Keeping Cultured During Quarantine

Find out how our Teen Editorial Staff is staying artistically engaged while socially distant.

The Beatles

Just because COVID-19 cancelled many arts events, that doesn’t mean art stops! We here on the Teen Editorial Staff have been spending our quarantine keeping cultured with the plethora of great art we now have the pleasure of catching up on. From music, crafts, TV, movies, books, scrapbooks, knitting, and cosplaying, we all have our own way of taking advantage of this time. So if you’ve been sitting at home longing for the outdoors like the Disney prince/princess you are, read on for our recommendations on how to beat the collective cabin fever! OLIVIA:

I’ve been feeling extra nostalgic lately, so a lot of my time has been spent reminiscing about the good ol’ days (that is, before the plague hit). After all, I’m a senior in high school, and it won’t be long before my childhood ends, and the next chapter officially begins. So, I’ve spent a lot of my time at home reliving memories through various arts and crafts.

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Jitney: How Small Victories Against Oppression Bring Large Change

Review of August Wilson's Jitney at Seattle Rep
Written by TeenTix Newsroom Writer Jaiden Borowski and edited by Teen Editor Anya Shukla

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Warning: Spoilers ahead!

By creating a full world of its own from simple interactions, August Wilson’s Jitney artfully depicts the everyday interactions between employees of a jitney business during the 1970s. (To provide some context, jitney businesses offered unlicensed taxis for the black community when typical services would not due to racial discrimination.) Jitney displays the everyday hustle and bustle of working-class Americans, allowing the audience to create relationships with and appreciate the details and flaws of each of its characters.

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1984: Another Big Brother

Review of 1984 at 18th & Union Review.
Written by Teen Editor Josh Fernandes and edited by Press Corps Teaching Artist Omar Willey.

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1984 is the kind of book I definitely should’ve read, but I think one of the play’s strengths is how seamlessly the material is adapted for the stage. After reading Brave New World and The Handmaid’s Tale, I sort of dismissed 1984. Both of those dystopias have a unique form of control over their citizens: Brave New World controls through pleasure in order to eliminate conflict and for the prosperity of its citizens, and The Handmaid’s Tale controls through language in order to save the declining birth rates of the white race. 1984 controls through fear simply for the sake of the Inner Party’s personal whims, which I always assumed to be sort of basic. Sure, 1984’s influence can be felt in all kinds of media, but I never thought to read the original. However, 18th & Union's adaptation certainly proves the merit of the original work, and I have no shame in saying that this is how I first experienced it.

The play is set in a dystopian future and follows Winston Smith, a “records editor” who seeks to escape and rebel against the ever looming and controlling presence of Big Brother alongside his new love Julia. The play doesn’t start here however, rather the entire show is set in an interrogation room set after Winston has already been captured. The audience is shown his story through a reenactment put on by party members based on the writings they find in Winston’s diary. Marianna de Fazio, Brad Cook, Michael Ramquist, K. Brian Neel and Lyam White; Ryan Higgins facing upstage in 18th & Union's production of 1984. Photo by Marcia Davis.

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Monster Robot Babies: Why Dance Nation is the Coolest Show Ever

Review of Dance Nation at Washington Ensemble Theatre

Written by TeenTix New Guard Member Daisy Schreiber and edited by Teen Editor Tova Gaster

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Good endings are hard to come by, and when I saw Dance Nation at Washington Ensemble Theatre for the first time, I didn’t really like the last few minutes. But the rest of it was kind of the Best Thing I’d Ever Seen, so I went back again. And again. And again. And again. By the fifth and last time I saw Dance Nation, the ending was one of my favorite parts. (My other favorite part was everything else.) There are approximately 15,000,000 different awesome things about the show, but Dance Nation, in one of its many acts of healing, offers a powerful paradigm shift–what if middle school makes us who we are? What if we aren’t a total write-off ages eleven to fourteen? What if we are ok now because of what happened to us in middle school, not just in spite of it?

Dance Nation catches its characters–members of an elite pre-teen dance team–at a delicate moment. They hover on the precipice of giving up dreams of dance stardom for other aspirations, like being a volcano scientist, or high school student, or diving deeper into the competitive dance world, knowing that they can never remake this choice. By the end of the ninety minutes, the girls have made their decisions, for the most part choosing each other over the rabid pull of being the best, and they are powerful. It is clear that their dance team friends will always be a part of their lives, and that, regardless of the future careers, dance is a force that connects them to each other as they take on the rest of their lives. Dance Nation at Washington Ensemble Theatre. Photo by Jeff Carpenter.

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Yardbird Sings A New Tune

Review of Charlie Parker's Yardbird at Seattle Opera.
Written by Teen Editor Kendall Kieras and edited by Press Corps Teaching Artist Ts Flock.

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A flash of light, a sign reading “Birdland” descending and spanning the length of the stage, directly beneath, a lone man staring at his own corpse. These elements serve to transform 7:30 pm on a Wednesday to a midnight in the mid-1950s at Seattle Opera’s latest production, Charlie Parker’s Yardbird, inspired by the life (and afterlife) of jazz icon Charlie Parker. The opera begins at the moment of Parker’s death from a heroin overdose...in the bed of his socialite lover at a segregated hotel. As a spirit, he suddenly finds himself back at Birdland bar, where he had been banned years before for drunken conduct, despite the bar being named after him.

The libretto, written by Bridgette A. Wimberly, follows Parker as he reconciles with his life, and attempts to write a classical symphony as a ghost. Yardbird is the next step in a long line of biographical productions attempting to revive legendary figures, following The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs, performed last year at the Seattle Opera. Frederick Ballentine (Charlie Parker) & Angela Brown (Addie Parker) in Charlie Parker’s Yardbird at Seattle Opera. Photo by Sunny Martini.

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The Devil Strikes at Noir City Festival

Review of The Devil Strikes at Night at SIFF
Written by TeenTix Newsroom Writer Amy Harris and edited by Teen Editor Tova Gaster

The Devil Strikes At Night Rose Schafer and Mario Adorf

Thursday, February 20 marked the culmination of the traveling Noir City Festival in Seattle. Hosted by the “Czar of Noir,” Eddie Muller, the penultimate film was the 1957 German feature, The Devil Strikes at Night.

When doors opened at 5:15 p.m., benefactors flocked to the donor reception, awash with wine, while others saved seats in the theater. Onstage, the Dmitri Matheny trio opened, floating through a half-hour of both the exotic and familiar. While technically adept, the music pertained less to the film or noir mood and more to the superficial Egyptian-themed trimmings of the venue.

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Here We Go Again: Mamma Mia! is Simply Fun

Review of Mamma Mia! at Kirkland Performance Center
Written by TeenTix Newsroom Writer Huma Ali and edited by Teen Editor Josh Fernandes

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Studio East and Kirkland Performance Center’s production of Catherine Johnson’s Mamma Mia! follows 20-year-old Sophie Sheridan (Rachel Kuenzi) as she unfolds a secret plan to find her father—or rather fathers, as she has narrowed the search to 3 potential candidates. Her ultimate goal: to have him walk her down the aisle at her wedding, which is merely days away. An island off Greece, a stuccoed hotel, unrequited love haunting the young and the old—it’s not a shock when things don’t go exactly as planned. But, it’s largely amusing to watch, even as a relative outsider to the franchise.

The stage opens to a fair, blonde Sophie standing next to a yellow mailbox, letters in hand. Recipients: Sam (Samuel Jarius Pettit), Bill (Hakan Olsson), and Harry (Ryan Lile). Sam Carmicheal is an architect and divorcee. Bill Anderson is an adventure-seeking writer. Harry Bright is an English banker. All under the impression of being invited by Sophie’s mother Donna (Shoshauna Mohlman), the three men fly to the island.

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Recap: Dance Journalism Workshop at Hiplet

Teen Reviews of the Hiplet Ballerinas at Edmonds Center for the Arts

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The TeenTix Press Corps partnered with Edmonds Center for the Arts to host a Dance Journalism workshop around the performance of the Hiplet Ballerinas, February 20, 2020. Taught by multimedia journalist and dance artist, Imana Gunawan, the workshop covered the basics of dance criticism and how to approach writing a dance review. In our initial lesson we learned some context for the performance by discussing the roots of both hip hop and ballet as art forms. Before the performance, teens also attended the pre-show talk curated by Dani Tirrell (movement artist centering dance around the African Diaspora) featuring Erricka Turner (Ballet and Graham Techniques) and Fides Anna Banana Freeze Mabanta (B-Girl and Hip-Hop), along with Hiplet company representatives. The discussion further framed the performance by asking questions like: How do race and class play into both of these dance techniques? Does Hip-Hop need Ballet to make it more legitimate to white audiences; and does Ballet need Hip-Hop to make it feel relevant to Black and Brown audiences?

After attending the show, participants met for a final meeting to discuss and reflect on the performance. Teens worked on their writing, did some peer editing, and also reflected on how to confront bias while reviewing dance. Below are the reflections on the Hiplet performance written by some of the workshop participants.

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Our Country’s Long

Review of Our Country's Good at Strawberry Theatre Workshop
Written by TeenTix Newsroom Writer Anna Martin and edited by Teen Editor Kendall Kieras

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People are people if you treat them as such. This strong and simple message takes almost three hours to deliver in Strawberry Theatre Workshop’s Our Country’s Good.

The setting is mid-eighteenth century Australia, as the first colony of criminals is arriving. The show focuses on a group of convicts as they join with the officers to put on a play for the inmates.

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Fresher Start!

Teen Editorial Staff March 2020 Editorial

Written by Teen Editor Kendall Kieras!

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We all promise ourselves that the new year will bring a “new me,” but let’s all be honest and admit that the few people among us who still maintain resolutions have already forgotten about them by now. Who even designed the calendar system so that the year would start in the middle of winter? No, the true start of the year is now, with the beginning of Spring! It’s bright, it’s sunny, and we’ve got just the art to give you that fresh start we all need right now!

If you’re looking to shock yourself awake this Spring, there’s no better place to start than Rebecca Brewer’s Natural Horror at the Frye Art Museum. Toying with the psychological effect of the relationship between humans and the natural world, the pieces seem to come alive with their bold and flowing shapes evoking expressionistic painting through the medium of crafts.

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Recap: Dance Criticism Workshop at Grupo Corpo

Teen Reviews of Grupo Corpo at Meany Center for the Performing Arts

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The TeenTix Press Corps hosted a pop-up Dance Criticism workshop at Grupo Corpo’s performance at Meany Center, February 22, 2020. Taught by dance artist, writer, and teacher, Kaitlin McCarthy, the workshop covered the basics of dance criticism and how to approach writing a dance review. After a pre-show lesson, teen participants attended Grupo Corpo’s performance, and then met the next day for discussion and writing practice. Below are the reflections of the performance the participants wrote during the workshop.

Written by Hana - 8th grade

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Recap: Theater Criticism Workshop at Snow White

Teen Reviews of Snow White at Seattle Children's Theatre

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The TeenTix Press Corps hosted a pop-up Theater Criticism workshop at a performance of Snow White at Seattle Children’s Theatre on February 29, 2020. Taught by playwright and arts journalist, Danielle Mohlman, the workshop covered the basics of theater criticism and how to approach writing a review of a play. After a pre-show lesson, teen participants attended a Snow White performance, and then met the next day for discussion and writing practice. Below are the reflections of the play a few of the participants wrote during the workshop.

Written by Faith - 9th grade

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Bodies of Color ≠ Numbers

Review of Admissions at Seattle Public Theater
Written by TeenTix Newsroom Writer Huma Ali and edited by Teen Editor Olivia Sun

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Warning: Spoilers ahead!

An elite New England prep school run by a liberal white couple, salted by the ramblings of their “Republican” son, and peppered with misconstrued ideas about sharing space in positions of power—Seattle Public Theater’s production Admissions suggests that power and its distribution among white, “progressive” individuals is a complex issue.

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Art Museums—Not Just For Your Grandma and Her Bingo Friends Anymore!

Review of SAM's Asian Art Museum

Written by TeenTix Newsroom Writer Valentine Wulf and edited by Teen Editor Anya Shukla

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I am not a museum person. Surprisingly, however, I wasn’t begging for death by the time I reached the gift shop of the newly renovated and expanded Asian Art Museum in Volunteer Park. In fact, I enjoyed every minute of the experience.

The Asian Art Museum feels welcoming from the minute you step in the door. The redone space lacks the usual cold, sterile, hospital-esque feel of your run of the mill museum and is definitely a building you want to spend time in.

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A Series of (Un)Fortunate Events

Review of A Sequence of Wretched Events at Jet City Improv

Written collectively by the Teen Editorial Staff

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Please, dear reader, take care. The review you are about to read is one of extreme despair, disaster, and community-based youth empowerment in the arts. Recently, six teen editors, a word which here means “teenagers most unpopular in their high schools,” descended upon A Sequence of Wretched Events at Jet City Improv, inspired by Lemony Snicket’s infamous series A Series of Unfortunate Events. What followed was a night of improvisation, impressive stylistic details, and heavy Skittle consumption. Reader, be warned: this review is sure to lead only to despair, and we advise you to click away as quickly as possible. If you continue on this path, only wretched things await.

If you have chosen to continue reading this review, we must begin at the only place there is to begin, the beginning. We began with our narrator themselves, modeled after Lemony Snicket, introducing us to our main characters, two young girls reeling from their father’s death in a mountainous crevasse. The show followed these two as they embarked on a journey to find their father, because, in their words, “a crevasse is never a death sentence.”

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#adulting: A New Opera for the Young at Heart

Review of #adulting at 18th and Union

Written by TeenTix Newsroom Writer Sofia Gerrard and edited by Teen Editor Lily Williamson

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To many teens, opera can seem boring. But this descriptor is the antithesis of Low Brow Opera Collective’s opera #adulting. An outrageous take on life as a millennial Seattleite, #adulting is a relatable and modern revitalization of a classic art form.

Eschewing a continuous narrative, #adulting presented its story through a series of sketches that follow its protagonist Bucket and her colorful Craigslist-found roommates as they battle student loans, unemployment, Verizon customer service, and food theft. Each roommate (portrayed beautifully by Eric Angus Jeffords, Christine Oshiki, Krissy Terwilliger, and Jared White) serves as a caricature of a millennial stereotype. Their struggles were comically shallow, but the overarching theme of confusion and uncertainty was entirely relatable and surprisingly poignant. This relatability is in part thanks to the libretto by Natalie Stewart Elder and the score by John Ervin Brooks, which add to the comedic and melodramatic elements with apt emotional shifts.

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Isabel Allende Melts the Audience

Review of Isabel Allende's book discussion, presented by Elliott Bay Book Company at Town Hall Seattle

Written by TeenTix Newsroom Writer Maia Demar and edited by Teen Editor Olivia Sun

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There are many satisfying things in this world, but perhaps one of the most rewarding is when you see a writer speak and they talk exactly as they write. This resemblance goes to show no matter what fictional character an author takes on, their authenticity and passion will always shine through. Isabel Allende, an award-winning Latin novelist, demonstrated this skill with ease. On Thursday, January 30, in an event produced by Elliott Bay Book Company, Allende made an appearance at Town Hall Seattle to discuss her newest novel, A Long Petal of the Sea, with Seattle journalist Florangela Davila.

Before Allende came into the spotlight, Davila introduced her as a woman with many accomplishments: she was born in Peru, raised in Chile, and has sold over 56 million books which have been translated from Spanish into more than 35 languages. Other impressive achievements include fifteen honorary doctorates throughout her life and a Presidential Medal of Freedom from former President Obama. Allende also fosters an interest in sponsoring philanthropic foundations that specifically work with women’s rights, reproductive rights, education, youth, and global healthcare.

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Lonely Rice Cookers: A Snapshot of a Generation

Review of Cuckoo by Jaha Koo at On the Boards
Written by TeenTix Newsroom Writer Sky Fiddler and edited by Teen Editor Lily Williamson

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Cuckoo: a one-man play in Korean about sentient rice cookers and loneliness.

When I read that description, I knew I had to make it to On The Boards and see it—this creation appeared to be different than any play I’d seen before. The set was simple, with only a box-like table framed by a large projector screen, the stage otherwise so black and barren that it looked like a portal into the void. Cuckoo simultaneously chronicled Korean history since the late 90’s economic crisis, the experience of a generation of young people, and artist Jaha Koo’s own life.

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Her Creativity and Other Inspirations

Review of Carmen Maria Machado's lecture presented by Seattle Arts and Lectures
Written by TeenTix Newsroom Writer Lucia McLaren and edited by Teen Editor Kendall Kieras

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7:19 PM

My family’s well-loved grey Volkswagen speeds through the streets of downtown Seattle, my mother and I watching her iPhone as it spits out life-saving directions to Town Hall. I frantically tear my hair down from its tight bun, throwing bobby pins and hair ties into my dance bag.

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A Remake Becomes a Surprising Reinvention

Review of Little Women at SIFF

Written by Teen Writer Taylar Christianson and edited by Press Corps Teaching Artist Kathy Fennessy

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My first thought when Greta Gerwig’s Little Women adaptation was announced was “Do we really need another Little Women?” There are already over a dozen adaptations of Louisa May Alcott’s classic, some very recent, and this one felt like an Oscar-bait installment in Hollywood’s reboot fever. It’s another iteration of a well-known story, adapted by a famous director with an A-list cast, and all for another white woman’s take on a story about white women—not exactly groundbreaking in terms of representation or social commentary. What was the point of this?

However, I admit I’ll have to eat (some of) my words on this one. Gerwig’s Little Women isn’t without flaws, but it has beautiful cinematography, a strong cast, and a generally well-executed storyline—and as a literary adaptation, and especially one with so many predecessors, it deserves its praise. Gerwig’s screenwriting and directing give fresh new meaning to the tale of the March sisters’ lives in Reconstruction America, but keeps enough of its charm to feel familiar anyway.

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