What to See This Fall: Theater
By Seattle Mag
August 25, 2015
YOU THINK YOUR LIFE IS COMPLICATED? If you find that your every hangnail has become cause for a meltdown, may we gently suggest attending one of these productions—talk about drama!—all of which offer a sense of perspective.
THE CHILDREN’S HOUR
Originally banned in Boston, Chicago and London, this 1934 play by Lillian Hellman concerns two close female teachers at an all-girls school accused by a conniving student of being more than friends. As the two—famously played in the 1961 movie by Shirley MacLaine and Audrey Hepburn—try to salvage their reputations, one realizes (whoops!) she actually is a lesbian. 9/9–9/27. Times and prices vary. Intiman Theatre Festival, Cornish Playhouse at Seattle Center, 201 Mercer St.; intiman.org
Through a life-spanning patchwork of scenes and sketches, this semi-autobiographical dark comedy by Robert O’Hara tells one man’s story of growing up black and gay. Witness his obsession with Michael Jackson, liberal use of Jheri Curl, awkward romantic encounters, closeted men and divorcing lesbians in a satire that rings at times hilarious, at others crushing. Directed by newcomer Malika Oyetimein (at right). 9/16–10/3. Times and prices vary. Intiman Theatre Festival, Cornish Playhouse at Seattle Center, 201 Mercer St.; intiman.org
Interview with Bootycandy director Malika Oyetimein
Malika Oyetimein directs Bootycandy at Intiman Theatre Festival 9/16–10/3; photo courtesy of Intiman Theatre Festival
Malika Oyetimein, a recent transplant from Philadelphia, isn’t scheduled to earn her MFA in directing from the University of Washington School of Drama until 2017. But her talent has already earned her a spot in the Intiman Director’s Lab, and a directorial debut at the Intiman Theatre Festival this month, with the big, bold play Bootycandy.
Brangien Davis: What about this play do you personally connect with?
Malika Oyetimein: It’s brave and unapologetically raw.
BD: What are you learning that they never taught you in theater school?
MO: The nuances of navigating the Equity house.
BD: What’s the most important thing for audiences to
know going into Bootycandy?
MO: Make sure your abs are in shape, because you are going to laugh—a lot.
BD: What’s your favorite line in the play?
MO: A lady can’t reveal her secrets now, can she?
BD: Do you get opening-night jitters? Any tricks for calming down?
MO: Absolutely! And if you know any tricks, can you let a sistah know?
A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE
From the legendary Arthur Miller (Death of a Salesman) comes this searing tale of a 1950s longshoreman who is a bit too obsessed with his wife’s niece. He spins out of control when his niece starts dating his wife’s cousin, an illegal Italian immigrant who may or may not be gay. Betrayal, family loyalties and a nod to McCarthyism flesh out this tragic story. 9/25–10/18. Times and prices vary. Seattle Repertory Theatre, 155 Mercer St.; 206.443.2222; seattlerep.org
Based on the 1998 Danish movie, which won the Jury Prize at Cannes, this British adaptation portrays an excruciating 60th birthday party. In the course of toasting his wealthy hotelier father, a grown son reveals that the paterfamilias sexually abused him as a child. But are his claims true? Also involved: an openly racist brother and way too much drinking. It’s a riveting blend of farce and tragedy, courtesy of New Century Theatre Company. 10/29–11/21. Times and prices vary. 12th Avenue Arts, 1620 12th Ave.; wearenctc.org
So you think you’ve seen everything? For theatergoers who feel like they’ve seen it all before—“eh, same story, different characters”—an excursion to one of these wildly conceived shows will restore your belief in originality.
LA MÉLANCOLIE DES DRAGON
When you think about it, a heavy-metal amusement park is a pretty good idea. In this poignant French comedy from Philippe Quesne, it’s the dream of a bunch of long-haired misfits, who pursue their vision—realized in an eye-poppingly artful set—in the face of car trouble, a snowstorm and the inevitable ennui that arises during the search for a greater purpose. 9/10–9/13. Times and prices vary. On the Boards, 100 W Roy St.; 206.217.9888; ontheboards.org
99 WAYS TO F**K A SWAN
Never one to shy away from the avant-garde, Washington Ensemble Theatre stages the Seattle premiere of Kim Rosenstock’s darkly funny play about sexual kinks. Leaping off with Leda and the swan, the story travels through time to Michelangelo painting his vision of the Greek myth and finally to a contemporary couple admiring the painting in a gallery. 9/25–10/17. Times and prices vary. 12th Avenue Arts, 1620 12th Ave.; washingtonensemble.org
MR. BURNS, A POST-ELECTRIC PLAY
In this dark comedy, playwright Anne Washburn imagines a postapocalyptic future in which verbal recaps of The Simpsons take on the weight of oral history. Ragtag survivors gather around a fire, telling and retelling a favorite episode, and in the process begin to cement a mythos that carries through to a whole new existence. 10/16–11/15. Times and prices vary. ACT Theatre, 700 Union St.; 206.292.7676; acttheatre.org
BUYER & CELLAR
True story: In order to store her large collection of antiques and vintage garments, Barbra Streisand had a village of faux shops built in the basement of a barn on her property. This thoroughly original one-man comedy asks, what if an out-of-work actor took a job as a shopkeeper in the fake mall? As they say, hilarity ensues, but also some smart thinking about our unceasing interest in the lives of celebrities. 10/23–11/22. Times and prices vary. Seattle Repertory Theatre, 155 Mercer St.; 206.443.2222; seattlerep.org
Have you considered bursting into song? As grown-ups, we spend a lot of time each day compressing our feelings into ‘appropriate’ responses. But wouldn’t it be cathartic to channel those emotions into high-volume singing? See how it’s done with these musical productions.
The 5th Avenue Theatre is producing this world-premiere musical before it packs up and tries to make it on Broadway. The story is a whirlwind romance set in 1930s Thailand and Japan, where a young Thai student—played by Thai music superstar Bie Sukrit—has a dangerous affair with the American wife of a Thai diplomat. 10/1–10/25. Times and prices vary. The 5th Avenue Theatre, 1308 Fifth Ave.; 206.625.1900; 5thavenue.org
With a libretto written by Issaquah’s Tony Award–winning lyricist Brian Yorkey (Next to Normal), this new musical features Idina Menzel as a 38-year-old divorcee who does something we all wish we could do: plays out two life paths to see which is the better choice. 11/3–11/8. Times and prices vary. The Paramount Theatre, 911 Pine St.; 206.682.1414;stgpresents.org
COME FROM AWAY
When the 9/11 disaster began to unfold, planes in mid-flight all over the country were diverted to other airports. Thirty-eight landed in the small town of Gander, Newfoundland, and the instant, international community that developed as a result is the inspiration for this song-enriched story of confusion, kindness and camaraderie. 11/13–12/13. Times and prices vary. Seattle Repertory Theatre, 155 Mercer St.; 206.443.2222; seattlerep.org
Explore more 2015 Fall Arts events here.