stone soup theatre

New projects and announcements

Apocalypse Soon was a huge success at Ghost Light Theatricals Battle of the Bards. My cast killed it, as they were destined to do. And even though we didn’t win Battle of the Bards, all three shows broke $1500 in donations which is something that has not happened in Battle of Bards history. Here is the final score for those who who are desperate to know how the whole thing turned out. The winning show, Paper Bullets, is going to be an awesome experience written by the very talented John E. Allis who currently writes for The Seattle Star and blogged for the last 14/48. You can look forward to seeing Paper Bullets next season at Ghost Light Theatricals!

Done with one show and on to the next. I’m pleased to announce a new project. I will be directing at Stone Soup Theatre’s Double XX Festival a short piece written by Deborah Yarchun called Streakers.

As of right now the show is slated to perform on the second weekend of the festival, April 26th – 29th. Streakers blends ritual, sex, and humor centering around the death of a pet. General auditions for all Double XX Fest pieces are coming up on the 18th and 19th of February if you know someone who would be interested in participating in any of the fantastic shows directed by Seattle women.

My playwrighting class is coming to close which means there will be a showcase of student work. As of right now, the date is set for Friday, February 24th at ACT Theatre. The showcase will feature ten minute selections from all the students in class. This class has been absolutely extraordinary, and I would encourage any writer in the Seattle area to take it. For the showcase, I’m preparing a scene from a new work, tentatively titled, Slip. Here’s a short excerpt:

ALANA
That’s just it. It’s like I remember something. Like that word on the tip of your tongue. When my mom said his name

MEL
What was it?

ALANA
Sorry

MEL
His name?

ALANA
Hal.

MEL
Hal?

ALANA
Hal.

“Little bunny foo-foo” plays on out-of-key piano. It’s out of joint.  An EASTER BUNNY comes across stage hiding eggs. ALANA can hear the music and sees the BUNNY. 

MEL
We could try to find a picture. See if it will jog your memory. If it means something to you. I want to help.

ALANA
No. I’d rather just

MEL
You okay?

ALANA
Huh?

MEL
What’s the matter?

ALANA
Did you see

MEL
I’ll make you tea.

EASTER BUNNY satisfied with the placement of eggs, exits. Music stops. Light shift.
Slip.
ALANA’s childhood house. She is sixteen and drunk.

ALANA
Tea?

MOM
You’ve been drinking tea?

ALANA
Mom?

From the stage directions: “A slip is a shift in time, not a flashback. It is as if ALANA is falling through memories but is still also active in the scene happening in real time. Sometimes, these moments take a minute of adjustment for her, and sometimes they are immediately understood as current reality.” I’m quite excited about this play and curious to see how it develops.

I have not forsaken the writing of responses to shows, but I’ve been going to so many, I have had barely enough time to sleep between my full-time job, seeing shows, rehearsals, reading, and writing plays. Excuses, perhaps, but I may write a brief rundown of all the shows I’ve seen this year, which I think is already in the double-digits.

And finally, I may have a dramaturg gig lined up for the foreseeable months. More on that to come after the workshop readings of the play in question.

It is an exciting time for theatre in Seattle, especially with the announcement that Intiman Theatre will be returning this summer for a short festival of works. As someone who used to work at Intiman, I could not be happier about this announcement and am particularly excited to see the roster of artists involved. It should be an amazing year for Seattle Theatre.

New Amerikan’s Riding the Bull

Riding the Bull
Author: August Schulenburg
Date attended: 12 August 2011
Venue: Stone Soup Theatre, Upstage Venue (New Amerikan Theatre Company)
Director: Richard Buckley
I have not read the play

Why this play now?

The story goes that a skinny, male rodeo clown falls for an overweight, female rancher in a town called Godsburg (no, really). The rodeo clown, GL, is devoutly religious and abhors the overweight Lyza for her excess personage as well as her chronic disrespect of his religious sensibilities (literal and figurative). Over the course of the play we see the roles reverse entirely. Lyza becomes humble and pious, while GL backslides into damnation by desiring of earthly things (money, sex, cars, etc. – the American way). Though the plot is essentially a role reversal about how money and power corrupt pure souls (and could force others onto a path of righteousness), there was something interesting in the method of storytelling. (The full summary can be found here.)

They performed in the small blackbox space of Stone Soup Upstage, not to be confused with their larger Downstage space. There couldn’t have been more than 35 chairs set up for audience around the tiny playing space. The dialogue teeters between crass and poignant in highly believable, entertaining, and sometimes thought-provoking ways. The story also raised several questions, and answered few which is a quality I like, and feel lacking, in many stories and plays.

What’s happening in the work thematically?

  • Excess in every meaning of the word
  • Corruptibility of humanity through money, power, and sex
  • “Get what you deserve”/deus ex machina to smite the wicked and uphold the righteous (as seen through the bull acting out as the hand of God and through the Lazarus cow)
  • Definition of love
  • What does it mean to destroy a person
  • Testing faith

What moments encapsulate the story?

The play is working with some very weighty issues, and even though it was occasionally over the top, there were several moments that stuck out to me.

  • GL’s realization that he could “buy a person”
  • Lyza admitting the first time that she watched GL as he clowned in the ring
  • Elvis, enacted by Lyza, saying he was going to stay
  • Lyza’s description of the bull tearing apart the rancher who killed her mother
  • GL’s repetition that he couldn’t sleep because his mother was singing
  • Jesus is made of plastic, not marble

Were there moments of disunity, or areas in which the story-telling deviated from the apparent desired direction? (apparent in this case meaning the direction as it appeared to this member of the audience)

On the whole, I enjoyed the balance between crass and poignant, however, there were moments where the words didn’t so much balance as topple over. The big example being one of the final moments in which GL describes having sex with Lyza one more time as she’s dying (or maybe already dead, but still warm) having just been bloodied up by a bull. Of course, this fit with the rest of the play perfectly, but after a very long description of the battle of bull, and the sad goodbye between the two of them, this just seemed excessive (Re above: the play is about excess).

However, I must say that the play was surprisingly unified and was well served by the incredibly intimate setting.