There are a lot of shows you could see this weekend and not go wrong, but a few shows really stand out — and they’re closing soon. Here’s what I’d focus on if I ran your agenda.
For performances March 4 and 5.
SecondStory Rep: The Revolutionists
Closing Sunday in Redmond
This very funny show brings a deceptively hard look at who controls history
Lauren Gunderson is so frequently produced — she sits atop American Theatre‘s list of most-produced (non-Shakespeare) playwrights once again, this time in a tie with Lynn Nottage — and The Revolutionists is quite oft-produced among her array. I had already declined to see at least a couple of Seattle-area productions of this one because it hadn’t been long enough since the last time I saw it, and I hadn’t planned on seeing this take, either. But the stars aligned and the mood was right, and I showed up in Redmond with frosted cookies for dinner, ready for the guillotine.
As for you: Do you really need to see The Revolutionists again? Here, the answer is yes.
The material sounds heavy and academic — it’s about four women facing execution during the French Revolution — but their (fictionalized) interactions with each other are portrayed here just right, giving insight into both the historical and the nature of storytelling itself. And the show’s unlikely humor often makes it as light as that buttercream.
On its intimate stage overlooking a suburban mall, Redmond’s SecondStory Rep has pulled together quite a show. The actors are excellent, direction is smooth, and design elements are at once clear, lush, and moody. This is a production that has vision, delivers on it, and plays up the humor without losing sight of the solemn and profound. Come together and laugh, and leave immersed in thought but far from weighted down in it.
Featuring Shana Emile (as Marianne Angelle, a composite character based on Haitian revolutionaries), Jennifer Reif (as playwright Olympe de Gouges), Sara Schweid (as assassin Charlotte Codray), and Christina WIlliams (as ousted queen Marie Antoinette). Directed by Alicia Mendez. Production design by Mark Chenovick. Costume design by Elizabeth Shipman.
Show info and tickets here.
Short-Run Dance Shows
Closing Sunday in Seattle
Catch a festival of student-made short works or a prominent trans choreographer. Or both.
This month’s dance schedule is bursting to excess, and dance fans who are just coming out of the single-night explosion of dance-theatre-farce that is Kidd Pivot (earlier this week at The Paramount) might be tempted to snooze through this weekend.
Try to resist that urge.
Kicking off Velocity Dance Center’s sprint of a spring season is the San Francisco-based Sean Dorsey Dance Company, helmed by one the few trans choreographers prominent in the dance world. (Among recent accomplishments: on top of touring Dorsey’s choreographed works, the company has created a slew of dance films, and its founder was featured on the cover of Dance magazine.)
After performing here in 2019 (Boys in Trouble), Dorsey and company return with a new work, The Lost Art of Dreaming: “an invitation to embrace expansive imagination, reconnect with longing, connect with joy and pleasure, and propel ourselves toward loving Futures.” Held at 12th Avenue Arts.
Looking for a big variety of high-energy short works? Look to this season’s UW Dance Majors Concert, which presents 11 student-choreographed works exploring an array of themes (including identity, gender, isolation, belonging, and celebration) through a mix of genres (contemporary ballet, vogue, hip-hop, and contemporary modern). Held at Meany Hall’s intimate studio theatre.
Seattle Opera: A Thousand Splendid Suns
Performs Sunday and next week at the Seattle Center
This most cinematic of operas is a gripping tale
Been trying to drag a reluctant guest to the opera? Start with this one. Hoping to catch a compelling modern one yourself? Ditto.
This staging of Khaled Hosseini’s well-known novel has all the drama an opera could hope for: murder and vengeance, aging and youth, treachery and doomed love. The music is energetic, moody, and modern, with heavy doses of foreboding — adding to the work’s overall cinematic feel. This opera is about as close to a movie, in pacing and look, as it gets. And the English-language telling is more accessible for intro-level fans than the usual opera.
None of this cheapens the story, a series of tragedies in a real-life backdrop that’s gotten too real again. But it ends with some hope. And the final scene, a decision made in bright light with clarity and full self-determination, at last, will stick with you.
Based on the novel by Khaled Hosseini. By Sheila Silver (music) and Stephen Kitsakos (libretto). Directed by Roya Sadat. In English with supertitles. Run time: 3 hours, with intermission.
Show info and tickets here.