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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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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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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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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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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An Over Decent Play Called Indecent

Review of Indecent at Seattle Rep.

Written by Franklin High School student, Tommy Trenh.

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As the warm air began to fill with a cold breeze, the drops of rain hit the wooden floorboards. The dull and dark lighting began to lighten up as the lights reflected through the raindrops to create a glistening effect. These were the characteristics of a play called Indecent, where a group of Jewish actors travel through America and Europe during the early 20th century to spread the works of a writer named Sholem Asch and his play God of Vengeance which featured a love between two women which did not end so well. The play was an overall great experience, with how realistic the scenes were and the story that was being shared about a group of Jewish people before, during, and after World War II.

Indecent had many moments where the stage became very realistic and felt like a 3D movie. One moment that stood out was at the end when Rifkele dances with Manke and rain starts to drop down on the stage. When real rain started to pour down from the ceiling, it began to feel colder and made it feel as if I was in the scene with the actors as well. It made the anticipation for this rain dance scene even more exhilarating as lots of people had been waiting for this scene throughout the play. Another scene that had an impact was when the actors were reenacting God of Vengeance near the end for a small crowd. In the middle of a scene being acted out, tremendous bombs were dropping down and the vibration could be felt throughout the entire theatre. With feelings of fear and tension left from the bombs, it became more suspenseful as the audience did not know what to anticipate from the next scenes. This also connects to how Jewish people had to live in constant fear of being targeted and killed at any time in World War II.

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Finding Balance

Review of Indecent at Seattle Rep.

Written by Franklin High School student, Savannah Blackwell.

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*Please note, this review includes spoilers

A show that beautifully demonstrates how Jews (and all people, really) are multidimensional, individual, human beings. Indecent, by Paula Vogel and directed by Sheila Daniels (with the Seattle Rep), weaves the complexities of one’s identity in a powerful hour and forty-five-minute show. Indecent is a play within a play. It follows the playwright, Sholem Asch, and his actors’ process in performing the controversial play, God of Vengeance. In the show, props, light, words, projection, and music come together to create a full and complete story. It was a privilege to witness their interpretation of intersectionalities all humans carry and the commonalities of them with others. We see two lesbian Jews, a playwright with “taboo” ideas, and a Black Jew all in one show. These are identities we rarely see, but they’re very real.

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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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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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