Indecent: One Hell of a Ride

Review of Indecent at Seattle Repertory Theatre

Written by Franklin High School Student, Sarah Luong.

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The tale of a Jewish play featuring a kiss between two women, a piece of art that was refused by many, an edge-of-the-seat story of how this little play boosted to the top of the charts and made its way on Broadway; we are introduced to the Seattle Rep’s Indecent.

As we are taken back in time, we are focused on Sholem Asch, a Polish playwright who wrote the play The God of Vengeance. This play in particular contained “scandalous” themes, two of which were homosexuality and the rejection of one’s faith. Because the play contained such themes, the play could not be produced. A man by the name of Lemml, an amateur towards theater arts, saw its magnificence and helped Asch make his play a sensation. From Berlin to Moscow and to all of Europe, they made their way to America. As things begin to go downhill, Asch became more focused on the tragic events happening back at home, leaving The God of Vengeance in Lemml’s hands.

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A Not-So Queer Story About A Queer Story

Review of Indecent at Seattle Rep.

Written by Franklin High School student Cecilia Carroll.

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Halfway into the performance, there is a moment where the entire cast within Indecent reveal yellow Jewish stars on their clothes, and one person stands out against the crowd. One star is not just yellow, but a black triangle and a yellow triangle, put together to make the star. The black triangle was used to mark many things, one of those being the mark for lesbians. At first the addition of it was shocking to me, as the black triangle isn’t too often used as a queer symbol, but it rather became a nice addition in a play that concerns a queer Jewish story. Written by Paula Vogel, Indecent tells the story of the writing, producing, success, and censoring of the play God of Vengeance by Sholem Asch. God of Vengeance was the first performance on Broadway to feature a kiss between two Jewish women, one the daughter of a brothel owner and the other an ex-prostitute, which gets the cast of God of Vengeance arrested after their first performance on Broadway. While Indecent is not a queer story itself, the way it choses to explore how people intake queer theater, and how intersectionality plays into that, makes it an interesting and worthwhile play to see.

Within Indecent there are two ways in which the characters view God of Vengeance, one view is with disdain, the other is a love for something that dares to show what some may see as obscene within a beautiful light. The romance between the two female leads in God of Vengeance is brought up many times within Indecent, with one particular scene being mentioned above the rest, this is what is referred to as the rain scene. The rain scene is mentioned over and over, and it is most often described as beautiful, one of which that shows the most wonderful love between two characters who just so happen to be women; one character even compares this scene to the balcony scene from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Within this, Indecent shows how queer media and theater can easily be normalized within the eyes of many, allowing some to see it simply as another love story. Meanwhile, there are others within the story that see the love between two women only as something wrong. Within the scene where Sholem Asch first shows God of Vengeance to others, he is met with a clear message: That the story of two Jewish women falling in love at a brothel is not what the world needed to see, especially of the Jewish population. This carries on into the opening night of God of Vengeance on Broadway, in which the one who reports the play to the police, which, in turn, gets the cast arrested, is himself a Jewish man. This man gets an entire monologue to explain his motives, about how he cannot understand why the Jewish author of the play would try to show something, seen by many at the time as obscene, as acceptable. Through God of Vengeance, Indecent shows how one’s ethnicity and religion affects how one views a form of media, especially queer theater.

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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.

ACT Dracula Khanh Doan as MINA MURRAY Photo credit Chris Bennion

“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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White Guilt With A Side of Gravy

Review of The Thanksgiving Play at Seattle Public Theater.

Written by TeenTix Newsroom Writer Anna Martin and edited by Teen Editor Anya Shukla.

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The Thanksgiving Play, by Larissa Fasthorse, staged at the Seattle Public Theater, is an unexpectedly fun and thoughtful look at race and white guilt. The play stars Jonelle Jordan as the anxious and determined Logan, who’s writing a play about Thanksgiving; Martyn G. Krouse as the hippie Jaxton, her partner, who you love to hate; Andrew Shanks as the shy and passionate Caden, a history teacher; and Zenaida Rose Smith as Alicia, the gorgeous and deeply misled L.A actress.

How do four white people make a culturally sensitive Thanksgiving show for children about the horrific history of Native American treatment in the U.S.? Logan has landed herself in this pickle when her Native American actress turns out to be a white woman with “ethnicity headshots.” Paired with her hippie not-boyfriend, an enthusiastic elementary teacher with a passion for playwriting, and the previously mentioned white actress, the four of them have to create a culturally sensitive show out of their distinct lack of melanin.

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The Tempest: Something Old, Something New

Review of The Tempest at Seattle Shakespeare Company.

Written by TeenTix Newsroom Writer Lucia McLaren and edited by Teen Editor Lily Williamson.

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What makes or breaks a modern production of a classic story? Is it the acting, the setting, the interpretation? The large amount of “classics” available to us has lead to a pretty noticeable increase in remastered stories.

Seattle Shakespeare Company’s production of The Tempest is an example of one such creation. It tells the classic Shakespearean tale of Prospero (Mari Nelson), a banished Duke with strong magical abilities. The play shows Prospero coping with his past, as the King of Milan and others responsible for his exile find themselves stranded on the mystical island he now lives on. Everything gets more complicated as his daughter, Miranda (Allyson Lee Brown), gets tangled up in the drama, and Prospero finds himself forced to decide between revenge and forgiveness.

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The Female Gothic and Puppetry at We Go Mad

Review of We Go Mad at 18th and Union.

Written by TeenTix Newsroom Writer Olivia Villa and edited by Teen Editor Kendall Kieras.

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With the recent rise of box-office-breaking horror movies, it seems the genre is experiencing a renaissance of sorts. One subgenre of horror, however, that has consistently remained in pop culture’s periphery is gothic romance. For theater fans of the genre, it’s time to get excited. Here to marry gothic romance themes to those of 70s horror and ghost stories is Amy Escobar’s play We Go Mad, which had its world premiere September 20, 2019.

The play centers an unnamed woman who inherits a looming estate (and possibly much more) from her great-grandmother. Escobar draws us into a dark world of fairy royalty, intergenerational trauma, levitation, body dysphoria as a haunted house, and break-ups that break records for their awfulness. But while We Go Mad finds a saving grace in its passion for the mystery and the supernatural sublime, it faces some unavoidable issues with integrating different tones.

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Everything’s Eerie!

Teen Editorial Staff October 2019 Editorial

Written by Teen Editor Joshua Fernandes!

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Dust off the skeletons. Carve up the pumpkins. Plant the gravestones in the ground, hang the ghosts around the house, and beware the witch around the neighborhood because it’s finally the second scariest time of the year (behind finals season of course): October! The Teen Editorial Staff knows that this spooky season is kicking into full gear, so we’ve got your back with some great art to curl up to.

If you like your horror spawned from none other than the Bard of Avon, you may find Seattle Shakespeare Company's The Tempest particularly intriguing. The literal and literary magic of The Tempest makes it stand tall among Shakespeare’s many triumphs, and Seattle Shakespeare’s performances will no doubt do justice to the time-tested tragicomedy. More traditional Halloween horror might tickle your fancy instead, so look no further than Dracula at ACT, a modern take on the most iconic public domain demon. A thorough reimagining of Bram Stoker’s 1897 classic, Dracula adapts the classic monster for a 21st century audience while still managing to carve out its own niche within the villain’s long and storied evolution. If you are craving a fresh story that you might not have heard of before, check out We Go Mad at 18th & Union, a haunted house story involving a woman inheriting not just her family’s property, but their demons as well. Incorporating unique puppetry techniques including “cinematic shadow play, modified bunraku, and object manipulation,” this show is not to be missed during your month of fright-filled festivities. You might also be interested in the horrors of reality, and there’s no better place than the Powerful Grit screening of short films at NFFTY. Full of hard-hitting, depressing, and all around feel-bad films, it’s the perfect place to go to get a good dose of the feels. If you’re looking for a time at the movies that’s a little less Sour Patch Kids and a little more Haribo Goldbears, look no further than Brief Story from the Green Planet at the Three Dollar Bill Cinema's Seattle Queer Film Festival. Follow Tania, a trans performer who, after discovering an alien among her deceased grandmother’s belongings, goes on a journey with her two childhood friends to return to the extraterrestrial, face their fears, and discover themselves. And finally, for those of you who aren’t much into the Halloween spirit: no worries! We’ll fast-forward to Turkey Day and Native American Heritage Month by seeing The Thanksgiving Play at Seattle Public Theater. In this story written by Native American playwright Larissa Fasthorse, we hear a comedic take on one journey to uncover and share the true origins of the white-washed Thanksgiving holiday in our country.

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Shared Tragedy at Everything Is Illuminated

Review of Everything Is Illuminated at Book-It Repertory Theatre.

Written by Teen Editor Kendall Kieras and edited by Teen Editor Lily Williamson.

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My mother didn’t want to go to college. After graduating high school, she didn’t attend, electing instead to run away to the mountains of Colorado to become a ski bum. Instead of the free skiing life she imagined, she spent a season cleaning toilets as a maid. Finally, she decided to honor her parents’ wishes and go to college. On her first day of St. Catherine’s, a sprawling and decidedly Catholic all-girls school, she wore fatigues from the army surplus store. Drawing a line down the floor of her dorm with her combat boot, she said to her new roommate (whom she later dubbed “Becky Home Ec-ky”) “this is your side, and this is mine.”

I have heard this story so many times throughout the years, more as mythology than recollection. Every rebellion I stage is due in part to my mother’s genes. Everything Is Illuminated understood this process, how our family stories stretch and shrink to accommodate corners of the everyday. Everything Is Illuminated was a story of stories. It’s part letters read aloud, part family mythology told in projector images, and part recollections of the main characters. The show celebrated the nature of our own mythology, and how it can shape us along the way.

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Bulrusher: A POC Narrative about Self-Discovery

Review of Bulrusher at Intiman Theatre.

Written by Teen Editor Olivia Sun and edited by Teen Editor Joshua Fernandes.

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At seven years old, I thought I knew everything there was to know about living a fulfilling life. For me, the path to happiness was simple: become a famous artist, adopt three dogs, and live in a mansion on the lake. However, I soon realized that life wasn’t as easy as I made it out to be. But with these fanciful dreams no longer clouding my thoughts, there were times when I no longer knew who I was, where I fit into my community, or what I wanted to do with my life. This kind of teenage existential crisis is common amongst my peers, and perhaps this is why playwright Eisa Davis wrote Bulrusher, a coming-of-age story about the pathway to self-discovery.

Bulrusher, set in the year 1955, is a production directed by Valerie Curtis-Newton at the Intiman Theatre. When we first meet Bulrusher (Ayo Tushinde), she is a young woman, living in the small logging and farming town of Boonville. The Boonville residents speak a combination of English and Boontling—an elaborate, esoteric lingo known only by the locals. As an infant, Bulrusher was abandoned in a basket set free along the Navarro River, before eventually being found and raised by an old schoolteacher named Schoolch (Charles Leggett). Eighteen years later, she spends her time running her own orange business, getting schooled by the local brothel owner Madame (Christine Pilar), and being serenaded with love songs by a local teenage boy (Adam Fontana). But as one of just two people of color in Boonville, Bulrusher is a misfit in her traditional, white, working-class rural community. She copes with her struggles of belonging by spending time besides the river that kept her alive as a baby. Reginald André Jackson, Adam Fontana, and Charles Leggett in Bulrusher. Photo by Naomi Ishisaka.

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Antiques Improv: "Discovering Seattle’s Hidden Treasures!"

Review of Antiques Improv Show at Jet City Improv.

Written by Teen Editor Joshua Fernandes and edited by Teen Editor Olivia Sun.

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Money may very well be the root of all evil, but at Antiques Improv Show by Jet City Improv, monetary value becomes the butt of an evening-spanning joke. If you’ve ever found yourself channel-surfing a TV without cable from the hours of 7 to 9 pm, then you’ve likely stumbled upon the incredibly mundane world of Antiques Roadshow. For those who haven’t been enlightened, the basic premise of the show is that local people bring in valuable, old, or innocuous items for appraisal by the traveling Antiques Roadshow experts, and the most valuable or interesting items get put into the show.

Similarly, in Antiques Improv Show, each audience member is encouraged to bring an item of their own for appraisal. Unlike the TV show, however, these items don’t need to be valuable, significant, or even antiques. Instead, it’s up to the “appraisers” (Taya K. Beattie, Glen Dodge, Matt Jurasek, Randy S. Miller, Austin Olson, Jenn Petti, Sam Riordan, and Emily Shuel) to give them value by creating lavish stories for the items. I brought a chess participation trophy I “won” 7 years ago, but after an initial appraisal, it turned out to be a relic from the knights of templar with connections to the holy grail.

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Indy Jones Is a Fresh, Fun-Filled Take on a Childhood Classic

Review of Indy Jones and the Raiders of the Last Temple of the Doomed Ark at Seattle Public Theater.

Written by Teen Editor Lily Williamson and edited by Teen Editor Kendall Kieras.

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Although I was born a few decades too late to experience the Indiana Jones movies as they came out, the franchise was an integral part of my childhood. My dad and I have always bonded over these films, and we even made our way through the entire series. So when I heard that Seattle Public Theatre, in collaboration with theater troupe The Habit, was offering their own spin on these sentimental films, we just had to go together.

I can’t say I was expecting SPT’s Indy Jones and the Raiders of the Last Temple of the Doomed Ark to be anywhere near as great as the original films. I was anticipating a simple re-enactment of the series, with maybe a few new and cheesy jokes. But, Indy Jones exceeded my expectations: it’s a wonderfully comedic mishmash of the first three films, complete with original musical numbers. This production isn’t a simple re-enactment of the show, but a new, fresh, and dick joke-filled take on these nostalgic classics.SPT’s Indy Jones and the Raiders of the Last Temple of the Doomed Ark. Photo by Marcia Davis.

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The Great British Bake Off Gets A Radical Upgrade

Review of the Great Victorian Radicals Bake-Off at Seattle Art Museum.

Written by Teen Editor Anya Shukla and edited by Teen Editor Tova Gaster.

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In a truly tragic turn of events, I arrived at SAM’s Great Victorian Radicals Bake-Off four days after I vowed to eat healthier and skip dessert for two weeks. As I watched my sister nosh her way through cakes, pies, and even dessert tacos, I could feel my mouth start to water. She looked at me between bites, raising her eyebrows as if to say “your loss!” I stuck to my guns, but if I go by my sister’s review, I missed out on a gastric fiesta.

The event was billed as a mix between The Great British Bake-Off, a family-friendly baking show, and SAM’s Victorian Radicals art exhibit, a showcase of the revolutionary techniques used by artists in 19th century Europe. Bakers had two months to view the exhibit, pick a piece, and create a breathtaking dessert based on their choice. On the day of, judges did a taste-test, scoring each scrumptious baked good on taste, presentation, and connection to the exhibit. At the Bake-Off, the audience also got the chance to vote for the winner of the “People’s Choice Award,” AKA “Best Looking Sweet.” This baking event seemed like a way of connecting the exhibit, which centers around older art, with young adults and teens who might know the British Bake-Off better than the Industrial Revolution. Great Victorian Radicals Bake-Off. Photo courtesy of SAM.

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Turning Up the Volume with Mal Blum

Review of Mal Blum at the Vera Project.

Written by Teen Editor Tova Gaster and edited by Teen Editor Anya Shukla.

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During their all-ages show at the Vera Project on August 22, musician Mal Blum declared that they weren’t getting into any fights on social media for the month. As they wrote on Twitter earlier that day, they instead opted to “focus on [their] all ages show in Seattle and the trans kids [they] get to meet every night IRL instead. No more tweet beef!!”

At Blum’s energetic and vulnerable show, the crowd was indeed full of trans kids, and Blum’s driving pop-punk guitar and shouted lyrics energized the audience. Blum’s stage presence is self-deprecating and charismatic, and their boyish low voice slides seamlessly into a clear upper register. They’re short with a confident center of gravity.

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B-List is the Best List

Teen Editorial Staff September 2019 Editorial

Written by Teen Editors Anya Shukla and Tova Gaster!

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As the great Calvin of Calvin and Hobbes once said, “It is now two days closer to the start of school than it was two days ago.”

We made that sentence its own paragraph, because the idea can stand alone as a bringer of pure, unadulterated panic.

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Announcing the 2019/2020 Teen Editorial Staff!

Meet the leaders of the TeenTix Newsroom!

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TeenTix is proud to announce the 2019/2020 Teen Editorial Staff. This year's Teen Editorial Staff (TEDS) is comprised of six teens: Anya Shukla, Joshua Fernandes, Kendall Kieras, Lily Williamson, Olivia Sun, and Tova Gaster. The TEDS are the leaders of the TeenTix Newsroom, and work to curate reviews and arts coverage for the TeenTix blog. Teen Editorial Staff members decide which TeenTix Arts Partners' events to cover each month, write an editorial about their curatorial choices, and assign Newsroom writers to review each event. TEDS members interface with TeenTix Arts Partners to set up press tickets for each review, and edit all Newsroom writing before it is published on the TeenTix blog. The Teen Editorial Staff is a group of skilled writers, editors, and leaders, who keep the pulse of the TeenTix Press Corps and the Seattle arts scene.

Statement from the Teen Editorial Staff: “The goal of the Teen Editorial Staff is to promote our local Arts Partners while amplifying the perspectives of the next generation of arts patrons. The TeenTix Newsroom fosters arts journalism by teens, for teens. We are dedicated to elevating youth voices and encouraging them to think critically about the arts and media they consume.”

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Wonderful Art Fair, Happens to Be in Seattle

Review of the Seattle Art Fair.

Written by TeenTix Press Corps writer Rosemary Sissel.

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A tunnel of captive trees reflects itself into infinity. Pieces of wood arranged in the shape of Africa cast the shadow of a face. Another face, painted by many tiny newspaper words, loses its eye.

The Fair is a river of continual images, inviting viewers to look at, question, and interact with collections from nearly one hundred galleries from around the world—and the variety is staggering. A head is suspended upside down by steel cable. A nose is a shoe. A plunger is glass.

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Pass Over Confronts Audiences in the Best Way Possible

Review of Pass Over at ACT.

Written by Teen Editor Anya Shukla, and edited by Teen Editor Huma Ali!

WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD

Although I had been warned by the sign at the front door—CAUTION: LOUD GUNSHOTS—I still started, pretzeled my arms into my chest, when the trigger was finally pulled. I sat, head buzzing, as the murderer monologued for the final two minutes of the play. The lights went down amidst audience mumblings, then I stood clapping with the room while the actors bowed. My chest was tight with anxiety all through the talkback, the drive home, my pre-bed face wash; even now, I can easily picture the muzzle flash. If art’s job is to affect individuals, then Pass Over deserves a raise.

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