Paul Gude reading to an audience member from his children's book.

Theatrical Impression: April into May Round-Up

May 14, 2014

I suck.

I have been seeing plays since the end of March (it’s now mid-May!?!) and have just not been writing about them.


I produced some of the shows. or I saw them at the end of a run. and I saw one not in St. Paul, MN. also, I’ve been dating. and I’ve been putting together my proposals for Annex. but mostly, I suck.

Writing is a good practice. In 2014, I have not been writing as much as I would like. Every few weeks I try to start a practice of writing every day, but I don’t do it. Dissatisfaction in other areas of my life has led me to come up with a whole list of excuses, and none are valid. So here, today, now, I’m going to write a round-up. A quick, little-detailed summary of all of the shows I saw since the end of March. Here we go.

The Importance of Being Earnest at Seattle Shakespeare

Hana Lass as Cecily Cardew and Quinn Franzen as Algernon Moncrieff.

This play was fun. The casting was delightful–especially having married couple Connor Toms and Hana Lass in kitty corner roles of Cecily and Jack–and the actors had a great gasp on the language. Quinn Franzen was certainly my favorite for the role of Algernon. The set was lovely, and the costumes were a treat to see. Overall, it was pure candy. I also may have laughed too hard, causing an older gentleman in front of me to turn around a few times as I snorted at the genius of Oscar Wilde.

I curated the April Edition of Spin the Bottle at Annex

I had a great time! And what an honor to produce an evening of my favorite monthly late-night cabaret that happens on every first Friday of the month (next up, June 6 by Scotto Moore!). I got to put together my perfect list of people to participate, then deal with cancellations, special requests, and schedule rearrangements up to the last minute. It was all worth it. We had a good showing house, thankfully. One group had 11 people in it, which always boosts attendance. The night was packed, and very theatre-heavy. I also had a lot of boys, apparently, from all-male speed-dating improv, male smut, a male host, male musicians, poetry and plays by male-identified people… overall a very masculine and telling night of my preferences: men and words.

Moisture Festival at Hale’s Palladium

A friend of mine gave me a free ticket to this show, and to the late night one at 10:30 pm. Unfortunately, I had worked an early day on Friday, then had a late night with Spin the Bottle before, worked again, and had to be up at 6:30 on Sunday morning for work… plus I was getting to sick. Unfortunately, I had to leave after intermission. I got to see a magician, an aerialist, and more. It seemed like a charged evening of comedy, classic and raunchy and new, and I look forward to going next year.

Moby Alpha by Charles at Ballard Underground

Sketch comedy duo Charles: Charlie Stockman & Chuck Armstrong. Photo by Peter
Michael Marino.

Oh yeah, I saw the shit out of this show. And I wrote about it. But apparently my post never posted because I was trying to type it on my iPad while at work, with no internet access. I’ll have to find it later and post it.

Behind the Eye at Park Square Theatre in St. Paul, MN

This play was pretty great. Weird, but great. I was visiting a friend, and she took me to the theatre where she used to work box office. It reminded me of Taproot Theatre in Seattle: small and elegant and clean space, not fringe-y, but not a big repertory house. Park Square Theatre does new and old plays, and Behind the Eye was pretty recently developed. The topic was great–a Vogue model turned WWII photographer deals comes to terms with the end of her life–but I found the style of the play tedious and difficult to follow. There was no intermission, and was, in essence, a one-woman show. There were other characters, and other actors, but the other actors had minimal parts. I wonder what it would have been like to have the sole actress play all of the parts? Some sexual-tension moments would have been lost, but not much else besides. It would have also supported the idea that this woman was entirely obsessed, neglecting her two husbands and child just in pursuit of the perfect photograph. As the sole performer, we would have seen her on focus: herself.

Chaos Theory at Annex Theatre, PWYC Industry Night

From right to left: Drew Highlands, Eddie DeHais, Keiko Green, Jana Hutchison.
Photo by Laura Johnston.

Yes, I was working. Yes, I produced this show. But, it is great. You have 3 more nights left to see Courtney Meaker’s latest foray into comedic/dark writing and Keiko Green’s fierce, fierce performance. GO.

King Lear at Seattle Shakespeare Company

I was going to write about this play last week. Really, truly, I was. But by Monday as I was recovering from a crazy weekend of work and play, I thought, what’s the point? Lear is one of my favorite Shakespeare plays, and it is close to my heart. But this production didn’t make me feel anything. I had very few visceral reactions, even to a gun being pulled out onstage. I didn’t feel so far away from the stage, even being in the last row, but nothing from the actors reached out and grabbed me. The play overall was not very interesting to watch, and Amy Thone–as much as I love, admire, and respect her and her craft–was barely audible and therefore a sucking void onstage. Perhaps it was the Sunday matinee performance, the weird weather and exhaustion of doing a full weekend run. Who knows? But the actor playing Lear was good and some of the costumes worked, in a weird way. Except for Regan’s. Her costume was a bizarre jersey-knit that rode up in what looked like an uncomfortable way. Overall, meh.

Gone Wild: A Savage Romp Through the Animal Kingdom at Annex

Oh, my god. I also helped produce this show, but I wish I had posted this before they closed because this show was amazing. The Libertinis are a neo-burlesque performance group, but also some of the most courteous, friendly, just-plain-excited-to-be-alive-and-making-art-artists I’ve ever had the pleasure of encountering. Super crazysexycool show.

One-Minute Play Festival at ACT Theatre

Again, a meh. I didn’t have high expectations, after speaking with several of the artists involved. Every year, twice a year, 14/48 Projects does a similar and better thing, so I also knew 1MPF could not achieve similar production values. However, some of the plays were well-written, others were well-directed, and I had a great night. I’d be interested to see if this production is done again in Seattle, and what it will look like then.

Shows I missed because of work, exhaustion, other plans, etc.:

Tails of Wasps by New Century Theatre Company

Seattle Vice by Mark Siano and Opal Peachey

Attempts on her Life by The Horse in Motion

Impenetrable by SIS Productions

Quickies by Live Girls! Theater

Baron Samedi at On the Boards

What have you been seeing this spring? And what are you excited about seeing this summer? I’d love to hear.

The featured image is of Paul Gude reading from his children’s book to an audience member at Spin the Bottle. Photo by Laura Johnston.

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