From Movie to Stage: The Transformation of Daniel Hillard to Mrs. Doubtfire

Review of Mrs. Doubtfire at 5th Avenue Theatre.

Written by TeenTix Newsroom Writer Jaiden Borowski and edited by Teen Editor Joshua Fernandes.

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There is a certain gleeful apprehension that is felt in anticipation for remakes, particularly as the public waits to find out which type of remake it will be. Nowadays remakes either prompt the audience to angrily revel in its soulless attempt at recapturing nostalgia, or surpass expectations as they redefine what the story has become, improving and modernizing the beloved tale. From the very first words, pizza roll, sung to the tune of "Figaro Figaro Figaro!" onwards, Mrs. Doubtfire is revealed to be the latter. Every scene has heart, and through each character a new aspect of the story is revealed, enhanced through powerfully humorous song.

Although my memories of the movie version are shrouded by the fog of the past, I found myself attempting to compare the musical with the movie at every point. The story of Daniel Hilliard, a divorced father trying to see his children, dressing up as an elderly nanny and assuming the role of “Mrs. Doubtfire” is, understatedly, very unique. Putting a new spin on top of that is an interesting challenge, and I was surprisingly pleased with the relevancy of each new joke. However, my mother, who had seen the movie more recently and with a better memory, recognized many of the most charming lines as direct or near-direct quotes. As is the case with every remake, the creators of this musical had to draw the line between exact copy and embellished celebration of what the original is. With Mrs. Doubtfire, it was important to leave such iconic lines untouched in order to ground it in some semblance of the original nostalgia. Due to the musical additions and flashy stage performance, the show could have lost its deep connection with the movie if it hadn’t stayed true to its most iconic moments. Additionally, I heard many other audience members talking about how novel and interesting these copied lines seemed, mirroring my own sentiments and apparently not noticing or not caring about the duplications. Whether it was to familiarize a seasoned audience member with the source material or stay true to the original for fresh eyes, the quotes and scenes that paralleled the movie were vital.Rob McClure stars as Daniel Hillard in Mrs. Doubtfire at The 5th Avenue Theatre. Photo by Tracy Martin.

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Remake, Remix, Rip-Off: The Explosion of Turkish Copycat Cinema

Review of Remake, Remix, Rip-Off at SIFF

Written by TeenTix Newsroom Writer Rose Shipley and edited by Teen Editor Joshua Fernandes.

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Showing as part of the Seattle Turkish International Film Festival, Remake, Remix, Rip-Off, directed by Cem Kaya, dives into the Turkish filmmaking world of the 60s and 70s. Focuses the haphazard way the industry was run, in order to keep up with the high paced demand of the Turkish viewing audiences.

Interview clips are quickly intercut between archival footage from low budget, fairly cheesy Turkish films with adept comedic timing. In the famous Turkish movie theater Emek, over 10,000 people would attend screenings of these style of movies in one day. With audiences constantly demanding more movies, and the extremely limited budgets of many of these films, the Turkish film industry was characterized by necessary creativity. Writers would create screenplays by taking the ending from one story and pasting it onto the beginning of another, sometimes even copying the plots of famous American movies. Like Rampage, a Rambo rip-off. At one point, the documentary follows a Turkish film maker as he shows off his collection of iconic American movie soundtracks on vinyl, and describes how these soundtracks were used to score all kinds of Turkish films. Like how the Jaws 2 soundtrack was for scary movies. This plagiarism thrived because Turkey’s laws on copyright were far looser than international copyright law. Throughout the movie we see directors laugh about how they would take stories directly from American movies and boast how they were able to work on over thousands of films in their career. In Hollywood it would be physically impossible to work on that many movies, but it could be achieved through the unique environment of Turkey’s film industry, where speed in creating productions was valued over originality.

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A Very Likely Truth

Review of Unlikely at Northwest Film Forum.

Written by TeenTix Newsroom Writer Alison Smith and edited by Teen Editor Joshua Fernandes.

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Unlikely starts with an incident that made headlines across the country, especially captivating critics of higher education: the Varsity Blues scandal. At least 51 wealthy individuals, including some of America's most beloved celebrities, were caught committing fraud to get their kids into prestigious colleges. Former Full House star Lori Loughlin, for example, passed off her daughters as elite rowers, although I doubt either of them even knew what “coxswain” meant.

Unlikely tells us the enormous amount of media attention devoted to that scandal and other, more general controversies surrounding elite colleges distract us from a graver problem that affects far more people: America’s dismal college drop-out rate. The percentage of students who graduate in six years is less than 60 percent. Many of these students end up saddled with burdensome debt, and since they didn’t get a diploma, their time at (often for-profit) colleges is worthless in the eyes of the job market. As the movie puts it, those with “some college, no degree” are the most likely to question higher education’s value.

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Fresh St(ART)

Teen Editorial Staff January 2020 Editorial

Written by Teen Editor Joshua Fernandes!

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2019 was the year of death. We waved goodbye to the beloved characters of film franchises like Star Wars and Marvel, mourned the loss of real life heroes, and said farewell to the 2010s. But now is the time to be reborn with iron clad resolutions for the new year, and what better resolution than to seek out the freshest art of the decade?

At Seattle Art Museum there's Into Existence, an exhibit all about giving new life to the items America discards and using them to express the stories America tells. Witness security gates, afro wigs, and car parts weave together and form into the ideas and dreams of artist Aaron Fowler in the shape of cultural icons and personal figures. If you're left craving a different mix of history and creativity, check out author Isabel Allende and dive into her book A Long Petal of the Sea at Town Hall Seattle. Using the story of two refugees fleeing a fascist Spain in the 1930s to explore motifs of oppression, exile, and hope, this event is sure to please any fans of historical fiction. If you're still looking for that perfect mixture of education and entertainment, then Jaha Koo: Cuckoo at On the Boards might be what you're looking for. It analyses the rocky history of Korea over the past 20 years and the isolationism that currently grips the population through the commentary of a South Korean artist and his three rice cookers.

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Festive Mishaps at Renton Civic Theatre

Review of Nuncrackers at Renton Civic Theatre.

Written by TeenTix Newsroom Writer Serafina Miller and edited by Teen Editor Kendall Kieras.

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Nuncrackers is the latest in a long line of satirical holiday musicals put on by the cozy Renton Civic Theatre. With all of the big budget productions at TeenTix Partners, small theatre companies like Renton Civic Theatre can often get lost in the shuffle. Nuncrackers is a bright, shining reminder of the warmth community theatre can bring to the holiday season.

Nuncrackers follows the taping of the Mt. Saint Helens Convent’s first cable TV holiday special, drawing its patrons into strenuous last minute solutions to their problems of injured performers and unfortunate, on-air innuendos. The audience is thrown into the shenanigans of the convent's sisters as the actors draw the “live viewer audience” into the shenanigans with ‘secret’ Santas and sing-alongs. The show bursts with comedy and life as the sisters perform original Christmas carols like "Twelve Days Prior to Christmas" and "Christmas Time is Nunsense Time" and perform their new and improved version of the classic Nutcracker.

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The Dina Martina Christmas Show is a Hilarious, Cynical Delight

Review of The Dina Martina Christmas Show at ACT Theatre.

Written by TeenTix Newsroom Writer Valentine Wulf and edited by Teen Editor Lily Williamson.

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Whether you’re a grinch like me or the most obnoxiously festive person on earth, there’s no way you won’t laugh out loud at Dina Martina’s delightfully irreverent Christmas show at ACTLab.

From the cheery set decor alone, you’d think you were in a sickeningly wholesome holiday tale, that is until drag queen Dina Martina herself stumbles onstage. In a particularly itchy-looking red sweater and Santa hat, she begins cheerily singing her cover of “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” complete with holiday greetings and "fun AA meetings."

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Beyond Bollywood: Cultural Insight Within the PNW

Review of Beyond Bollywood: Indian Americans Shape the Nation at MOHAI.

Written by TeenTix Newsroom Writer Maia Demar and edited by Teen Editor Anya Shukla.

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MOHAI’s Beyond Bollywood: Indian Americans Shape the Nation is an eye-opening peek at how generations of Indian-Americans have influenced the United States—the Pacific Northwest in particular—throughout history. The exhibit was curated by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center in Washington, DC and brought to Seattle thanks to Dr. Amy Bhatt, co-author of Roots and Reflections: South Asians in the Pacific Northwest. Dr. Bhatt worked on localizing the exhibition and finding artifacts that are unique to the Pacific Northwest.

The exhibition also includes pieces of Indian American history that have generously been lent to MOHAI, including a photograph of the first Hindu wedding documented in Seattle and a box containing code for Microsoft Windows ‘95, written by Indian American Rao Remala. These pieces give even more insight into just how much Indian Americans have impacted the United States. People participate in a Holi celebration at Redmond's Marymoor Park in 2013. Also called the Festival of Color, this ancient Hindu festival celebrates spring. Photo courtesy of CC Vedic Cultural Center and Byron Dazey of Creative Flashes Photography.

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A Comic, Musician, and Composer Walked into a Village with a Story to Tell

Review of Susan at On the Boards

Written by TeenTix Newsroom Writer Leuel Bekele and edited by Teen Editor Tova Gaster.

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Shortly after doing my first comedy set at UW RETROs open mic I was fortunate enough to see a show that changed my conceptions of stand up comedy as a genre: Susan at On the Boards. The show was headed by stand-up comedian, trumpet-player, and composer Ahamefule (pronounced aha-may-foo-lay) J. Oluo (o-lu-o). He named the show after his mother. This show was deeply heartfelt and personal. In it Oluo recounts the complex relationship he had with his parents, how his mother dealt with the absence of his father, and how it shaped him as an adult. It was a great mix of music, storytelling, and stand up comedy. His goal with this show was to find a common understanding with the audience, because we all go through hardship in life. In an interview, Oluo said, “you make it more about [the audience] by making it more about you … because at the end of the day people are the same.”

The music was a vibrant composition of instrumental jazz and vocal performances. On stage alongside Oluo were Jerome Smith on the trombone and sousaphone, Jason Cressey also on the trombone, Skerik on the saxophone, Marina Christopher on the bass, D’Vonne Lewis on the drums, Marina Albero on the keyboard, and two vocalists: Okanamode, and Tiffany Wilson. While Oluo would take most of the stage time with his captivating storytelling, as he changed topics the music helped set the mood as the show went on. Susan at On the Boards. Photo by Haley Freedlund.

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Boundless Imagination

Review of Robert Williams: The Father of Exponential Imagination at the Bellevue Arts Museum.

Written by TeenTix Newsroom Writer Nour Gajial and edited by Teen Editor Kendall Kieras.

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Robert Williams has created it all! From a multi-colored monster jumping out of a canvas to a monkey serving pie from a gravestone, the The Father of Exponential Imagination is sure to bring audiences on a thrilling and somewhat unpredictable journey as the viewers unlock the messages within his paintings.

Williams is an unconventional artist. He grew up in an unstable household and lived through a rocky childhood wrought with familial issues. He was very curious about technology, especially cars, and is well known for his work with the Hot Rod, a custom car shop in California. Robert attended art school and worked as a comic designer, but his work did not satisfy him. He couldn’t fully express himself through the common art style of the time, so he created his own.

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The True Meaning of Christmas

Review of Christmastown: A Holiday Noir at the Seattle Public Theater.

Written by TeenTix Newsroom Writer Vanessa Chen and edited by Teen Editor Olivia Sun.

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Warning, spoilers ahead.

Christmas—a time for drinking hot chocolate, hanging lights, giving gifts, and making snow angels—has long been celebrated by many American households. People celebrate Christmas not only for its religious context, but also as a cultural holiday. Growing up, children are taught that Christmas is about giving to others because only the good boys and girls—those who spread kindness—will be visited by Santa Claus every year. But, they aren’t taught who Santa Claus really is.

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Childhood, Revisited

Review of Corduroy at the Seattle Children's Theatre.

Written by TeenTix Newsroom Writer Triona Suiter and edited by Teen Editor Kendall Kieras.

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This holiday season, Seattle Children’s Theatre brings much-loved picture book Corduroy to life under the enthusiastic direction of Kathryn Van Meter. Expanding on the original story by Don Freeman, Barry Kornhauser’s warmhearted adaptation will delight younger attendees and coax forth the child within older ones.

The play begins on an empty stage glowing a rich blue. Combining the talents of scenic designer Tony Bend and lighting designer L.B. Morse, faint concentric circles painted on the walls and floor give the stage the appearance of a whimsical tunnel, drawing the eyes of audience towards its softly glowing orange center. First to enter are two clowns, played by teen actors, who perform an animated routine of physical comedy. The clowns then appear to use the force of their minds to drag on set pieces, slowly assembling a department store. Right from the start, the goofy and whimsical sound effects coupled with the pair’s exaggerated body movements give the show a playful and cartoonish feel.

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Finding Your Beauty

Review of Where Beauty Lies at the Wing Luke Museum.

Written by TeenTix Newsroom Writer Alyssa Williams and edited by Teen Editor Anya Shukla.

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The Wing Luke Museum’s Where Beauty Lies is a wonderful exhibit that showcases the Asian-American perspective of beauty through various mediums of artwork, such as artifacts, videos, photographs, and posters. The multitude of mediums kept the exhibit engaging: it interested me to see all the different interpretations of beauty. I loved looking at the fashionable articles of clothing from different cultures, videos of hair and makeup, and photographs of stunning models. One of my favorite pieces, two photographs of a woman with short black hair throwing her head back in laughter, represents how happiness is valuable and beautiful. Her joy makes the woman look approachable and appealing—two qualities that most people strive to achieve. Beauty is a mental state rather than a physical one.

The exhibit shows how the beauty standards that the media sets up are largely unachievable and unrealistic, especially for people of color. By showing stories about Asian-Americans accepting themselves and their culture, the exhibit inspires viewers to break free of these standards and accept themselves. One Indian woman speaks about how she decided to wear traditional Indian clothing for her wedding, describing how the clothing made her feel comfortable and empowered. She learned to never forget her identity nor try to hide it. Similarly, one room has movie posters with culturally diverse casts hanging from the ceiling. By featuring these movies, the exhibit sends a positive message about the trajectory of widening beauty standards and cultural acceptance—two things that have been historically been left out of Hollywood. One of the big influencers of cultural trends is movies, so seeing films representational of the Asian-American community inspired me to not feel limited by my race.

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In Plain Sight: Exhibiting Untold Stories

Review of In Plain Sight at Henry Art Gallery.

Written by TeenTix Newsroom Writer Taylar Christianson and edited by Teen Editor Tova Gaster.

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If you visit the Henry Art Gallery during the next five months, the first thing you’ll see as you walk towards the galleries is a large, color-changing neon sign stating “Education Should Be Free.” This bright and vibrant piece by Andrea Bowers sets the tone for the expansive and exciting exhibition ahead. In Plain Sight showcases 14 artists from around the world in a single exhibit, which occupies the whole museum but won’t take your entire day to explore (unless you want it to!).

The title of the exhibition is taken from the phrase “hidden in plain sight”—something that exists just under the surface but is invisible to the eye. In Plain Sight removes the “hidden” element of the phrase and aims instead to bring forward narratives, communities, and histories that are often invisible in mainstream American culture. The artists address these stories and identities in their art, and work to “tell previously unknown stories, to speak for voices that have been undervalued or deliberately silenced, to reveal aspects of our public narratives that have been obfuscated, and to reimagine histories for the future” (The Henry website).

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Getting Festive

Teen Editorial Staff December 2019 Editorial

Written by Teen Editors Lily Williamson and Tova Gaster!

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Sorry Boomers: in Seattle at least, you’ve pretty much lost the “War on Christmas.” While in the days of yore, our monthly theme for December might have been limited to Christmas, we at TeenTix respect cultural and religious diversity—so our reviews this month will simply be getting Festive (whatever that means to you).

MOHAI’s new exhibit, Beyond Bollywood: Indian Americans Shape the Nation, displays the rich history of the Indian American community in the PNW and throughout the country. Through video, audio, and photographs, learn about the underrepresented history of one of America’s largest immigrant groups.

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The Importance of Tradition for a New Generation

Review of Sugar Skull: A Día de Los Muertos Musical Adventure at Tacoma Arts Live.

Written by TeenTix Newsroom Writer Mila Borowski and edited by Teen Editor Lily Williamson.

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The first hint of the show were the silhouettes of the band members entering the back corner of the stage, nimbly tucking themselves into the arrangement of musical instruments already set up. The house lights dimmed and the stage lights faded on, lighting up the fanciful skeleton makeup that adorned the faces of the band and every cast member. Excitement already began to bubble up amidst the audience members, from elementary school kids to older adults. All have gathered to celebrate the Day of the Dead through the show Sugar Skull! A Día de los Muertos Musical Adventure at Tacoma Arts Live; a story described by Peter Bogdanos, the show’s producer, as “perfectly fitting for a varied audience.”

The play began by introducing us to Sugar Skull, a skeleton made of sugar with a captivating and energetic personality who watched along with the rest of us as the second protagonist, Vita Flores, wandered on stage, very much caught up in the music playing from her headphones. She halfheartedly rummaged with an odd photo or two upon the ofrenda (an altar set up for deceased relatives) before muttering about the absurdity of a display for the dead. This triggered a conflict between the apathetic teen and Sugar Skull, who, in his opening remarks, expressed admiration for the tradition.

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Hidden In Plain Sight: Magnifying What Is Already There

Review of Hidden in Plain Sight by Maria Phillips at Bellevue Arts Museum.

Written by TeenTix Newsroom Writer Sumeya Block and edited by Teen Editor Olivia Sun.

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Maria Phillips’ exhibit Hidden In Plain Sight at the Bellevue Arts Museum is not only a wake up call to the harm of plastic consumption in Seattle and the impact it has on our oceans, but a reminder to fight our society’s complacency. What started as a passion project for Phillips’ family, Hidden In Plain Sight grew into a series of sculptures that evoke a prudent message, if not a warning, for those who listen: human trash is taking over our planet. After all, the sheer amount of plastic tins, toothbrushes, rags, and food cartons collected by Phillips within a single year has the capacity to fill the large exhibit rooms.

There are many famous artists who have reused items to allude to an issue in their community, but Phillips has a distinct style across all her pieces. Let’s call it the looking glass effect. Phillips draws the viewer's eye to every aspect of trash before them. From the Calvin Klein label on a half open box, which once held clothes, to the remaining stains of food on an old food carton, I notice that Phillips does not choose to sanitize these reused items: rather, she calls attention to them. By commanding awareness to the ugly brown stain on a crumpled bag of chips and the rolled up lint on an old rag, Phillips places the blame on us, the viewers, and the corporations who mass produce the plastic products we love so much. Technosphere by Maria Phillips. Photo courtesy of Bellevue Arts Museum.

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Don't Close Your Eyes

Review of the "Powerful Grit" screening at NFFTY.

Written by TeenTix Newsroom Writer Ava Rudensey and edited by Teen Editor Olivia Sun.

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I walked into the theater ever so slightly confused. After skimming through the NFFTY (National Film Festival for Talented Youth) catalog of hundreds of films, I wondered: what was tonight’s screening, “Powerful Grit,” actually going to be about? As the lights dimmed, I prepared to “buckle [my] eyebelts” as the show description advised. Whatever that meant. However, after watching the screening, I can now define the phrase with confidence: It’s the feeling of peeking out from underneath a blanket when the monster in a horror movie finally emerges; it’s the anxiety one gets when a roller coaster delays right before it plummets; and it’s that combination of excitement and dread that I imagine occurs during the plane ride up to go skydiving.

The screening began with Baby by Vincent D’Alessandro, Kirsten Pasewaldt, and Finley King. It is the story of a single mother, her expectations, and eventual revolt alongside her young, tiara-crowned daughter Baby. Though it has a relatively simple story-line compared to subsequent films in the screening, what stands out is the film’s immersive first-person shots—when Baby runs, the camera follows. When she falls, we fall too. This left a lingering sense of intimacy before being thrown headfirst into the vulnerable and melancholic world of You’re Still Here by Katayoun Parmar.

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Exploring Queer Alienation with a Literal Alien

Review of A Brief Story from the Green Planet at Three Dollar Bill's Seattle Queer Film Festival.

Written by TeenTix Newsroom Writer Kai Craig and edited by Teen Editor Tova Gaster.

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A Brief Story from the Green Planet is a beautiful— and jarring— film. It follows three close friends on their journey through the Argentinian countryside to return an alien back to its place of origin. The movie is full of lovely, sweeping shots that are full of fondness for the location and the characters and is generally a thought-provoking and well-put-together piece.

The film follows Tania (Romina Escobar), a young transgender woman mourning the death of her grandmother. Tania calls upon her two friends to travel to her grandmother’s home with her. There they discover that, prior to her death, Tania’s grandmother was housing and caring for a small blue extraterrestrial. The creature is roughly three feet tall, with enormous, bulbous eyes and a slight frame, a standard cinematic alien. The group takes it upon themselves to return to the creature to whence it came. Through various encounters with ex-bullies and lovers, a hospital scare, and even an odd, metaphorical mob, the trio confronts their fears and past traumas while simultaneously dragging an impossibly large suitcase containing the alien through the countryside of Argentina. Despite these challenges, the three are able to successfully find their way. Film still from A Brief Story from the Green Planet

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Bloody Relevant

Review of Dracula at ACT.

Written by TeenTix Newsroom Writer Eleanor Cenname and edited by Teen Editor Joshua Fernandes.

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“We have, all of us, a secret life.” Thunderous and gory and ominous and utterly beautiful and all at once shrouded in darkness and mystery, Dracula explored what the characters did not know about their society, each other, and themselves.

Steeped in blood, smoke, and innuendo, ACT Theatre’s production of Dracula by Steven Dietz twists the quintessential horror classic into something altogether new. In ACT’s modernized iteration of the classic, the story follows Mina, a young woman in love and infatuated with Jonathan Harker, who writes to her from his travels in Transylvania, through her plight to combat the malevolent Dracula as he leaves death and destruction in his wake. Brandon O'Neill as Count Dracula at ACT. Photo by Chris Bennion.

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Under the Surface

Teen Editorial Staff November 2019 Editorial

Written by Teen Editors Lily Williamson and Tova Gaster!

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As we transition into winter, the streets of Seattle may look grey and uninviting. It’s tempting to stay at home binge-watching shows you know you like. But look again: there’s a world of thought-provoking and entertaining art under the surface of Seattle’s November gloom, and this month, we want to highlight the events you might pass over at first glance.

Bellevue Arts Museum’s exhibition Hidden In Plain Sight explores how old materials can be made new through art. Similarly, a new exhibition at the Henry Art Gallery with the almost-identical title In Plain Sight, relates to this theme as well. Seeking to explore narratives of racial marginalization, class, and ethnicity repressed and overlooked due to systems of oppression, the Henry showcases visual art and photography to question dominant American cultural narratives.

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