Preview Post – English – Play – Seda Iranian Theatre Ensemble & ArtsWest

English play by ArtsWest & Seda Iranian Theatre Ensemble. Entire performance run (ending 4/28/24) is now sold out. Arrive 1 hr before each remaining show to get on the waitlist. Stay tuned for my full review! #showsiveseen #theatre #iranian #Farsi #Parsi #Persian #language #bilingual #identity #accent

Tickets: https://www.artswest.org/events/english/

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Preview Post – Fat Ham – Play – Seattle Rep

Fat Ham play opening night at Seattle Rep. Performing until 5/12/24. Stay tuned for my full review! #bipoc #black #hamlet #Shakespeare #Queer #LGBT #poc

Tickets: https://www.seattlerep.org/plays/202324-season/fat-ham/

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How to Write a New Book for the Bible – Play – Review – Taproot Theatre

@showsiveseen "How to Write a New Book for the Bible" #play at @TaprootTheatre starring Pam Nolte & Richard Nguyen Sloniker. Digs into the sad process of caring for ill, #aging, #dying #parents. Oh lawd, don't let me get old or sick! #children #family #theatre #showsiveseen Review: showsiveseen.com/8370 Photos: Robert Wade Director: @Bretteney Beverly Stage Manager: @nik! ♬ Fine Wine – Devin Kennedy

Elevator Thoughts (aka Tweet): “How to Write a New Book for the Bible” play at Taproot Theatre. Digs into the sad process of caring for ill, aging, dying #parents. Oh lawd, don’t let me get old or sick! Closes this weekend. #children #family

Recommendation
See it if you’re okay with sentimental or downer shows.


Synopsis from the Theatre: Playwright and Jesuit priest Bill Cain moves home to care for his strong-spirited mother. Through his eyes we witness his long-dead father, a brother coming to terms with his service in Vietnam, baseball games, and birthday pumpkins. In this bracingly personal and frankly funny play, Cain shows us why the details in our lives matter.

Attended Performance Date: Opening Night 3/22/24 – Keep your eyes peeled for my preview posts on my website and social media if you want earlier notification of shows I’ve seen. Get your tickets now since it closes this weekend on 4/20/24!

Type: Play

World Premiere: No

Several or Few Scenes: Several

Several or Few Settings/Locations: Several

Static (Stationary) Set? Yes

Prior Exposure/Knowledge Required: No

Defined Plot/Storyline: Not really. It was more a collection of flashbacks.

Equity Actors: 2

Total Number of Actors: 4

Perceived Pace of the Show: Medium speed

Length (Including Any Intermission): 2.5 hours

Was there an intermission? Yes

Was This the First Time I Attended a Production of this Show? Yes

Would I See It Again 3 Years from Now? No

Rant(s)

  • Physician Coat Length: If an actor portrays a physician (even an intern or resident), they shouldn’t wear a hip-length coat. Only health care professional students (like medical school or pharmacy school students) wear white coats that short. It’s surprising how many theatres incorrectly dress their physicians as if they were medical students.

Other Musing(s) and Observation(s)

  • Moral of the Story: What was the message the playwright was trying to convey? “Aging sucks?”
  • Bible Reference: Why was the bible mentioned in the play’s title? The narrator briefly touched on it, but it seemed like a far-reaching connection. There were random biblical references through the play like “Do you know what commandment follows ‘Honor your father and mother?’ ‘Thou shalt not kill.'” But the religious references were too few to merit mentioning “bible” in the title. The play’s title attracts Christian audiences to buy tickets, but the script ultimately doesn’t deliver enough religious themes. At the same time, the play’s title deters secular audiences from attending the show. This weird religiously-themed title reminds me of A Case for the Existence of God.

Theatre Company: Taproot Theatre

Venue: Jewell Mainstage at Taproot Theatre

Venue Physical Address: 204 N 85th St, Seattle, WA 98103

Price: Medium

Tickets: https://taproottheatre.org/shows/2024/how-to-write-a-new-book-for-the-bible/

Dates: March 20, 2024 – April 20, 2024

Seating: Assigned Seating

Parking: Paid lot or usually-free street parking. I always find free street parking on Greenwood Ave just South of the theatre.

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Pictures: See pictures below by Robert Wade.

From top left: Nik Doner, Scott Nolte, Richard Nguyen Sloniker, and Pam Nolte in How to Write a New Book for the Bible at Taproot Theatre. Photo by Robert Wade.
Pam Nolte and Scott Nolte in How to Write a New Book for the Bible at Taproot Theatre. Photo by Robert Wade.
Scott Nolte with Pam Nolte and Richard Nguyen Sloniker in How to Write a New Book for the Bible at Taproot Theatre. Photo by Robert Wade.
Nik Doner with Pam Nolte and Scott Nolte in How to Write a New Book for the Bible at Taproot Theatre. Photo by Robert Wade.

Nik Doner and Richard Nguyen Sloniker in How to Write a New Book for the Bible at Taproot Theatre. Photo by Robert Wade.

Stew – Play – Review – ACT Contemporary Theatre

@showsiveseen Zora Howard's "#Stew" #play by @acttheatre. I always love @Nyce Somar's matriarchal stage deliveries. So many audience reactions. Delightful expressions, deadpans, utterances, & comebacks. Well-planned beginning/ending bookends. Buy your tickets now since it closes this weekend! #family #food #BET #black #BiPOC #POC #hungry #theatre #showsiveseen #soup ♬ The Art Of Letting Go – Neon Dreams & Matthew Mole

Elevator Thoughts (aka Tweet): Zora Howard’s Stew play by ACT Theatre. I always love Shaunyce Omar’s matriarchal stage deliveries. So many audience reactions. Delightful expressions, deadpans, utterances, & comebacks. Well-planned beginning/ending bookends. #soup #family #food #BET #black #BiPOC #POC #hungry

Recommendation
See it, especially if you’re okay with plays that are more dialogue than action.


Synopsis from the Theatre: Mama’s up early to prepare the perfect stew for a very important community meal. As the day rolls on, tempers go from a simmer to a boil, and secrets rise to the surface for three generations of Tucker women. When the violence hovering around the periphery of their lives begins to intrude upon the sanctity of the kitchen, mothers and daughters wrestle with loss and hope in this hilarious, haunting drama.

Attended Performance Date: Opening Night 3/21/24 – Keep your eyes peeled for my preview posts on my website and social media if you want earlier notification of shows I’ve seen. Get your tickets now since it closes this weekend on 3/31/24!

Type: Play

World Premiere: No

Several or Few Scenes: About 3 scenes

Several or Few Settings/Locations: Just one, an open-concept kitchen

Static (Stationary) Set? Yes

Prior Exposure/Knowledge Required: No

Defined Plot/Storyline: No, it was more dialogue than action.

Equity Actors: 2

Total Number of Actors: 4

Perceived Pace of the Show: Medium speed

Length (Including Any Intermission): 1.75 hours – I kept thinking there would be an intermission during 2 climactic moments!

Was there an intermission? No

Was This the First Time I Attended a Production of this Show? Yes

Would I See It Again 3 Years from Now? No, but it was good.

Other Rave(s) Not Mentioned Above

  • Play Title: It wasn’t until days later that I realized the name of this play could be a double meaning like how the title of the Rent musical meant two things.
  • Shakespeare Scene: The Shakespeare storyline felt random at the time when watching this play. Again, it wasn’t until days later that I realized in hindsight that the Richard III reenactment fittingly foreshadowed the reveal at the end of Stew.
  • Deadpans: A couple funny favorites include “You know who else was tired? Jesus!” and something like “I was 17 when you popped out of my pussy.”
  • Beginning and Ending: The play bookend-ed with an unexpected surprise. It effectively hooked the audience at the beginning and left the audience wondering/thinking at the end. Albeit I’m still trying to process/understand WTF happened at the end. What was the message and what did the line “Is it enough?” mean?!
  • Broken Glass: It’s always a crowd pleaser, especially when involving violent outbursts.
  • Food Aroma: The light savory smell of soup permeated the theatre during the show. But a part of me wished the actors sauteed an intoxicatingly onion-y mirepoix on-stage for a stronger fragrance like in Mrs Krishnan’s Party or ACT Theatre’s Skylight play. The other part of me was relieved that they didn’t generate smells that stuck to my clothes, which is my restaurant pet peeve.

Rant(s)

  • “Why?”: As I mentioned in ACT Theatre’s Every Brilliant Thing, I hate when characters continually ask “Why?” like an annoying child.
  • Character Backgrounds: Especially in the beginning, it was difficult determining where Nelly (played by Varinique “V” Davis) fit in the family tree. At this point, I’m 90% sure she was Lil’ Mama’s (played by Kataka Corn) aunt, Lillian’s (played by Shermona Mitchell) sister, and Mama’s (played by Shaunyce Omar) daughter.

Other Musing(s) and Observation(s)

  • Family of Actors: The concept of a stage actor family reminded me of Seattle’s “power theatre family,” the Russells. Incidentally, their matriarch Faith Bennett Russell was in the audience on opening night.
  • Phone: I wonder how well this play will age since it used a corded house phone, which was a semi-important plot device. Call me a millennial, but does anybody own a house phone anymore?

Theatre Company: ACT Contemporary Theatre

Venue: The Falls Theatre at ACT Contemporary Theatre

Venue Physical Address: 700 Union St, Seattle, WA 98101

Price: Medium to expensive

Tickets: https://acttheatre.org/2023-24-season/stew/

Ticket Affordability Options: Check out the the theatre’s official discounts page or TodayTix/Goldstar. There are also pay-what-you-choose seats that you can self-select on the theatre website.

Dates: March 15 to 31, 2024

Seating: Assigned Seating

Parking: Paid lot or paid street parking. If I don’t walk to this theatre, I park in the old convention center garage with the entrance between Seneca and Pike. There is indoor access from the garage to the theatre if you walk through the old convention center.

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Pictures: See pictures below by Rosemary Dai Ross.

Shaunyce Omar, Varinique “V” Davis, Shermona Mitchell, & Kataka Corn. Stew at ACT Contemporary Theatre March 15-31, 2024. Photo by Rosemary Dai Ross.
Shermona Mitchell. Stew at ACT Contemporary Theatre March 15-31, 2024. Photo by Rosemary Dai Ross.
Varinique “V” Davis. Stew at ACT Contemporary Theatre March 15-31, 2024. Photo by Rosemary Dai Ross.
Kataka Corn. Stew at ACT Contemporary Theatre March 15-31, 2024. Photo by Rosemary Dai Ross.
Shaunyce Omar & Shermona Mitchell. Stew at ACT Contemporary Theatre March 15-31, 2024. Photo by Rosemary Dai Ross.
Shaunyce Omar. Stew at ACT Contemporary Theatre March 15-31, 2024. Photo by Rosemary Dai Ross.
Shermona Mitchell & Kataka Corn. Stew at ACT Contemporary Theatre March 15-31, 2024. Photo by Rosemary Dai Ross.

Sanctuary City – Play – Review – Seattle Rep

@showsiveseen "Sanctuary City" #play at the @seattlerep starring Emilie Maureen Hanson, Junior Nyong’o, & Josh Kenji. You're damned if you do and damned if you don't. Ends this weekend! #immigration #SanctuaryCity #theatre #showsiveseen #immigrant #undocumented ♬ Fighters – John Doherty

Elevator Thoughts (aka Tweet): Sanctuary City play at the Seattle Rep starring Emilie Maureen Hanson, Junior Nyong’o, & Josh Kenji. You’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t. Ends this weekend! #immigration #SanctuaryCity #immigrant #undocumented

Recommendation
See it if either 1) you enjoyed Vanessa’s season 1 character in Gossip Girl 2) or you’re okay with minimalist plays.


Synopsis from the Theatre: Winter, 2001, Newark, NJ. Two DREAMers—pre-DACA—meet up on the fire escape, which happens most nights. Both undocumented teens, they grapple with life’s challenges, from family to their futures. When one becomes naturalized, she promises to marry the other so he can receive his papers and truly start his life. As time passes and their relationship shifts, both must confront what they are willing to sacrifice to live freely and belong. This searing and captivating new play by Pulitzer Prize-winning Martyna Majok asks what we’re willing to risk for those we love.

Attended Performance Date: Opening Night 3/6/24 – Keep your eyes peeled for my preview posts on my website and social media if you want earlier notification of shows I’ve seen. Get your tickets now since it closes this weekend on 3/31/24!

Type: Play

World Premiere: No

Several or Few Scenes: Several

Several or Few Settings/Locations: Several

Static (Stationary) Set? Mostly yes. Two-thirds of the play was in a minimalist set, and the second third was in a true stationary set.

Prior Exposure/Knowledge Required: No

Defined Plot/Storyline: Yes, but it was more dialog than action.

Equity Actors: 1

Total Number of Actors: 3

Perceived Pace of the Show: Slow during the first two-thirds of the play and medium speed during the last third of the play.

Length (Including Any Intermission): 1.5 hours

Was there an intermission? No

Was This the First Time I Attended a Production of this Show? Yes

Would I See It Again 3 Years from Now? No

Other Musing(s) and Observation(s)

  • Stark Energy Shift: The first two-thirds of the play were executed in a minimalist way on an empty set like an undocumented immigrant in limbo. The play became markedly more interesting after they introduced a true full set and a 3rd character. This delayed set and character introduction was way too late for my taste. I hope there was a deliberate symbolic reason for this late introduction … otherwise, I’d consider it bad writing.
  • Limbo: It was emotionally frustrating to observe the annoying vacillating between decision and indecision. Talk about whiplash! But I assume this was intentional to convey the limbo that undocumented immigrants feel.

Theatre Company: Seattle Repertory Theatre

Venue: Leo K. Theater at Seattle Repertory Theatre

Venue Physical Address: 155 Mercer St, Seattle, WA 98109

Price: Medium to expensive

Tickets: https://www.seattlerep.org/plays/202324-season/sanctuary-city/

Ticket Affordability Options: See the theatre’s official pages about discounts and pay-what-you-can performances

Dates: March 1 to 31, 2024

Seating: Assigned Seating

Parking: There are paid lots and paid street parking. I usually park on Mercer to the West of 1st Ave. There’s usually also plentiful street parking around Safeway. If there’s an event in Seattle Center or Climate Pledge Arena, street parking is usually limited and much more expensive.

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Pictures: See pictures below by Bronwen Houck.

Emilie Maureen Hanson and Junior Nyong’o in Sanctuary City (2024) at Seattle Rep. Photo by Bronwen Houck.
Emilie Maureen Hanson and Junior Nyong’o in Sanctuary City (2024) at Seattle Rep. Photo by Bronwen Houck.
Emilie Maureen Hanson and Junior Nyong’o in Sanctuary City (2024) at Seattle Rep. Photo by Bronwen Houck.
Emilie Maureen Hanson and Junior Nyong’o in Sanctuary City (2024) at Seattle Rep. Photo by Bronwen Houck.
Emilie Maureen Hanson and Junior Nyong’o in Sanctuary City (2024) at Seattle Rep. Photo by Bronwen Houck.
Emilie Maureen Hanson and Junior Nyong’o in Sanctuary City (2024) at Seattle Rep. Photo by Bronwen Houck.
Emilie Maureen Hanson and Junior Nyong’o in Sanctuary City (2024) at Seattle Rep. Photo by Bronwen Houck.