Will Norm Stamper Take Seattle Stages by Storm?

The former police chief is bringing his play of passion to Hugo House.

Former Seattle police chief Norm Stamper has taken some interesting directions since stepping down from his post in 2000. As many people know, he's become a leading figure in the movement to reform national and even international drug laws, speaking at conferences around the world. But he's also become an actor--"taking courses and honing his craft," in the words of a press release we recently received announcing his upcoming appearance in a play called Brilliant Traces. After performing the show on Orcas Island, where he resides, Stamper's now bringing this story of passion to his former stomping grounds. We mean that literally, since Stamper disappeared to his 10-acre Orcas retreat after famously clamping down on WTO protesters. In the show, he plays a character bound to make audiences wonder about the parallels with his own life. Stamper is Henry Harry, described in the press release as "a lonely embittered hermit who lives in a converted barn deep in the remote woods of Alaska" who is awakened in the middle of the night by a runaway bride. According to reviews of this 1989 one-act's production last year by the Actors Theater of Orcas Island, Stamper isn't just riding on his name and his intriguing reinvention. He's actually good. Wrote Tom Welch in the Islands' Sounder newspaper: "Watching Stamper fight his way out of his emotional straightjacket in the throes of his wild swings of attraction for, and rejection of, [co-star Melinda] Milligan was really something to behold." Seattleites can see the former police chief emote beginning Oct. 21 at Richard Hugo House.

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