, bitches!!! You have no idea how good it feels to be able to sit back and relax to enjoy good theater again, especially when it’s in the hands of Karen Lund and her band of merry clowns! There are few people who can consistently pull off the form of farce on stage, and Karen Lund is one of those few.
Is it broad? Is it over the top? Is it groan-worthy? Is it door-slammiest? Is it predictably silly? Sure! And so it’s truly just to have fun! Lund has assembled, for the first farce post-covid, a band of some of the merriest in town! While everyone in this cast is on their game, Shanna Allman and Sophia Franzella are simply point-perfect in their timing, their grimaces, their pratfalling (Allman) and their conceit (Franzella).

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Feminism Makes Waves - Review of 'The Fifth Wave' at Macha Theatre Works

Hugo Monday and Mari Nelson in The Fifth Wave (Joe Iano)

The Fifth Wave
Macha Theatre Works
At West of Lenin
Through February 27, 2022
Actors-turned-playwriting team, Lisa Every and Jenn Ruzumna, are tackling a complex subject with their new play, The Fifth Wave. You won’t find an actual “ending” in this piece because we are all in the difficult process of figuring out our changing society and how we’re going to navigate to a better place.
The title is important, though there are differing opinions about what the fifth wave – of feminism – should actually represent. Wave 1 was voting and the suffragettes, the ability of women to be elected to political office. Wave 2 was economic power for women, the right to have their own credit, work outside the home – and be paid equally for it, be unmarried if they wished, and a crucial right to manage their own bodily reproduction. Wave 3 was an embrace of diversity, LGBTQ rights, non-binary lifestyles. Wave 4 was (is?) combating sexual assault and harassment, and working against misogyny. Many people think we are still in the fourth wave. Those who postulate we are in or are in need of a fifth wave suggest that it flips the script to focus on and empower the bottom portion of the economic scale, 70% of which is made up of women.
The subject of this play is sexual assault and harassment. It’s a big topic. We’ve seen the breakout of the “Me, Too” movement about rape. There is definite change in the air and we’ve seen powerful people brought down due to accusation, even when there is no trial and the complaint is that accusations mean there is no “due process.”

Wednesday, February 02, 2022

Seattle Theaters Forge Ahead with Openings

"The Fifth Wave" at Macha Theatre Works

Despite the brisk wintery air of February and attendant struggles with in-person entertainments, Seattle theater companies continue to provide and protect as much as they can. Some are postponing, but others are forging ahead. We’ve got world premieres and a national tour to see. Get your ids and your shot records ready, mask up and go!

Dragon Lady/Dragon Mama, Café Nordo (in repertory), 2/1/22-3/6/22
Sara Porkalob, solo performer extraordinaire, began a planned trilogy of memoir/biography plays with Dragon Lady: It is the year of the Water Dragon and the eve of Grandma Maria’s 60th birthday. By the light of the karaoke machine, fueled by pork dumplings and Diet Pepsi, she shares a dark secret from her Filipino gangster past with one lucky grandchild. Traversing 50 years of faulty family memories, this timely new musical is about what it means to come to America.

Her second play, Dragon Mama, continues down the generation from grandmother to mother.

Maria Porkalob, Jr., yearns for a gayer, more POC-filled life than Bremerton, WA, can offer. When presented with an opportunity to make a quick fortune, Maria must make an important decision: leave her debt-ridden mother, four young siblings, and newborn daughter Sara for the wild unknown of Alaska, or stay close to home, family, and intergenerational trauma. Traversing 25 years filled with queer love in a barren land, Dragon Mama features ghosts, Filipino gangsters, and a dope ‘80s and ‘90s soundtrack.
These play in repertory, and can be seen without Nordo’s traditional “meal and show” and are offered on the eve of Porkalob’s departure (finally, after a covid-delay of many months) to perform in a Broadway show.
Photograph 51, UW School of Drama, 2/2/22-2/6/22
London, 1953. Scientists are on the verge of discovering what they call the secret of life: the DNA double helix. Providing the key is driven young physicist Rosalind Franklin. But if the double helix was the breakthrough of the 20th century, then what kept Franklin out of the history books? A play about ambition, isolation, and the race for greatness.
Red Riding Hood, Seattle Children’s Theatre, 2/1/22-3/6/22 (world premiere)
Fairytale Farce! Wolfgang (Conner Neddersen), the greatest actor in the world, is preparing for the performance of his lifetime in the “true story” of Red Riding Hood when a Delivery Driver (Claudine Mboligikpelani Nako) carrying a mysterious package interrupts his rehearsal. She boldly calls into question Wolfgang’s story, adamant that he should only tell the classic tale. As their story flourishes, a madcap romp through the popular fairy tale ensues. This lively adaptation reminds us that when something is important, bravery knows no bounds.