This Week in Arts: Weekly Roundup (11/3)
This week, find wholly new takes on classic tales, pick up an acclaimed local playwright’s new book, welcome the return of the dinner-theatre-circus, and visit openings at small theatres and giant stages alike.
Ticketing links for most shows can be found on the Performance Calendar page here.
Openings & Short Runs
Not / Our Town – Pony World Theatre @ 12th Avenue Arts
Choose your own adventure
Opens 11/4 (Friday), runs through 12/3. In Seattle (Capitol Hill).
Pony World has a knack for creating ambitious, thoughtful, and absurd works (remember the redeployment of Chekov for the office setting in Suffering, Inc.?), and the company’s new one fits proudly within that tradition.
Here, Artistic Director Brendan Healy has imploded the arguably played-out classic Thornton Wilder play — the joys of public-domain works — and created something designed to be totally new … including, perhaps, to someone who saw the show just the night before.
In this modern take that wholly re-creates Our Town, each night’s audience members are asked to complete a survey to decide among an unusual array of possibilities. Would they rather see German performance art, a take on sci-fi “B” movies, or a scene that’s brand new to everyone (including the actors)? Do they gravitate toward gritty good cop/bad cop exchanges or Agatha Christie-style mysteries? Puppets? Props? Dance?
It’s all part of an effort to get to the hardy themes of a classic, while keeping them fresh and theatrical for new audiences — whatever their feelings on, or exposure to, the original. For Healy, the challenge (and the fun) is in “finding different, irreverent ways to tackle these stories we’ve been told for decades or centuries are so important,” while adding a good dose of much-needed joy in the mix.
In addition to a welcome zaniness, the survey and the show’s countless variations are meant to serve a thematic purpose, too — creating an experience that’s both unique and communal, a slice of life shared only by those in the same place at the same time. Says Healy, “The people in that theatre will sit together for this one evening and experience something that will never repeat, and then their time together is passed, gone. That right there is the heart of Our Town. So the survey takes the themes of the original and transforms them into the actual experience of seeing the show itself.”
Tickets are $24, with pay-what-you-choose performances on 11/10, 11/14, and 11/27. Show info and tickets here.
Want to reconnect with the classic version? Cornish College of the Arts has a staged reading this weekend, helmed by veteran directors Sheila Daniels (Seattle Rep, ACT, others) and Robin Lynn Smith (founder, Freehold Engaged Theatre), conveniently timed to let you tune into the classic Our Town and Pony World’s new take in the same weekend. Readings are held Saturday afternoon and Sunday night (11/5-6 only), at the campus’ theatre on Denny.
Meanwhile, Corners Grove follows young people as they grow up and leave a modern Our Town, fall in love, explore gender identity, and come to terms with the death of Whitney Houston. Described as “a story about growing up and hometowns, friendship and drinking in parking lots,” written and directed by Kaela Mei-Shing Garvin, Corners Grove performs throughout the weekend at Cornish Playhouse (on Mercer, at the Seattle Center).
Find info and tickets for both Cornish shows here.
Stacy D. Flood: The Salt Fields
My grandmother would tell such stories when I was small, to remind me that sometimes survival is relative.
Seattle audiences have been treated to the richness of Stacy D. Flood’s stories for years as a playwright, and to those Flood adds his debut novella, The Salt Fields. In it, the central character finds himself on a train headed north, accompanied by the ghosts of family members, and crammed into the car with three passengers whose hidden motives will determine his course.
In an event presented by the Northwest African American Museum and the Seattle Public Library Foundation, Flood will discuss his book at SPL’s Douglass-Truth branch, tonight at 6.
As an added bonus, DayoSense Catering will serve appetizers, and attendees receive a copy of Flood’s book. Registration is free by email to email@example.com.
See book information and purchase a copy from Third Place Books here, among others, or view book preview here (Amazon).
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The Williams Project: The Amen Corner co-production @ Langston (in previews, opens tonight, closing 11/20). In Seattle (Central District).
Kitsap Children’s Musical Theatre: Elf: The Musical (opens tonight, closing 11/20). In Poulsbo.
Acts on Stage: Tia Naché – That Talk You Do (opens 11/4, closing 11/13). In White Center.
Pacific Northwest Ballet: The Season’s Canon (opens 11/4, closing 11/13). At the Seattle Center (Mercer St. side).
Blue Hour Theatre Group: Boom @ Youngstown Cultural Arts Center (opens 11/4, closing 11/19). In West Seattle (Delridge).
Reboot Theatre: Jesus Christ Superstar @ Theatre Off Jackson (opens 11/4, closing 11/19). In Seattle (International District).
Olympia Family Theater: Dragons Love Tacos (opens 11/4, closing 11/20). In Olympia.
Seattle Theatre Group: Dance Theatre of Harlem – Sounds of Hazel: The Hazel Scott Ballet @ The Paramount (11/5 only). In Downtown Seattle.
Parley: Yom Kippur – reading (runs 11/5-6). Online only.
Dance Tantra and Sadhana: Dhrupad Jhankaar 2022 @ Kirkland Performance Center (11/6 only). In Kirkland.
Broadway at The Paramount – Seattle Theatre Group: Jagged Little Pill @ The Paramount Theatre (opens 11/8, closing 11/13). In Downtown Seattle.
University of Puget Sound Theatre Arts: Troy the Hillian (closing 11/5). In Tacoma.
Olympia Little Theatre: Leaving Iowa (closing 11/6). In Olympia.
Red Curtain Foundation for the Arts: The Rocky Horror Show (closing 11/6). In Marysville.
Seattle Children’s Theatre: The Boy Who Kissed the Sky (closing 11/6). At the Seattle Center.
Tacoma Little Theatre: Murder on the Orient Express (closing 11/6). In Tacoma.
Woodinville Repertory Theatre: Ghost-Writer @ Sammamish Grange Hall (closing 11/6). In Woodinville.
The Original Theatre Black Dog: The Glass Menagerie @ NOD Theater (closing 11/12). In Seattle (Capitol Hill).
SecondStory Repertory Theatre: Starmites Pro (on hiatus this weekend; closing 11/13). In Redmond.
Cafe Nordo: Down the Rabbit Hole (closing 11/19). In Seattle (Pioneer Square). See NWT’s review here.
Bremerton Community Theatre: The Odd Couple (closing 11/20). In Bremerton.
Café Nordo: Spirit Parlour (closing 11/20). In Seattle (Pioneer Square).
Seattle Shakespeare Company: Macbeth (closing 11/20). At the Seattle Center.
Village Theatre: Little Shop of Horrors (closing 11/20). In Everett. See NWT’s review here.
Can Can Culinary Cabaret: The Hitchcock Hotel (closing 11/27). In Seattle (Pike Place Market). See NWT’s review here.
The Roundup is a weekly (ish) feature. For this month’s shows by day, with ticketing info and links, see the Performance Calendar.
Want to plan your show schedule further out? See NWT’s seasonal show lists — Holiday Season (November & December) and an early look at 2023 — which aim to list just about every theatre show in town.
Chase D. Anderson is Editor & Producer of NWTheatre.org.