This Week in Arts: Weekly Roundup (2/9)

I was going to do some sort of a romance theme with this week’s roundup, but it seems the stars are aligned against the hearts: this week’s openings are about as un-romantic as it gets. So all the romance you’re getting here are the hearts on this week’s cover photo, which I hope you’ll agree are indeed pretty lovely.

This week, for your enjoyment: werewolves, a campus assault, a grandma who will beat you up, and plenty more. Er … Amore! 

Ticketing links for most shows can be found on the Performance Calendar page here.  



Intiman Theatre: The Mystery of Irma Vep

A genre-blending, gender-bending, “achingly campy” sci-fi romp
In previews, opens 2/10, closing 2/26. In Seattle (Capitol Hill).

Jesse Calixto and Helen Roundhill in Intiman Theatre’s ‘The Mystery of Irma Vep’. Photo by Joe Moore.

The Mystery of Irma Vep opened off-Broadway in 1998 (and off-off-Broadway before that), but it reads like a campy old trash novel — a penny dreadful, as the cheap outlandish books were called.

That’s by design. The play satirizes Victorian refinements, includes werewolves and vampires and other monsters, and takes a farcical approach to stage craft, with its two actors relying on quick-changes and discarding gender bounds to hop back and forth between the play’s several characters.

It’s the sort of stuff that director Jasmine Joshua runs gleefully toward. On directing this “achingly campy show with a bunch of base stupid jokes,” they reported, “This cast’s willingness to test the limits of every bit has been a treasure. The design team has put up with my constant asking for unreasonably stupid props, costume bits, and scenic dressing and boy have they delivered!”

Joshua’s quick laugh, fondness for the absurd, and penchant for gender fuckery make them a natural fit for steering this show, which essentially turns on all three of those things. As for what’s been most fun about approaching this particular show during this time of isolation? “Laughing my ass off at every rehearsal. … My goal was to run up to the line of ‘Is this too much?’ and choose whether or not we should kiss it or throw up on it. Let us know what you think!”

Will it be good? I have no idea — I’m not even sure it’s designed to be. But it should be a lot of fun.

Tickets are $25-$65, here. A minimum of 20 free tickets are available at the door for each show; see info here.


Macha Theatre Works: The Fifth Wave

Fearless Female Theatre in a new play from two local playwrights
In previews, opens 2/11, closing 2/27. In Seattle (Fremont).

‘The Fifth Wave’ from Macha Theatre Works opens 2/11. Photo by Lia Sima Fakhouri.

This world premiere play by Jenn Ruzumna and Lisa Every finds a former feminist icon (played by Seattle stage icon Mari Nelson) now comfortably ensconced in the ivory tower. But her loyalties are tested when a claim of sexual assault rocks the campus, and her long-suppressed rage begins to rise again.

As director Amy Poisson explains, “The Fifth Wave, which refers to the fifth wave of Feminism, is about where we are going, do we ever go too far, and how do we get to a place of equality without destroying others along the way.”

Set to go on in March 2020, the premiere was postponed and then canceled indefinitely. As the months stretched on, Poisson (who’s also Macha’s Producing Artistic Director) wondered what times would look like when a premiere was finally possible. “Will it hold up? Is it still relevant? The answer, sadly, is yes. With attacks on women’s rights at an all-time high, the discussion of consent and women having agency over their lives and their bodies is still an important and timely topic.”

Tickets are $11-$101 (sliding scale available to all), here.


Sara Porkalob @ Cafe Nordo: Dragon Lady
Sara Porkalob performs ‘Dragon Lady.’ Photo by Robert Wade for Intiman Theatre.

The original Dragon Cycle matriarch   
Opens 2/11, closing 3/6. In Seattle (Pioneer Square).

Many people who have never met her know the lore of Sara Porkalob’s grandma, the fabled Dragon Lady. Porkalob’s many iterations of the show that started it all have performed with theatres as varied as Annex Theatre, Cafe Nordo, Intiman Theatre, and American Repertory Theater (at Harvard). Now, Porkalob presents the latest iteration, a different show than the dinner theatre version presented here years earlier, that promises to be full of grandma lore and karaoke.

For me, a Dragon Cycle show has never disappointed; Maria Porkalob, Sr.’s journey is quite a ride.

And so is her daughter’s. The youngest of the Dragons heads to Broadway soon after this run to perform as Edward Rutledge in 1776 at the Roundabout Theatre (opening scheduled for this fall; postponed from 2020). Porkalob is also performing Dragon Mama (in repertory with Dragon Lady, thru 3/6) at Cafe Nordo before heading east.

Read NWT’s 2019 interview with Sara Porkalob on her Dragon Cycle, numerous other works, and artist-activism here.

Tickets are $30-$55 (limited number of reduced price tickets available for every performance), here. Note: unlike most Nordo shows, dinner is not included in the show. A separate pre-show dinner option is available.

* * *

Book-It Repertory Theatre: Beowulf  (runs 2/10-27).  Online viewing only.

18th & Union: David & Goliath  (runs 2/14-28). Online viewing only.

The 5th Avenue Theatre: Jersey Boys  (touring) (runs 2/15-20). In Downtown Seattle.

Seattle Rep: Freestyle Love Supreme  (touring) (runs 2/16-3/13). At Seattle Center (Mercer side).

Seattle Shakespeare Company: Drum & Colors – Hamlet  (2/16-3/13) (opening 2/18). At Seattle Center.


Short Runs  

Seattle Theatre Group & On the Boards @ The Moore: Kyle Abraham – A.I.M  (2/10 only). In Downtown Seattle.

The Atomic Bombshells @ The Triple Door: J’Adore  (2/11-14). In Downtown Seattle.

Jerboa Dance @ Yaw Theatre: Delirium  (2/11-13). In Seattle (Georgetown).

Tacoma Opera @ Urban Grace Church: L’Enfant Prodigue (The Prodigal Son)  (2/12-13). In Tacoma.


Closing Soon 

‘She Kills Monsters’ at Red Curtain. Photo by Kenny Randall.
Red Curtain Foundation for the Arts: She Kills Monsters

Don’t Miss. “On both the fantasy world and the real world of teenage woes central to this play, Red Curtain delivers beautifully. … I heartily recommend taking an adventure with this play.”

Closing 2/13, in Marysville. Tickets ($22) here.

See NWT’s full review of ‘She Kills Monsters’ here.  


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Pacific Northwest Ballet: Roméo et Juliette  (closing 2/13). At Seattle Center (Mercer St.).

Seattle Public Theatre: Mala  (closing 2/13). In Seattle (Green Lake). See NWT’s Quick Takes review of ‘Mala’ here.

Seattle Rep, Fannie: The Music and Life of Fannie Lou Hamer  (closing 2/13). In Seattle (Seattle Center/Mercer St.). See NWT’s Quick Takes review of ‘Fannie’ here. (Update: full review here.)  

Tacoma Musical Playhouse: Disenchanted!  (closing 2/13). In Tacoma.


Continuing Runs  

ArtsWest: Monsters of the American Cinema  (closing 2/20). In West Seattle. See NWT’s Quick Takes review of ‘Monsters of the American Cinema’ here.

SecondStory Rep: Copenhagen  (closing 2/20). In Redmond.

Bremerton Community Theatre: Death of a Salesman  (closing 2/27). In Bremerton.

Phoenix Theatre: 37 Postcards  (closing 2/27). In Edmonds.

Taproot Theatre: See How They Run  (closing 3/5). In Seattle (Greenwood). See NWT’s Quick Takes review of ‘See How They Run’ here.

Sara Porkalob @ Cafe Nordo: Dragon Mama  (closing 3/6). See NWT’s Quick Takes review of ‘Dragon Mama’ here.

Seattle Children’s Theatre: Red Riding Hood  (closing 3/6). At Seattle Center.

Village Theatre: Songs for a New World  (closing 2/13 in Issaquah; runs 2/18-3/13 in Everett). In Issaquah & Everett. See NWT’s review here.

Can Can Culinary Cabaret: Ooh La La  (closing 5/1). In Seattle (Pike Place).

The Roundup is a weekly (ish) feature. Want to plan your show schedule further out? See NWT’s 2022 Shows list, which aims to list just about every theatre show in town. For shows by day and ticketing info, see the Performance Calendar.

Chase D. Anderson is Editor & Producer of NWTheatre.org.