by Miryam Gordon -
SGN A&E Writer
January 2017 promises something for everyone as this very eclectic month in theater maybe hints at a very unusual year to come. Check it out and plan your month!
The Trojan Women, Civic Rep, 1/6-1/29 (at Slate Theater)
British playwright and poet Caroline Bird's radical retelling of Euripides' The Trojan Women. Bird transports this famous anti-war tragedy to the modern setting of a prison hospital. Beyond the prison walls, Troy and its people burn. Inside the prison, the city's captive women await their fate. Their grief at what has been before will soon be drowned out by the horror of what is to come.
Woody Sez: The Life and Music of Woody Guthrie, Seattle Repertory Theatre, 1/6-1/29
The legendary Woody Guthrie defined an American era of social consciousness and political expression with songs such as 'This Land is Your Land' and 'The Ballad of Tom Joad.' This musical portrait, featuring Woody's stirring ballads and joyous anthems, celebrates the colorful life and rich musical legacy of America's great folk troubadour.
14/48: The World's Quickest Theater Festival, 14/48 Projects, January 6 & 7, 13 & 14 (at ACT Theatre)
14/48: The World's Quickest Theater Festival operates under a simple premise: 14 plays written, cast, directed, rehearsed, scored, designed, and premiered in 48 hours. Since 1997, 14/48: TWQTF has premiered over 800 new works.
Madame Dragon's 60th Birthday Party, Cafe Nordo and Sara Porkalob, 1/12-1/22
Sara Porkalob creates the next iteration of her family legend as Madame Dragon cordially invites you to her 60th Birthday Bash at Nordo's Culinarium. Come celebrate the life of this infamous Filipino gangster as she sings, dances, and kills her way through 60 years of a life (mostly) well lived.
By Heart, On the Boards , 1/12-1/15
'When to the sessions of sweet silent thought / I summon up remembrance of things past...' So begins a poetic revolution of willing audience members, led by Portuguese artist and rebel Tiago Rodrigues from Teatro Nacional D. Maria II. Rodrigues uses ingenious techniques to teach 10 audience members a Shakespeare sonnet in real time, this piece only ends when all the soldiers know the words by heart. By Heart is a piece about the importance of transmission, of the invisible smuggling of words and ideas that only keeping a text in your memory can provide.
Every Five Minutes, Washington Ensemble Theatre, 1/13-1/30 (at 12th Ave Arts)
Mo is finally home! But his memories haven't quite caught up with him. In a brutally disorienting and circular world of trauma and recovery, Mo is pulled from one moment to the next in a fun house filled with memory, cruelty, and enigmas, all while trying to enjoy his homecoming party. Wild and wacky, Every Five Minutes documents the effects of torture and the absurdity of living.
The (curious case of the) Watson Intelligence, Ghost Light Theatricals, 1/13-2/4 (at The Ballard Underground)
In the Stoppardian world of the Watson Intelligence, Madeleine George's human and dramatic play takes surprising turns. Both a love story and a mystery, this show follows four different Watsons, throughout history: a Victorian doctor and amateur detective, an inventor's assistant, a supercomputer and a member of the Geek Squad who is just here to help. Each is played by one actor.
Mothers and Sons, ArtsWest, 1/18-2/11
The play takes place 20 years after the events in Terrence McNally's 1990 television play Andre's Mother. Katharine Gerard lost her son to AIDS 20 years ago, and now Katherine visits her son's partner, Cal, who has married Will. The two attempt to reconcile.
Proof, Strawberry Theatre Workshop, 1/19-2/18 (at 12th Ave Arts)
On the eve of her 25th birthday, a young woman's brilliant but unstable father - a famous mathematician - dies. His passing triggers volatile emotions, the arrival of her estranged sister, and the attentions of a student who seeks enlightenment in the scribblings the great man left behind. Over one long weekend, a burgeoning romance and the discovery of one mysterious notebook draw Catherine into the most difficult dilemma of all: how much of her father's madness - or genius - has she inherited?
The Snowy Day and Other Stories, Seattle Children's Theatre, 1/19-2/26 (ages 4+)
Oh, the magic of a snowy day! Follow Peter and his friends as they romp and play, starting snowball fights and making snow angels in this imaginative ode to childhood joys and the challenges of growing up. Packed with humor and fun, this production uses wonderfully innovative shadow puppetry and live action to celebrate Keats' treasured characters.
Produced by Children's Theatre Company, Minneapolis, MN
The 39 Steps, Village Theatre, Issaquah: 1/19-2/26; Everett: 3/3-3/26
Mix a Hitchcock masterpiece with a juicy spy novel, add a dash of Monty Python, and you have this fast-paced whodunit for anyone who loves the magic of theatre. Over 150 zany characters are played by a talented four-person cast. A riotous blend of performances and wildly inventive stagecraft.
Bring Down the House, Seattle Shakespeare Co. , 1/25-3/12
In repertory: Part 1 (Throne of Treachery) and Part 2 (Crusade of Chaos)
Seattle Shakes and upstart crow collective blend their mastery of the Bard's Henry VI: Parts 1, 2 and 3 into a two-part, all-female extravaganza. The power struggle for the crown of England thunders onstage from battlefield betrayals to court deceptions. England's War of the Roses split a country in two along family and political lines. 'For me, the animosity between warring factions in Henry VI reminds me of the polarization in modern day American politics,' said director Rita Joshi. 'At its core, Henry VI is about a massive civil war fought for personal political goals.'
Guards At The Taj, ACTLab, 1/27-2/4 (at ACT Theatre)
What happens when the fight to preserve beauty goes so far, it leaves you in a blood bath with your closest companion? This dark comedy, written by Rajiv Joseph, explores a 17th century Indian myth about the Taj Mahal in a poetic and existential duet between Humayun and Babur, two low Imperial guards who are faced with the greatest moral test of their lives, and maybe of the century.
My Man Godfrey, Theater Schmeater, 1/27-2/18
It's Theater Schmeater's 25th anniversary season! They're doing a script based on a 1930's movie. Two sisters are tasked with finding a 'forgotten man,' and they find a homeless guy and each tries to convince him to come back so one can win a prize. They offer him a job in their wealthy home as a butler, and hilarity ensues. The family of the One Percent gets schooled by someone whose net worth is zero.
Six Degrees of Separation, Theatre9/12, 1/27-2/19 (Trinity Parish Hall)
Theatre9/12 presents John Guare's play about a wealthy Manhattan couple who are visited by a bloodied college student who turns out to be Sidney Poitier's son - or is he?
The Cherry Orchard, Seagull Project/ACTLab, 1/31-2/19 (opens 2/3) (at ACT Theatre)
Written when Russia was on the verge of an earth-shattering revolution and Chekhov himself was in the grips of tuberculosis, the action of the play takes place on a country estate outside of Moscow. Madame Ranevskaya, her family, her friends, and her servants all are standing on the brink of social, political and economic changes that will alter their lives forever. As the older generation of family members and servants struggle to hold onto a deteriorating way of life, the younger generation pushes onward toward an uncertain future. By turns poignant and funny, serious and irreverent, Chekhov's play deftly illustrates that the only constant we face as human beings is change.
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