Here comes another busy week in theatre and performance, with at least eight openings, some notable short runs, and the start to a booming arts season in the south end.
The must-see theatre on now in Seattle is Blood Water Paint, from Macha Theatre Works at 12th Avenue Arts on Capitol Hill. Written by Joy McCullough, it weaves together the story of painting great Artemisia Gentileschi and apocryphal figures Judith and Susanna, who serve as both a source of her strength and her painting muses as she defends her painting career (unheard of in the 17th century) and prosecutes the mentor who raped her. Inventive direction by Amy Poisson keenly captures both the steely fortitude and the softness of the leading female characters, and weaves the layers together with a strong cast that includes two aerialists as Judith and Susanna, who visit Gentileschi in her time of need and are memorialized vividly in her paintings.
On top of ample theatre selections, this is also a rich week of good picks in dance. Friday and Saturday, Randy Ford leads a group of Black queer performers in Queen Street, part of the Central District for Arts & Ideas season; info here. And Thursday through Sunday, Ligia Lewis returns to On the Boards for the third in her triptych, this one a dystopian fantasy called Water Will (in Melody); info here. Following last weekend’s strong and varied Fuselage Dance Film Festival at Yaw Theater, the Northwest Film Forum presents two programs of dance film shorts — Motion Reel and Frame by Frame — as part of its Local Sightings film festival, both on Sunday night; info here and here. The screenings cap off the week-long Fall Kick-Off program at Velocity Dance Center, with workshops, community conversations, performances, and more; info here.
Further south, a bustling season from Tacoma Arts Live kicks off this week, with a concert from the multi-Grammy Award-winning neo soul singer India.Arie on Friday (9/20), and a two-day stop on the Rent 20th anniversary national tour next Tuesday and Wednesday (9/24-25). Tickets for both are here. And in between the two dates is the Tacoma Night Market, showcasing local artists of all varieties — from knitters and potters to pie bakers and chowder makers — on Saturday (9/21). The night market is held every third Saturday at Alma Mater, and they’ve added one in Gig Harbor (10/5 is the next), plus another Tacoma one coming to the Museum of Glass in November. Admission for all is free; info here.
In Science Fiction Double Feature, performers L. Nicol Cabe and Aaron J. Shay each examine the future through a science fiction lens. Cabe, a storyteller and solo performer, imagines how biology and technology will smash together in Effing Robots: How I Taught the A.I. to Stop Worrying and Love Humans. In Apocalypse Songs”: Captain Redacted, banjo ballardeer Shay tells of a distant future, in which a resident was sent to explore alternate universes and document his findings in original songs and poetic stories. The double-bill at Copious opens on Thursday and runs through 9/29.
Opening on Friday (with a preview on Thursday) is Necessary Sacrifices, a play about Frederick Douglass and a country divided by slavery and civil war, at Taproot Theatre. Lamar Legend will star as Douglass. It runs through 10/26.
Playwright Amy Escobar — creator of eerie and fantastical worlds (Scary Mary and the Nightmares Nine) — returns with We Go Mad, which opens on Friday at 18th & Union. In a show that features puppetry and shadow play, the story follows a woman who journeys through her family secrets after inheriting a large estate. It runs through 10/5.
Also opening Friday, the latest dinner theatre from Cafe Nordo, Violet’s Attic: A Grand Ball for Wicked Dolls, is full of creepy-looking lifesize toys and a whimsical menu; it runs through November 23. The Funhouse Family returns with Funhouse V, a festival of short plays by seven playwrights, which brings “an absurdist lens” to the local cultural landscape; it runs at Annex Theatre through 9/28. And Renton Civic Theatre opens The Butler Did It, a parody and murder mystery, which runs through 10/5.
On Saturday, Yen opens at ACT Theatre, in partnership with the Kenan Fellowship in Directing. It runs through 9/29.
And Indecent, at Seattle Repertory Theatre, enters previews this Friday. It opens next Wednesday (9/25) and runs through 10/26.
Short Runs & More
Tonight, Parley opens a three-day run at U-Heights of Death in the Digital Age, by local playwright drew david combs. In it, the central character finds himself on a raft ride with the physical manifestation of Death. Tickets are all pay-what-you-can, available here.
On Tuesday, two one-night shows are worthy picks. Playwright Kelleen Conway Blanchard will read at Loud Mouth Lit with Paul Mullins at St. Andrews Bar near Green Lake (info here); and the very funny podcast creators Val Nigro and Clara Pluton will record an episode of their Hot Takes w/ Hot Dykes at Town Hall (info here).
And next Thursday at the Palace Theatre and Art Bar in Georgetown, Seattle Playwrights Salon hosts readings of two one-act plays: Death Do Us by Mackenzie Courtney, and Live Site Incident by Eric Jenkins. Miryam Gordon directs. Admission is by donation ($10 suggested); info here.
Among the closings this week are the very funny Washer/Dryer from SIS Productions and Pratidhwani, which runs through 9/22 at Theatre Off Jackson (see NWT’s review here); the mythological revenge tale Is God Is, from Washington Ensemble Theatre with the Hansberry Project, which runs through 9/23 at 12th Avenue Arts (see NWT’s review here); the 30th anniversary show for Summerplay from the Changing Scene Theatre Northwest, which runs through 9/21 at the Dukesbay Theater in downtown Tacoma; and the popular Indy Jones and the Raiders of the Last Temple of the Doomed Ark from The Habit Comedy, which runs through 9/22 at Seattle Public Theater.
Wednesday Roundup is a weekly (ish) feature, with NWT’s picks for the upcoming week and recaps around town.
Want to plan your show schedule further out? See what’s happening on NWT’s Calendar page, which aims to list just about every theatre show in town. And for news on all the openings each month see Miryam Gordon’s openings coverage here.