Barreling Past Mediocrity and Stagnation, Shoving Conformist Theater into Deathly Abyss

On Stage This Week

Send theater listings two weeks in advance to Openings & Previews 365 Days/365 Plays Suzan-Lori Parks' yearlong theater project, a cycle of 365 short plays, offers one- to 10-minute performances from a great variety of performers in venues across the city. Week 1: The Mahogany Project at Joanna's Soul Cafe, 2514 E. Cherry St. 7:30 p.m. Wed. Nov. 15-Sat. Nov. 18, 3 p.m. Sun. Nov. 19. Week 2: Akropolis Performance Lab at Volunteer Park Water Tower, 8 p.m. Mon. Nov. 20-Tues. Nov. 21, and at N.W. 45th Street and University Way, 4 p.m. Wed. Nov. 22. The Book of Nathan In Joe Mitchell's play, winner of the 2005 Northwest Playwright Competition, an African-American Army chaplain in prison is offered a pardon at a high cost. Theater Schmeater, 1500 Summit Ave., 206-325-6500,, $18 (18 and under free). Free preview Thurs. Nov. 16; opens Fri. Nov. 17. 8 p.m. Thurs.-Sat. Ends Sat. Dec. 18. Children of Eden Stephen (Wicked) Schwartz's 1991 musical based on the book of Genesis. Civic Light Opera at Magnuson Community Center, 7400 Sand Point Way N.E., 206-363-2809, $25-$35. Opens Fri. Nov. 17. 8 p.m. Fri.-Sat., 2 p.m. Sun. Ends Sun. Dec. 3. A Dangerous Age A romance between a Marine and an actor—both played by Mark Pinkosh—in Godfrey Hamilton's one-man comedy/drama, receiving its U.S. premiere. Balagan Theatre at Capitol Hill Arts Center (CHAC), Lower Level, 1621 12th Ave., 800-838-3006,, $9-$15. Opens Thurs. Nov. 16. 7:30 p.m. Thurs.-Sat., 2 p.m. Sun. Ends Sat. Dec. 2. Drugs Short, sinister comedies about foot soldiers in the War on Drugs. Waffle Theater at Seattle Center House, fourth floor, 206-888-8791. $5. 8 p.m. Fri. Nov. 17-Sat. Nov. 18 only. The Gingerbread Boy Hijinks in a holiday cookie factory in this family puppet play. Thistle Theatre at Bellevue Youth Theatre, 16661 Northrup Way, Bellevue, 206-524-3388, $7-$9. 2 & 4 p.m. Sat. Nov. 18-Sun. Nov. 19 only. Love is Love Four actresses play 12 characters in musical vignettes inspired by essays in the New York Times' "Modern Love" column. Music and lyrics by Rich Gray and Martin Charnin. Village Theatre Village Originals at The Moore Theatre, 1932 Second Ave., 425-392-2202, $20. 8 p.m. Tues. Nov. 21, 2 & 7:30 p.m. Wed. Nov. 22 only. Memory House In Kathleen Tolan's play, a divorced woman confronts her departing daughter on New Year's Eve. Allison Narver directs. Seattle Repertory Theatre at the Leo K. Theatre, Seattle Center, Second Avenue and Mercer Street, 206-443-2222, $10-$40. Previews begin Thurs. Nov. 16; opens Tues. Nov. 21. 7:30 p.m. Tues.-Sat., 2 p.m. Sat.-Sun. Ends Sun. Dec. 17. The Peer Gynt Project An adaptation of Ibsen's, um . . . what do you call a bildungsroman if it's a play? A bildungsspiel? Part I opens 8 p.m. Fri. Nov. 17; Part II opens 8 p.m. Sat. Nov. 18. Various times and dates through Dec. 3; for schedule. Free. Revenge of Tokyo 2025 A collaborative/interactive music/dance/performance art event/party, staged by Social Living Productions, taking as its theme past and future visions of Japan. Barca, 1510 11th Ave., $15-$17. 9 p.m. Sat. Nov. 18 only. The Secret Ruths of Island House A special fund-raising performance of this play (an original play built around real-life interviews with seven women named Ruth who live in a retirement home in Mercer Island) that won honors and accolades at fringe festivals in San Francisco, Boulder, and New York City. Nebunele Theatre at the Theatre Off Jackson, 409 Seventh Ave. S., 800-838-3006, $15-$18. 7:30 p.m. Wed. Nov. 15.

Tres Historias de la Vida (Three Life Stories) A Spanish-language play about coping with diabetes developed from real-life stories. Betcha wont see anything like this at Seattle Rep. Rainier Valley Cultural Center, 3515 S. Alaska St. Free. 2 p.m. Sat. Nov. 18.

Last Chance The Air is Peopled With Cruel and Fearsome Birds Implied Violence's stated mission is "to barrel past mediocrity and stagnation, and to shove conformist theatre into a deathly [sic] abyss." Their latest creation, The Air is Peopled with Cruel and Fearsome Birds, foregoes a linear structure, or anything resembling a plot, and orbits around a dejected woman named Hester played by actors Mandie O'Connell and drcm. It's the first and last piece to make an appearance at Vill-ville, a makeshift theatre space that combines dorm-room disorganization with bozo chic. Thrown into the mix are more props than you can shake a stick at, including frilly red panties, fruit, and cap guns. Channeling Artaud's Theater of Cruelty, Implied Violence uses choreography and strident, often repetitive sound to convey emotion, but cream pies tossed into pie-holes nip any sentimentality in the bud, ironically resulting in a fat-free pathos. Vill-ville, 1534 First Ave. S., 206-340-2703, $5-$15. 8 p.m. Fri.-Sat. Ends Sat. Nov. 18. SUZANNE BEAL Best of Train of Thought The greatest hits from four years of shows by this comedy trio. Northwest Actor's Studio, Cabaret Theater, 1100 E. Pike St., 3rd floor, $8-$10. 10:30 p.m. Fri.-Sat. Ends Sat. Nov. 18. Cowboy Versus Samurai Do catch this little-play-that-could—it's a hilarious commentary on racial stereotypes under the umbrella of a modern-day Cyrano de Bergerac love story. Written by Michael Golamco and directed by Miko Premo, Samurai follows a Caucasian cowboy, Del (Travis Myers), and the only two Asian-Americans, Travis (Ray Tagavilla) and Chester (Jose Abaoag), in Breakneck, Wyo., as their lives become amusingly disrupted by the arrival of Veronica Lee (Khanh Doan), a Korean-American from New York City. Travis—the show's standout star—soon learns about Veronica's "preferences" for white men, so he decides to help Del win her love, through poignant letters. The combative-but-lovable Chester provides comic relief throughout. He worships Bruce Lee, protests a transcontinental railroad celebration, and dresses as a ninja, all while trying to figure out which Asian country he hails from (he doesn't know—the play explains why). Besides the conversation on prejudice and interracial dating you'll have afterward, the play's best contribution to your life will be the inside jokes you'll later throw around with your friends. Any other "stupid dumbs" out there? SIS Productions at Richard Hugo House, 1634 11th Ave., 206-323-9443, $8-$12. 8 p.m. Fri., 3 & 8 p.m. Sat. Ends Sat. Nov. 18. MOLLY LORI Hogwash An improvised tale in which kids guide the "choose your own story" format. Jerk Alert Productions at the Historic University Theater, Historic University Theater, 5510 University Ave. N.E., 206-297-1767. $10. 2 p.m. Sat. Ends Sat. Nov. 18. I Thought I Heard Elliott Bay Jack Cook and his Blues band, the Phantoms of Soul, tell the story of Seattle's early blues scene in the 1950s through song and narration in this "bluesical" based on the journal of Northwest blues scholar Raymond Barrow. Unity Theater, Unity Masonic Lodge, 2nd floor, 119 North Bend Way, North Bend, $10-$12.50. 7:30 p.m. Fri.-Sat. Ends Sat. Nov. 18. The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe This dramatization by students aged 6 to 18 is not a professional production, but that doesn't stop kids from enjoying it. In fact, children get a kick out of seeing actors their age. The performance is a valiant effort at C.S. Lewis' classic story of children lost in a bewitched land—complete with sword fights, English accents, and snow falling upon a well-crafted set. Youth Theatre Northwest, 8805 S.E. 40th St., Mercer Island, 206-232-4145 ext. 109, $11-$15. 7 p.m. Fri., 2 & 7 p.m. Sat., 2 p.m. Sun. Ends Sun. Nov. 19. NINA SHAPIRO Native Son Intiman's production of Native Son (adapted from Richard Wright's novel by Wright and Paul Green, directed by Kent Gash) opens with a breathtaking image: out of the darkness emerges actor Ato Essandoh in the lead role, his bare body bathed in an eerie, shimmering light. Frozen in a Jesus pose, he stares brazenly into the ether, defying the audience to behold his complete exposure. As Bigger Thomas, one of the great antiheroes of 20th-century literature, Essandoh is a revelation, embodying the character in all his hellish complexity: the haughty swagger that walks a faultline of fear, the maniac rage, the absurd hilarity of Bigger's fate. It is an awesome performance, as riveting as can be and utterly in tune with the mad, jazzy march of Wright's narrative. Bigger's story—centered on his accidental murder of the debauched, idealistic daughter of a piously liberal couple who hire him as their driver—is stripped to its bare elements; where Wright's novel was gritty, insular, and deliberate, the play is heavily symbolic and at times laden with a kind of postmodern artifice, devices such as mock-newsreel narration and characters who directly address the audience. The language is sharp, melodic, and occasionally shockingly harsh. Gash does a keen job orchestrating these elements, giving the production a consistent atmosphere of brooding dread, eased at moments by bursts of streetwise humor and by the fine musical accompaniment of guitarist/composer Chic Street Man. Intiman Theater, 201 Mercer St., Seattle Center, 206-269-1900, 8 p.m. Fri.-Sat., 7:30 p.m. Wed.-Thurs. & Sun.; also 2 p.m. matinees most Sat. & Sun. Ends Sun. Nov. 19. RICHARD MORIN The Phaedra Project "Piteous object. Trophy of the wrath of heaven." Lovers of language shouldn't miss this adaptation of the plays of Racine and Euripides, in which passion tears apart a royal family who repeatedly, eloquently damn each other to hell, or to whatever fate the gods have in store. Fringe theater group Ghost Light's goal is to "tell timeless stories so that they resonate with a modern audience;" founder Beth Raas, who directs Phaedra, has accomplished that here with an intimate set and powerful performances. Ghost Light Theatricals at The Chamber Theater, Oddfellows Building, 915 E. Pine St., 4th floor, 800-838-3006,, $10-$12. 7:30 p.m. Fri.-Sat., 2 p.m. Sun. Ends Sun. Nov. 19. RACHEL SHIMP Pork Filled PlayersGo East, Young Ham! is this Asian-American sketch comedy troupe's latest show. Richard Hugo House, 1634 11th Ave., 206-325-6500,, $6-$9. 10:30 pm. Fri.-Sat. Ends Fri. Nov. 17. W(h)acked Making up for a lack of representation on stage, Live Girls! Theater has dedicated itself since 1999 to producing new work by women. Stephanie Timm's world premiere of W(h)acked might be the first to take to take the idea of a world without men to such extravagant lengths. Sister Lottie Limerick-Peevy is the Lizzie Borden- style icon of a small group of female serial killers whose victims are exclusively male and, by necessity, pure as the driven snow. Given that a good man is hard to find, their acts of murder have been few and far between. Live Girls! Theater, 2220 N.W. Market St., 800-838-8006, $10-$15. 8 p.m. Thurs.-Fri., 4 & 8 p.m. Sat. Ends Sat. Nov. 18. SUZANNE BEAL The Winter's Tale Shakespeare's story of jealousy and forgiveness is pushed into the realm fantastic with director Mark Harrison's masterful reimagining. Stark, evocative sets and skilled use of color set the Bard's story free on an open but rich stage, and deliver a beautiful fairytale with real heartwarming power. Strong performances by Paul Stetler and Jayne Muirhead, with the comic genius of Troy Fischnaller and a fine supporting cast, are powerfully enhanced by the minimal design, nuanced costumery, and delicate lighting. They suggest an unplaceable pan-asian aesthetic that lends a timeless quality, while the use of paper cranes, puppetry, and sailing ships conjures an air of fantasy. The bear alone should not be missed. The strong production team very effectively maximized the Center House Theatre's intimate setting with original work, and propelled this lesser-known comedy into a wonderfully memorable tale. Center House Theatre at Seattle Center, 206-733-8222, $18-$32. 7:30 p.m. Thurs.-Sat., 2 p.m. Sat.-Sun. Ends Sun. Nov. 19. NEIL CORCORAN You're a Good Man, Charlie BrownPeanuts live! SPU Theatre at E.E. Bach Theatre, McKinley Hall, Seattle Pacific University, 3307 Third Ave. W., 206-281-2959. $8-$10. 7:30 p.m. Thurs.-Fri., 2 p.m. Sat. Ends Sat. Nov. 18. Continuing Runs Anything Goes Love and hijinks on a transatlantic ocean liner in this Cole Porter classic. SecondStory Repertory at Redmond Town Center, 16587 N.E. 74th St., Redmond, 425-881-6777, $20-$26. 8:15 p.m. Fri.-Sat. and Thurs. Nov. 30, 2:15 p.m. matinees Sun. Nov. 19 & 26. Ends Sat. Dec. 2. Bedroom Farce Studies say the more sex a couple has, the happier they are. Or is it the happier the couple, the more sex they have? Either way, the adage seems to hold true for young and old alike, as we peek into their lives on the tiny Stone Soup stage. Aside from the false British accents, the acting was right on, the scenarios plausible, and the mood fun, spiraling into manic. Tracking how one couple's neuroses spill into the lives of the more- and less-happy couples around them, Bedroom Farce lives up to its name. In this intimate theater, you'll feel like a bit of a voyeur, especially during the onstage costume changes. If you sit in the front row, make sure you don't get your toes stepped on. Stone Soup Theatre, 4035 Stone Way N., 206-325-6500, $10-$22. 7:30 p.m. Thurs.-Sat., 3:30 p.m. Sat. Ends Sat. Nov. 25. ADRIANA GRANT Bye Bye Birdie Teen idol Conrad Birdie (think Elvis-but-not-quite) is about to join the Army, but not before he turns Sweet Apple, Ohio, upside down with a PR stunt in this favorite musical. Village Theatre, 303 Front St. N., Issaquah, 425-392-2202, $25-$49. 8 p.m. Wed.-Sat., 7:30 p.m. selected Tues., 2 p.m. matinees selected Sat. & Sun., 7 p.m. selected Sun. Ends Sun. Dec. 31. An Evening of Thornton Wilder One-Acts These snapshots of classic Americana are steeped in a seasonally appropriate blend of family drama, nostalgia, and tradition. Wilder weaves a sentimental and yet disturbingly real tapestry of everyday life from 1800 to 1930, building a big world around small things. The Long Christmas Dinner is set (over 90 years) at one family's dining room table; Pullman Car Hiawatha in a sleeper car on New Year's Eve; and The Happy Journey to Trenton and Camden inside a road-tripping automobile. Director John Abramson opts for a sparse stage, letting the actors carry the imagery—it works, but just. These one-acts start stiff and disorienting and build slowly into rich, emotional stories about change. Be sure to bring a hankie . . . and your imagination. Community Theatre at East Hall Theatre, Oddfellows Building, 1525 10th Ave., 2nd floor,, $12-$15. 8 p.m. Thurs.-Sat.; also 8 p.m. Wed. Nov. 29; no shows Thanksgiving weekend. Ends Fri. Dec. 1. KAT ORTLAND Fuh-Geddaboudit Dinner theater with various audience-participation "survival" games that give comic instruction on life in the mafia, including how to perform a proper hit and how to survive FBI surveillance. Includes a four-course Italian dinner. Julia's on Broadway, 300 Broadway E. 800-838-3006,; 206-860-1818, $39.90. 6:30 p.m. Sun. Ends Sun. Dec. 17. The Great Gatsby SEE REVIEW. Wright Theatre at Seattle Repertory Theater, 155 Mercer St., 206-443-2222, $10-$48. 7:30 p.m. Tues.-Sun., 2 p.m. Sat.-Sun.; also 2 p.m. Wed. Nov. 22. Ends Sun. Dec. 10. The House of Yes Think Meet the Parents was hilariously horrific? Wendy McLeod's tale of Thanksgiving with the troubled Pascal family gives the phrase an even darker, but still comic, meaning. Nobody refuses the whims of this tightly-knit, certifiable bunch, not even Marty (Will Chase)'s new fiancé, Lesly (Amanda Stoddard), who falls prey to the house's madness in a creepy scene with Anthony (Brandon Ryan), sound-tracked by Sonic Youth's "Shaking Hell." The set design is spare and effective, and the Absurd Reality actors do an admirable job with the unsettling material, notably Keely Wolter as the outrageously outraged Jackie-O, and Lorraine Montez as her drama queen mother. Your own pre-holiday jitters will pale in comparison.Absurd Reality Theatre at Odd Duck Studio, 1214 10th Ave., 800-838-3006,, $12-$15. 8 p.m. Fri. Nov. 17-Sat. Nov. 18; also Dec. 1-2. Ends Sat. Dec. 2. RACHEL SHIMP Jason & the Golden Fleece John Olive's adaptation of the Greek myth of Jason and the Argonauts, directed by Rita Giomi. Seattle Children's Theatre, Seattle Center, 206-441-4488, $16-$32. 7 p.m. Fri., 2 & 5:30 p.m. Sat.-Sun. Ends Sun. Nov. 26. Late Nite Catechism Maripat Donovan's one-woman show explains everything you wanted to know about the Catholic faith, but were too scared you'd get rapped across the knuckles to ask. ACT Theatre, 700 Union St., 206-292-7676, $24.50-$29.50. 8 p.m. Thurs.-Sat., 2 p.m. Sun. Open run. Menopause: The Musical Jeanie Linders' tuneful celebration of That Time of Life is back at ACT Theatre, 700 Union St., 206-292-7676, $45. 7:30 p.m. Wed.-Fri., 2 & 5:30 p.m. Sat.-Sun. Ends Jan. 31. Naughty! Not naughty as in risque, this original work rehashes Women's Lib 101 for the menopausal set while trying out a series of medium-funny jokes about work, retirement, men, Christmas, and hot flashes. Some audience interaction involved. Partners in Prime Entertainment at Northwest Actors Studio Cabaret, 1100 E. Pike St., 206-371-0107,, $10-$15. 7 p.m. Sun., also 4:30 p.m. matinees Sun. Nov. 19, Dec. 3, 10, 17. Ends Sun. Dec. 17. NEIL CORCORAN Seattle Novyi Theatre This theater troupe, led by artistic director Leonid Anisimov and practicing the Stanislavski System of performance, stages two revolving works by Chekhov, Uncle Vanya and The Seagull. This week, it's the former. SNT at Act in Class, 12301 Sandpoint Way N.E., 800-838-3006,, $10-$12. 7:30 p.m. Sat. Nov. 18. Cabaret & Variety The Bedroom Club A show harkening back to the heyday of burlesque, featuring live music, sketch comedy, and dessert. Burning Hearts Burlesque at the Northwest Actors Studio, 1100 E. Pike St., 206-898-9067,, $10-$15. 10 p.m. Thurs. Open run. Bloodsports A night of surreal wrestling with "exotic fight-cabaret theater troupe" Seattle Semi-Pro Wrestling squaring off against PURE Cirkus. In the ring: DVS, Mr. Fitness, Ronald McFondle, and Jackie Hell. Providing the soundtrack: The Bloodclots, Huh-uh!, DJ Fucking in the Streets, and DJ Recess. 21 and over. Capitol Hill Arts Center, 1621 12th Ave., 206-388-0569,, 800-838-3006, $10-$15. Doors at 8:30 p.m. Sat. Nov. 18 only. Burlesque Behind the Pink Door Upcoming performers include Babette La Fave and Miss Indigo Blue. 21 and over. The Pink Door, 1919 Post Alley, 206-443-3241, $10. 10:30 p.m. Sat. Open run. Tim Conway & Harvey Korman Classic bits and new sketches from the Carol Burnett Show comedy duo. The Paramount Theatre, 911 Pine St., 206-628-0888, $37-$57. 8 p.m. Sat. Nov. 18 only. Le Faux Julia's newest drag show, starring Seattle's finest female impersonators. Julia's on Broadway, 300 Broadway E., 206-334-0513, $10. 10:30 p.m. Sat. Ends Nov. 25. Sinner Saint Burlesque Weekly revue hosted by Mr. Dane Ballard. SSB at Noc Noc, 1516 Second Ave., $5. 10 p.m. Thurs. Open run. Teatro ZinZanni: The Trickster's Trunk The latest installment of the big-top dinner theater stars actor/singer/dancer Melanie Stace and opera singer Rachel DeShon. Teatro ZinZanni, 2301 Sixth Ave., 206-802-0015, $104-$155. 6:30 Thurs.-Sun. Ends Jan. 21. The Von Foxies The "kinky minxes" in this burlesque trio celebrate their second birthday with a special show, featuring Tamara the Trapeze Lady and other guests. Theater Off Jackson, 409 Seventh Ave. S., 800-838-3006, $12-$15. 8 p.m. Sat. Nov. 18. Sketches & Stand-Up Clean Slate Improv Family-friendly comedy on a Granta-like rotating list of themes, every other Saturday night. This time, "Translation." Green Lake Church of Seventh-Day Adventists, 6350 E. Green Lake Way, 206-522-1330. $3 suggested donation. 9 p.m. Sat. Nov. 18. Comedy Underground The long-running humor hangout spotlights seasoned pros as well as up-and-comers. Tuesday at 8:30 is Non-Profit Comedy ($10), benefiting a revolving list of causes and institutions. 222 S. Main St., 206-628-0303,, $6-$15. See website for dates and times. The Cory and Doug Show Three Tuesdays of sketch comedy, hosted by Cory Nealy and Doug Willott. This week, with guests Rebecca Davis, Terri Weagant, and Morgan Peeler. Capitol Hill Arts Center, Lower Level, 1621 12th Ave. $8. 8 p.m. Tues. Nov. 21 & 28. Giggles Comedy Club Stand-up comedians and other entertainers. Thurs. at 9 p.m. is a free open-mike night; Sun. at 9 p.m. is a free "Comedy Showcase"; Fri. and Sat. at 8 & 10 p.m. feature headliners. 5220 Roosevelt Way N.E., 206-526-JOKE, See Web site for specific date, time, and price info. Jet City Improv Funny, fast-paced theater based on audience suggestions, including Cupcake, Fridays at midnight:30, and "Twisted Flicks," bad movies with improvised dialogue. Historic University Theater, 5510 University Ave. N.E., 206-352-8291, See Web site for dates and times. Open run. Unexpected Productions Various shows including TheatreSports, competitive improv since 1983, and Market Fresh Improv. This week, featuring Joey M. Robinson, 5 p.m.-8 p.m. Fri. Nov. 10. Market Theatre, 1428 Post Alley, 206-587-2414, See Web site for dates, times, and prices. Open run.

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