Playing Grown-Up

​Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them is a touching coming-of-age story

Edith

Filipino American siblings Edith (played by Sara Porkalob) and Kenny (played by Jose Abaoag) are forced into the adult world after being abandoned by their father after their mother’s passing. Edith is a fierce, powerful, strong-willed 12-year-old who, while old enough to handle a BB-gun and to protect herself and her brother, is still young enough to carry on extended conversations with a stuffed-frog companion.

The only other person in their lives is Benji (Tim Smith-Stewart), Kenny’s nerdy friend who wishes for them to be more than friends. The two teenagers explore what it means to be in a relationship, while growing up in a farm during a time when people make mix tapes for their crushes.

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On Speech and Speechlessness

UW Drama's Pentecost is a multi-lingual brain fest

By Chloe Lathe

Pentecost

Pentecost. At first it seems like a show about a fresco and the two people who find it, but later the audience is immersed in the social and cultural tensions of war torn central European countries. After leaving the show, I was left speechless, not necessarily because of the script or the actors alone, but because of the complex nature of the issues within the show.

Many of the actors stand out. Brian Culbertson as Mikhail Czaba and Sunam Ellis as Yasmin come to mind for their engaging acting, especially keeping track of multiple languages and maintaining an accent the entire time in an understandable and engaging way. They also express the theme of being people from war torn countries and dealing with the repercussions of war. These two actors paint a clear picture for the audience through their portrayals of the characters.

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Open Heart

Book-It's Anna Karenina draws you deep into Tolstoy's epic romance.

By Audrey L.

Annak1

Book-It’s Anna Karenina begins with a whirlwind of characters, plots, and secrets dancing before the audience’s eyes. Overwhelming at first, this intricate culture collage melds together with each character, plot, and secret, highlighting a different facet of the tragic life of Anna Karenina.

Anna, played by the elegant Emily Grogan, is a wealthy Russian woman married to Karenin (played in a delightfully quirky manner by Andrew DeRycke) with a cherished son Seriozha (played by Montserrat Fleck for the opening performance). Unexpectedly, she falls in love with her friend Kitty’s husband-to-be, Count Vronsky (the dashing Scott Ward Abernethy) as the burly Levin (David Anthony Lewis) begins to pursue Kitty. Anna and Vronsky’s love becomes the theme of the play, spinning plot after plot into a Russian soap-opera with a tragic twist.

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WA High School Students Compete at Seattle Rep in August Wilson Monologue Competition

Awmc Times 200

Over 50 Seattle-area high school students are preparing to compete in the third annual Seattle semi-finals of the August Wilson Monologue Competition (AWMC) at Seattle Repertory Theatre. The participants will perform a three-minute monologue from one of August Wilson’s plays on Feb. 23, 2013, and 10 finalists will compete in the public finals on Feb. 26, 2013 at 7:30 p.m. Three winners of the Seattle competition will receive cash prizes ($500, $250 and $100) and a trip to New York City to participate in the National Finals on Broadway at the August Wilson Theatre in May 2013.

The inspiration for the AWMC was sparked in 2007 in Atlanta by Wilson’s long-time collaborators Kenny Leon and Todd Kreidler of True Colors Theatre Company. They’ve since added regional competitions in Boston, Chicago, New York, Pittsburgh, and Seattle with a national competition culminating in New York City. The program is now in its seventh year.

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Better Than Normal

Review of Next to Normal at Balagan Theatre by Isabella de Leon
N2N2

Next To Normal is a Pulitzer Prize winning rock musical about a middle-aged mother, Diana Goodman (played by Beth DeVries), diagnosed with bipolar illness, and how her illness affects the rest of her family. Her husband Dan (Auston James), daughter Natalie (Keaton Whittaker), and son Gabe (Kody Bringman) all appear to live normal lives, but are, in fact, nowhere near normal.

Balagan Theatre, which has brought a wide range of amazing musicals to Seattle, including [title of show] and Avenue Q, Spring Awakening and Hedwig and the Angry Inch, has again done a great job with this production.

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Kind of Heartbreaking

Review of Thalia's Umbrella's A Day in the Death of Joe Egg at ACT Theatre by Anika M.

A Day in the Death of Joe Egg tells the story of a couple with a young daughter who has severe cerebral palsy. This dark comedy follows the couple as they attempt to use humor to avoid addressing their situation. As the show progresses, the tension mounts and their careful way of life begins to unravel.

This show marks the premiere of Thalia’s Umbrella, a new Seattle theatre group. The acting in Joe Egg is amazing, with a strong ensemble cast of Leslie Law, Terry Edward Moore, Susan Corzatte, Carol Roscoe, Brandon Whitehead, and Aidyn Stevens. The actors’ high energy and focus keeps the show moving forward. Often it feels that when accents are used in shows it is distracting and awkward but the cast of Joe Egg proves that this is not true in their case, often Moore portrays different characters within a scene or monologue and is able to switch effortlessly between a few dialects. The chemistry and emotion portrayed by the actors is never unbelievable or distracting.

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Begin At The End

​Review of Jeeves in Bloom at Taproot Theatre by Eric M.

Jeeves

I always enjoy a show that begins at the end. Jeeves in Bloom, the hilarious comedy at Taproot Theatre, starts in an uproar and gets funnier from there. The play follows the bumbling misadventures of Bertie Wooster (played by Aaron Lamb) and his omnipotent valet Jeeves (played by Matt Shimkus). What is funny about this play is that it is full of wacky characters that get into zany situations while using witty banter and great physical comedy. Bertie is a rich young man who gets into these situations because he needs to be the gentleman. He has a powerful sense of loyalty towards his friends and family but his lack of good sense just causes more trouble when he tries to help them. His faithful valet Jeeves has a great deal of common sense which comes in handy when getting Bertie out of his dilemmas. Bertie is not the only character needing Jeeves’s assistance. Bertie’s friend Augustus Fink-Nottle (played by Randy Scholz) is an expert when it comes to newts but when it comes to the woman he loves he can’t spit out a word. He loves Madeline Basset (played by Marianna De Fazio) who is not very well grounded in reality. She sees the world in a very romantic way, full of poetry and fairies. Also making Bertie’s life difficult is his scheming Aunt Dahlia (played by Kim Morris), his paranoid Uncle Tom (played by Stephen Grenley), and a cleaver-wielding chef named Anatole (played by Parker Matthews).

Margaret Raether has done a great job adapting the Jeeves and Wooster stories written by P.G. Wodehouse. I really enjoyed the snappy dialogue. Although it is set in the 1920s, this play had me laughing out loud. Director Karen Lund obviously understands Wodehouse’s timeless comedy because her production of Jeeves in Bloom had the whole audience in stitches. She's put together a fantastic cast and the Wodehouse story really benefits from their great ensemble work. Whether it is Grenley as Uncle Tom reacting to drinking Jeeves' potion, or Randy Scholz as Augustus drunkenly gathering his courage, the whole cast embraces their zany characters. I also liked the realistic feeling of the period sets and costumes which provide a grounding amidst the all the insanity.

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Something’s A-funny

Review of Something's Afoot at Taproot Theatre by Katie M. Taproot Theatre is continuing their 35th anniversary season with a fantastic production. Something’s Afoot can best be described as a murder mystery musical filled with quirky characters and lively songs. The play is set in the 1930s, and the sets and costumes reflect that time period. Lord Rancour’s lakeside estate is well furnished by scenic designer Mark Lund, providing a great backdrop for the story.

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Mega-Death Yawwrp

A dispatch from Unexpected Productions' 50-Hour Improvathon by Tucker C.

Photo by CeeDotA on flickr

The improvathon that's going on right now at the Market Theater is definitely a blast. Some of the performers had been going for a full 24 hours when I saw them, and a lot of them are pretty (totally, completely) zonked. As such, the improv that they're doing is a lot looser and freer-form than you usually see at Unexpected Productions. This means that they're willing to fly higher and try weird, crazy stuff, but sometimes in improv stuff does come crashing down to the ground. Such is occasionally the case with these skits. It's a different feel than usual in general, too--the audience and performers are constantly coming in and out, and new faces come to the stage frequently. In a lot of ways, it's like falling into some sort of weird improv dreamspace where very strange things happen and stuff is constantly changing around. And with improv, that can be pretty cool--it leads to sketches entitled "Cats Gone Wild" or "Mega-Death Yawwwrp," or frantic experiences with 20-pound zucchinis. As we all know, things like that should never, ever be missed. Above all though, it's a fundraiser for the Market Theatre, where some of the best and strangest weird stuff in the city arts-wise happens. So it's definitely worth the time and money to come down and kill a few hours seeing what improv, enthusiasm, and extreme exhaustion all team up to create in the final hours of the improvathon. The 50-Hour Improvathon is over, but you can catch TheatreSports every Friday & Saturday night at the Market Theatre. More info at unexpectedproductions.org.

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Its Own Little, Weird Self

Review of Charles Smith | My Arm is Up in the Air @ On the Boards by Tucker C.

To quote the all-wise and ever-helpful Sassy Gay Friend of YouTube fame, “What are you doing. What. What. What are you doing.” Right now, I hope that your answer to this question is not “Sitting at home on Facebook,” or “Watching reruns of Project Runway” (Mondo was robbed), because cool things are happening. Weird things. Funky things. Things that you are not quite sure the significance or meaning of, but that make you laugh all the same. Things with strange instruments. Things with dirt. These things are all often happening in their own right, but rarely do such auspicious events combine into one, funky, eclectic whole. Right now in Seattle, it has, in My Arm is Up in the Air, in the shoebox-like Studio Theater at On the Boards. The one-man, one-hour show stars Charles Smith, a long-time fixture of Seattle fringe theater. Smith certainly makes the most of his hour, and the show reaches in about a thousand different directions. Smith digs into his childhood, pop culture, and Seattle history. The aforementioned dirt comes into the picture when Smith discusses the 1916 Denny Regrade, which was at the time the largest earthworks ever. Seattle leaders decided that Denny Hill had been inconveniently placed by God and was blocking off the northern growth of the city, and so they decided to completely flatten it, to the surprise and anger of some local homeowners, who were stranded atop sudden towers of earth after refusing to abandon their property. As Smith discusses the regrade, dirt rains down from the ceiling, scattering across the stage and his body, as he revels in it. The numerous musical interludes that Smith scatters through the work are as funky as the monologues. Smith sings and plays on the hammered dulcimer, autoharp, and bowed psaltery, which I had never seen until that night and may never again. The songs, in numerous languages, often fail to live up to the rest of the play. Certainly they are a novelty, but they pale in comparison to Smith’s monologues. Words he plays like a master, but the music and singing lacked the same expertise and quality. Though the monologues are excellent, teenage patrons must be warned that some of the pop culture references in this show are obscure. Really obscure. Like before-1980 obscure, which as we all know is before the dawn of recorded history. I followed Smith through The Brady Bunch references, kept up with the Clinton administration jokes, but in some places just got plain lost. Advice to teenagers: laugh along with the thirty- and forty-somethings while nodding reminiscently when this happens. I will not remember My Arm is Up in the Air as the most interesting show I saw this year. Nor will I mark it as the funniest, wittiest, kookiest, craziest, most unexpected, beautiful, or fascinating show of 2011. To its credit, this is because it tries to do all these things, and it succeeds in defiantly being its own, little, weird self. My Arm is Up in the Air On the Boards FINAL NIGHT TONIGHT: Monday, March 28

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Dispatch: The Kake of Death

Teen Steering Committee member Tucker C. reports on Teen Night at The K of D at Seattle Rep On Sunday, January 16, a group of over one hundred teenagers came to the Seattle Repertory Theatre. They thought they were there just to eat cake and mill around before watching The K of D, Seattle Rep’s edgy new play exploring urban legends. Little did they know, however, that they had just walked into my sinister, murder-tastic trap. As they milled around getting to know each other, I moved from table to table like a shadow, killing people as stealthily as I came. It should be noted that I am such a classy murderer that I need only inform people that I have killed them for them to die, no weapons required. All was going swimmingly until one wary witness caught me red-handed and turned me in, ending my homicidal streak and winning the game. WATCH THE KAKE OF DEATH SLIDESHOW: After I was safely in prison (don’t get too comfortable, though—state budget cuts have me eligible for parole in two years!) other fabulous awards to the partygoers were given, including free tickets to those who could guess which Seattle urban legend was a fake. All of these fancy and fun events transpired, of course, while set to the teenageresque soundtrack of FREAKOUT. Some daring Teen Steering Committee members even tried to get some action moving on the dance floor, but to no avail. I can only assume that they were terrified danceless by the dangerous, suave, and very sexy murderer prowling about. Almost everyone, however, enjoyed some of the Kake of Death, which caused only a few less deaths than I did. Soon enough, everyone got their seats and enjoyed some quality theatre. It was truly an excellent play, and Renata Friedman is a total beast. She manages to portray at least fifteen different characters distinctly and seamlessly, ranging all over the stage as she flips between personalities to tell the story. As she weaves her own legend, you’ll find yourself leaning forward, intrigued and morbidly fascinated by the story.

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Screwball’s Success

Review of Remember Being Born? at Taproot Theatre by Tucker Cholvin Taproot Theatre, it seems, is a busy place these days. Currently in the middle of their production of Enchanted April, Taproot is also offering audiences a hidden late-night gem. Remember Being Born?, a one-man show performed by Solomon Davis, is a quirky and deeply personal story that refuses to be pinned down into just one category. Neither here nor there in its unique combination of stand-up routine, memoir, and coming-of-age story, Remember Being Born? makes full use of its adaptability to delve deep into Davis’ childhood and persona. Solomon Davis in Remember Being Born? at Taproot Theatre Photo by Liz Ragland On stage, Davis begins as the funnyman—Steve Martin comparisons are inevitable, as his effusive, physical energy fills the house as well as when he whips out his harmonica for a doleful few notes at the end of a monologue. Other parts of his act seem improvised and unexpected, only adding to the fervor. His charm as a storyteller and his affection for screwball comedy succeed in winning audiences over immediately, laughing at one self-effacing story after another. The mood shifts a little as Davis recalls his father dating, but the screwball comedy is never far off. With each new story, we see Davis a little bit older—one moment being told by his father to use his middle name, Mark, rather than Solomon, and the next moment auditioning for the high school play. Awkward by their subject matter, his stories are also powerfully endearing, and in Taproot’s small theatre the stand-up comedy of the beginning evolves into a story more deeply and intimately personal. Recounting being raised by his father after his mother’s death in a car crash, Davis yet again transforms the show, this time into a search for identity and where he comes from. Davis dwells most poignantly on the latter, seeking the mother he never knew out through memories, and hoping that she is the answer to who he is maturing into. At its end, Remember Being Born?’s wit and humor does not degrade its intimacy and meaning, and its occasional seriousness does not obstruct the humor. Instead, Davis leaves his audience both with a smile on their face and a profound sense of who he is as a human being. Such a balance is hard-struck, and it is to Davis’ great credit that he can find it. Done well, theatre is the opportunity to delve deeper into the world of others than we can in daily life. In his incisive and magnificent performance, Davis’ Remember Being Born? succeeds marvelously. - Tucker C October 2nd, 2009 Remember Being Born? Every Friday night at 10:15 through October 23rd Taproot Theatre

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