(Image: Courtesy Cecile Casanova)
French theater is having a kind of renaissance in Seattle. On June 7, Cécile Casanova, professor at French-American School of Puget Sound will present two short plays in French at Velocity Dance Studio (8:00pm).
It’s an opportunity to practice your French or to sit and listen to lovely sounds. The actors are non-professional and some are students of the French-American School. It’s an inexpensive evening ($5) and the plays, if you understand them, may offer a lot. Casanova talked with CHS about the two shorts, the first a ten minute piece, the second about an hour long. Continue reading
(Image: Whim W’Him)
In its fifth year of performing, innovative Seattle dance company Whim W’Him is performing its first full-length evening of works on Capitol Hill with eight performances at the Erickson Theatre. This seven member company created by ballet dancer Olivier Wevers has typically performed at the Cornish Playhouse. The Capitol Hill performances will be a rare opportunity to see the dancers away from the Seattle Center in the 150-seat Erickson. They’re also planning to place the first row of seats directly on stage for what sounds like a most immersive experience.
Gun violence in Washington state causes more preventable deaths than car accidents or smoking. That fact sets the stage for Control, a upcoming Town Hall Seattle performance about gun control put on by the Capitol Hill-centric theater company Strawberry Theatre Workshop.
Town Hall was established in 1999 as a community gathering place to explore crucial local and national issues of the day. Occasionally, the 8th and Seneca building becomes a theatrical venue — a unique confluence of art and social dialogue that will be on display May 9th-18th for Control’s six performances.
Strawshop, which moves permanently into Capitol Hill’s 12th Avenue Arts project this fall, will present the “living newspaper” play featuring dozens of sources complied by artistic director Greg Carter.
MJ Sieber, a veteran Seattle actor performing in the show, said Control mixes scripted story telling with improv.
“There are dramatic events and stories and points of view that we don’t really need to do anything more than organize how they are said because they speak for themselves,” he said. “But when it came to important statistics, like how many people die from accidental discharge from guns or suicides from guns each year, that was when we would do improvisation to see how we could make these dramatic, rather than just reading off a bunch of numbers.”
The play will be presented news-style, with reporters, editors and writers. The history of gun control laws will be examined along with an investigation into the current national debate that pits safety against freedom from unreasonable restraint.
Hugo House regulars Waller Pruzan and Fetzer (Image courtesy Macha Monkey)
A long, long time ago, Juliet Waller Pruzan was a dancer and choreographer and had a cool idea she wanted to make into a dance/theater piece. She had a vision about people’s secrets flying out of them and getting caught in the branches of a particular tree. She knew that Bret Fetzer wrote original fairytales and performed them. She had seen him perform at On the Boards and decided maybe he would be the guy who could help her create a performance.
There was magic in that request, apparently, because not only did they create a ten minute piece and successfully apply to On the Boards Northwest New Works festival (and entitle it The Gossip Tree), but they went on to create multiple more plays.
Their latest creation actually is a revision of their first ten minute play, now entitled Lollyville and produced by Macha Monkey, a ”fearless, funny, female” theater company on stage May 2-24 (8pm) at Richard Hugo House.
“There are all these secrets in town and troubled relationships and dysfunctions under the surface and he draws those out and makes them worse,” Fetzer said about the Lollyville storyline. “But in making them worse and bringing them to light, they work out for the better.”
Chaos Theory opens Friday at the Annex
Maybe Courtney Meaker writes plays about the end of the world because she grew up in small-town Tennessee and had to hang out with a lot of people who didn’t hate homosexual people, they just hated homosexuality. In a conversation with CHS, Meaker says that she majored in creative writing and theater, but had never written a play before coming to Seattle. Continue reading
The subtitle of Leonard D. Goodisman’s new play Checkoff in the Sun, now being staged at Capitol Hill’s Eclectic Theater, is “a comedy about dying.” There’s a very obvious pun in the title and the flavor of the famous playwright Chekhov permeating the play.
“The pun just sort of popped out when (my character) Victoria asks, ‘Why did you come here, just to check me off a list?’” Goodisman said. Continue reading
Detzer (Image: WET)
The next play up at Capitol Hill’s Washington Ensemble Theatre is The Edge of Our Bodies by Adam Rapp. It will perform from March 28 to April 14, a relatively short run, but as usual with WET, there are Monday evening performances you can attend.
This play is a one-character show and focuses on a 16-year-old girl, Bernadette, as she boards a train to New York City to see her boyfriend. Samie Detzer is the performer and CHS spoke to her about her journey to becoming Bernadette.
“The narration of this incredibly smart and honest sixteen year old is very intriguing to me,” Detzer said. “We don’t often give young women the chance to tell their story with such clarity. There’s also something about the idea of one performer in a space telling a story that is very exciting to me.” Continue reading
(Image: Buckaroos USA)
It’s time for the Moisture Festival, Seattle’s annual cabaret of comedy, dance and burlesque that spread its wings to include Capitol Hill in 2012 and has been coming back ever since. Since 2004, the Festival has presented a month of events around town in the early spring. This year, the venues include the Festival’s “home” site of Hale’s Palladium, a performance at Teatro Zinzanni, and a solid block of performances at the Broadway Performance Hall, March 28-April 13. This year, there’s a new show in town on the Hill and some big screen action you might want to check out.
“I’m a straight football player who started dancing later in life,” Jonathan Betchtel tells CHS about Buckaroos USA, a new addition to the Moisture lineup. “I started dancing late in high school and went to Cornish for modern and ballet training. I’m kind of obsessed with masculinity on stage and how to make it comedic, and it can be nude and fun and outrageous at the same time.” Continue reading
Marquicia Domingue, left, and Kia Pierce (Image: Shane Regan)
February brings a new play to Annex Theatre, co-produced by Brownbox Theatre, Black Like Us by Rachel Atkins. Annex says that while its scheduling during Black History Month is intentional, it is “more than race… of the sweet, complex, and exasperating relationships that exist between sisters…The history of the Central District and the Civil rights movement in this city are woven into the narrative.”
11th and Pike’s Annex is no stranger to new plays, many of its presentations deliberately chosen from local playwriting submissions in a hotly contested annual company debate. Nor is Rachel Atkins a stranger to playwriting, with a long history as a writer and teacher and 20 years as a script writer for Living Voices, historically-based multimedia one-person theatrical events.
Rachel reports that as many as 3 million people have seen her work presented around the country, but most people in Seattle aren’t even aware of the (local) company. Living Voices focuses on social justice issues of many sorts: civil rights, women’s suffrage, Japanese American internment, the Holocaust (Anne Frank), immigration. All their scripts are written by Atkins and then integrated with video or archive photos, and the actor interacts with voices from the past.
“This play is about families and sisters,” Atkins said. “I wrote the play so it could be double-cast but (director) Jose Amador decided we would keep individual roles for four African American women instead of two, so there would be a maximum opportunity for more actors of color, since there are so few on stage, often.”