Elevator Thoughts (aka Tweet): The Squirrel Plays – Infestation, Compensation, Eradication by Mia McCullough w/ Mirror Stage at 12th Ave Arts. Allegory on government/politics. It was fun guessing what each thing symbolized. Probably the best opening performance reception spread I’ve seen! #play #symbolism #symbolic
Synopsis from the Theatre: Tom and Sarah finally find the suburban house of their dreams with probably the nicest garden on the market. Everything is blissful, until an unwanted squirrel gets trapped in the attic, interrupting their lives and causing a rift in their marriage. Once an exterminator, the neighborhood association, and animal control all get involved, violence and turmoil unsettle the entire subdivision.
Reviewed Performance: 4/30/23 Opening Performance Matinee
Type: 3 connected consecutive plays
World Premiere: No but USA premiere
Several or Few Scenes: Several
Several or Few Settings: Few – Around three settings
Prior Exposure/Knowledge Required: None
Defined Plot/Storyline: Yes
Recommendation: See it if you like exploring symbolism in live theatre or other art forms
Was This the First Time I Attended a Production of this Show: Yes
Rating Compared to Other Shows with the Same Production Value:
4.25 stars (Out of 5 Stars)
Equity Actors: 0
Total Number of Actors: 6
Length (Including Any Intermission): It was 2.25 hours with a long 1st act and a shorter 2nd act. I suggest moving some material to the 2nd act.
Other Rave(s) Not Mentioned in Elevator Thoughts
- Symbolism: Halfway through the first act in a sudden epiphany, I finally realized what the squirrels represented. I scrambled to replay the previous scenes in my mind to gather any missed nuances. If I had the time, I would rewatch those scenes with my newly-opened eyes. However, later on, it felt like the playwright changed what squirrels represented. Whether or not this change was intentional, the squirrel symbolism seemed unsatisfactorily inconsistent. Other than squirrels, this play was full of other political symbols. It was fun guessing what each thing represented. But for the life of me, I still couldn’t successfully guess what the bird feeders meant. Leave a comment in my social media links below if you have any ideas!
- Stagehands: The stagehands were costumed and in-character as home movers. I always appreciate when the technical crew does not stick out on-stage.
- Stage Curtain: It’s a shame they covered part of the stage when scenes weren’t occuring there. The stage looked much more complete with all the curtains open, and it would have made a better first impression to audience members walking into the theatre space. When half of the stage is covered, it looks awkward and incomplete.
Other Musing(s) and Observation(s)
- Numerous Commentaries: The play has a lot to say politically but it needs to hone its focus more to avoid becoming a hodgepodge of random leftist ideas.
- Ending (No Spoilers): While I appreciate the conclusiveness of the ending, it felt a little too clean and idealistic. The raised social issues aren’t neatly resolved with a bow in real life.
- Sounds: There were scenes that felt a little too quiet. Maybe include more background noise. But what does suburbia sound like? Maybe rustling leaves or birds chirping? What non-musical background noise do they play in Desperate Housewives? The transitional music between scenes was appropriate though.
Theatre Company: Mirror Stage
Venue: 12th Avenue Arts
Venue Physical Address: 1620 12th Ave, Seattle, WA 98122
Ticket Affordability Options: Pay-what-you-can (PWYC) and 20 radical hospitality free tickets for every performance
Dates: April 27 to May 20, 2023
Seating: General Admission
Parking: Paid lot or paid street parking. Street parking is extremely limited since it’s Capitol Hill. Your best luck would be East of Cal Anderson Park on 11th or 12th Ave. Cheapest paid lots are on 11th Ave next to the park. I highly suggest parking far away or taking the bus since the lots are expensive in Capitol Hill.
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Other Video +/- Pictures: See pictures in video and under video by Michael Poggenburg