The secret lives of play commissions | 5 Useless Degrees interviews Seattle playwright Bryan Willis, co-author with Dwayne Clark of controversial SEVEN WAYS TO GET THERE

As they are wont to do, the guys over at 5 Useless Degrees have been exploring the seamy, dank, always interesting underside of the theatre world. And this time their probing and prodding has led to one of the more interesting stories in the Northwest theatre this year.

You may recall back in March a story by Brendan Kiley in The Stranger about the new play SEVEN WAYS TO GET THERE by Bryan Willis and Dwayne Clark at Seattle’s ACT Theatre. Read that article for the backstory.

In a nutshell, businessman Dwayne Clark approached Willis about writing a play partially based on Clark’s life and experience in group therapy. They did it, Clark bankrolled the entire operation, and the play went up at ACT and sounds to have been pretty darn successful, both financially and critically.

And then, of course, the theatuh peanut gallery, which so often sounds like a mob of emaciated crows fighting over a roadkilled mouse, went into overdrive weeping and wailing how unfair it was that only rich playwrights get produced, and how wrong it was for Clark to use financial influence to get his play done.

There are many, many threads you could draw out in this saga, but probably the most relevant one is Clark’s observation on how broken the regional theatre is financially:

“Why do you do this? How do you stay in business? This seems like a broken economic model.”

Continue reading “The secret lives of play commissions | 5 Useless Degrees interviews Seattle playwright Bryan Willis, co-author with Dwayne Clark of controversial SEVEN WAYS TO GET THERE”

Second grunge era musical retrospective in a year hits Seattle – Balagan’s NIRVANOV timed for 20th anniversary of Cobain’s death

Coming almost exactly one year after Seattle’s ACT (A Contemporary Theatre) mounted THESE STREETS, a musical about forgotten female grunge rockers (which apparently generated so much debate about authenticity that the Stranger review generated 29 comments), another early 90’s rock drama is heading to the stage of SEA’s Balagan Theatre in March 2014.

But this one is targeting a rather better known subject.

Opening just before the 20th anniversary of Nirvana singer Kurt Cobain’s death (April 5, 1994), NIRVANOV has, if nothing else, good timing and a brilliant name.

With the likely inter galactic level of interest (how could it get much higher?) in NIRVANA as the 20th anniversary approaches, it would appear this one is Balagan’s to lose.

And if it’s good, watch out.

It was bound to happen.
It was bound to happen.
"Weather changes moods."
“Weather changes moods.”

THESE STREETS at ACT tackles forgotten history of Seattle’s women rockers during grunge era

“The future of rock ’n’ roll belongs to women.” -Kurt Cobain

Get your tickets and ear plugs now.

Well, you may be able to get ear plugs later.

But when it comes to tickets for THESE STREETS, the new show at ACT by Gretta Harley, Sarah Rudinoff, and Elizabeth Kenny that traces the story of Seattle’s female grunge pioneers – those may be harder to come by.

THESE STREETS opens February 21 at Seattle's ACT Theatre.
THESE STREETS opens February 21 at Seattle’s ACT Theatre.

Continue reading “THESE STREETS at ACT tackles forgotten history of Seattle’s women rockers during grunge era”

50 words: THE SEAGULL by Anton Chekhov at ACT Seattle

After nine months of rehearsals, The Seagull Project delivers a satisfying, closely refined evening of small moments. Alexandra Tavares is a wonderful, unforgettable Nina. CT Doescher as Medvedenko delivers perfect physical touches, quirks. Konstantin quite a piece of work – we’re happier than we should be when gun finally hits home.

Thru 2.10

A way to make Chekhov new again.
A way to make Chekhov new again.