Diversity Highlight: (Miss) Fortune Has Green Eyes

New to Seattle, Brown Soul Productions develops and produces new work by women of color

Brown Soul Productions features a new play about remorse, redemption, and family by Alma Davenport, Artistic Producing Director, called (Miss) Fortune Has Green Eyes, directed by Sandra L. Holloway.

(Miss) Fortune Has Green Eyes tells the story of a recovering alcoholic, who wins the lottery. His world begins to crumble under the greed of those around him, while his eldest daughter struggles to put hers together. What happens when remorse is not enough and money cannot buy redemption?

One of the goals of Brown Soul Productions, founded by two sisters, is to tell the stories of women who society may not always to get to hear from. They also wish to build an audience and relationships with other theatre makers in Seattle. Their inaugural production will occur in TPS’s Theatre4, a black box incubator performance on the 4th floor of the Armory, 9/16-18 and 9/23-25 at 7:30 p.m. Click here for tickets.

“Work ing on any Alma Davenport piece is like being able to exhale. She pulls you into a world of richly drawn people, who are so human, beautiful and complex . She tells their stories so masterfully and without prejudice… it’s just so satisfying.” Director Sandra L. Holloway

(Miss) Fortune Has Green Eyes will be presented in strategic partnership with Northwest Family Life, an organization that educates and assists individuals and families in finding hope and healing when facing the pain of domestic violence. A portion of the proceeds of the production will be donated to NW Family Life.

Posted in Diversity Highlight, News |

Diversity Highlight: 1-Off Production Blood Wedding/Bodas de Sangre

The producers of 1-Off Production discuss successes, challenges, and future of producing in Seattle’s public parks

The co-producers of 1-Off Production – Tina Polzin, Ana Maria Campoy, and Matt Sherrill – talk about their experiences with producing a bilingual outdoor version of Blood Wedding/Bodas de Sangre, the conversations sparked in the theatre community about bilingual theatre and audience expectations, the successes and challenges of producing outdoors, and their hopes and plans for next summer.

COMMUNITY CONNECTIONS

The co-producers of Blood Wedding/Bodas de Sangre in underserved Seattle parks found value in the opportunity to create a vivacious and welcome atmosphere for the whole neighborhood to enjoy. They accomplished this in two ways: through bilingual theatre featuring people of color, and by removing the potential barriers of a traditional theatre experience.

Audience members appeared in all forms: from the kid on his bike who rode by behind the actors and came back later to watch the rest of the show to entire multi-generational families, 7 months to 70 years old, with dogs too. Each audience member interaction – which they loved to do! – became a special moment for the cast to remember.

Director Tina Polzin and co-producer Ana Maria Campoy also made genuine efforts to create strong and authentic community connections. They visited Nickelsville by the Othello Light Rail Station, Neighborhood House, local churches, and Casa Latina to tell them about the show. At Casa Latina, actors from the show did a skit about workers’ rights in Spanish, to use arts as a platform for communication and change.

Blood Wedding/Bodas de Sangre was also a great way to show neighborhood kids that bilingual theatre can come to them. Over 20 languages are spoken in Seattle Public Schools, and most schools and neighborhoods are still divided along the Red Line. Performing theatre in these areas shows the neighborhood residents what is possible.

RADICAL GENEROSITY

Each show ended with a musical performance, giving performers and audience members time to interact and talk with each other, creating and sustaining authentic and cultural familial connections. By talking to audience, comprised mostly of local residents, producers and performers learned that there are very few performing arts services or opportunities provided to elementary students and adults. Performing a bilingual play in an accessible environment not only challenged the producers’ perspectives of what a theatrical event is, but also revealed opportunities to practice radical generosity.

Christen Gee left a large blanket available for latecomers at every show. Ana Maria, Tina, and Matt cite this as one of the many examples of radical generosity, along with sharing and mentoring among the cast; Danielle Pekus, the stage manager who made every show possible by transporting furniture and props between venues; and everyone made a commitment to each other and the performances, all in service of the play.

PROOF, NEXT SUMMER

1-Off Production has already started work on next summer’s show, Proof by David Auburn, directed by Arlene Martinez-Vickers. Arlene and Ana Maria have been adapting the play into a bilingual version that will be performed on porch steps, in underserved parks, and hopefully in conjunction with a neighborhood block party. Tina Polzin pointed out that “bilingual adds to the story” as opposed to making it more confusing. Producing plays with universal themes allows the nuances of bilingual theatre to shine through, as pointed out by Mark Baumgarten in the Seattle Weekly.

Each of the producers had different goals this past summer that intersect and serve each other: Ana Maria Campoy wants to see stories by people of color for people of color, Matt Sherrill is redefining what “theatre” and the “theatrical experience” are, and Tina Polzin (Director, Blood Wedding/Bodas de Sangre) wants to “bring theatre to people who may not have the chance.”

Blood Wedding/Bodas de Sangre was supported, in part, by an award from 4Culture and The Office of Arts & Culture in partnership with Seattle Parks and Recreation and the generosity of Broadway Bound.

Posted in Diversity Highlight, In Focus, News |

Diversity Highlight: Intiman’s Wedding Band

Intiman Theatre Festival continues its celebration of Black Women Playwrights with Wedding Band: A Love/Hate Story in Black and White by Alice Childress

Intiman Theatre Festival began this year with Stick Fly by Lydia R. Diamond, continued throughout with several Black Women Wisdom staged readings co-produced with The Hansberry Project, and is closing with Wedding Band by Alice Childress.

Valerie Curtis-Newton, festival co-curator direc ts , featuring a cast of diverse and local actors. Curtis-Newton, who directed Childress’s Trouble in Mind (2013) is continuing and growing the conversation about race in the Seattle theatre community.

“Though not well-known, the play’s author, Alice Childress inspires. For decades, she successfully managed to write our humanity in its fullness with wit and honesty,” Curtis-Newton said. “Her plays talk about love and struggle in ways that make us see ourselves and hope to do better. They say, ‘Talk to each other.’ It’s a timely message – even today.”

Set in 1918, Wedding Band is the story of two lovers – Julia, a black seamstress, and Herman, a white baker – who want to marry in the Jim Crow South. The play poses the question: Can we be strong enough to tell the truth to each other and still love?

September 6 – October 2
Floyd and Delores Jones Playhouse (UW)
Tickets Available for $20-$40

Posted in Diversity Highlight, TPS Admin |

Diversity Highlight: Theatre Battery

Theatre Battery presents Tearrance Arvelle Chisholm’s Hooded or Being Black for Dummies

Tearrence Arvelle Chisholm, playwright, will attend previews on 8/25 and 8/26 of Hooded or Being Black for Dummies at Theatre Battery in Kent, WA. Hooded is the story of Marquis and Tru, fourteen-year-old black boys who exist in two totally different worlds. Marquis is a republican prep-schooler living in the affluent white suburb of Achievement Heights, while Tru is a street savvy rap artist from deep within the inner city of Baltimore. Their paths cross one day in a holding cell, where Tru decides that Marquis has lost his “blackness.” As professor and reluctant student, they confront ignorance and traverse the gap between 2pac and Nietzsche. Hooded is produced with Radical Hospitality ticketing, meaning that no one will be charged to attend a performance.

“I write plays for the theatre. I am interested in theatricality for theatricality’s sake. By this I mean I write plays that are required to live on the s tage. I am cons tantly think ing about my audience as I write; how to move them, manipulate them, make them uncomfortable and at once never forget that they are watching a thing that is unique and can only ever happen one time.” Tearrence Arvelle Chisholm

THEATRE BATTERY produces experimental plays for the suburban community of Kent, Washington. They aim to nurture their audience’s understanding of the connection between theatre and relevant social issues through the presentation of contemporary works in nontraditional settings. They envision serving an audience with access to new material otherwise kept exclusive to urban centers, while growing as a professional home for emerging and established artists from around the Sound. Facebook Page

 

Posted in Diversity Highlight |

Sound Theatre Company’s recent production The Last Days of Judas Iscariot featured a multicultural and racially diverse cast

Sound Theatre Company, nominated in 7 categories for the 2016 Gregory Awards including Theatre of the Year, recently closed a production of The Last Days of Judas Iscariot by Stephen Adly Guirgis.

TPS interviewed some of the cast about their successes, challenges, and what they would like to see change in the Seattle theatre scene.

Ray Tagavilla
Satan (2016 Gregory Awards Best Actor Nominee)
Previously in A Small Fire (2014)

What was the most exciting part about working on Judas?

Working with this luminous cast.

Biggest challenge?

Actually keeping my voice. I blew it out 2 days before the first preview and was never at full power throughout the run.

What would you like to see change in the Seattle theatre scene?

I love the diversity of this cast and it’s something I don’t see too much of. I always find it exciting when a theater decides to do blind casting and relies on an actor’s talent/experience and not whether they look “right” for the part.

Corey Spruill
Bailiff/Simon the Zealot
Previously in Dogg’s Hamlet/Cahoot’s Macbeth (2013) and The School for Lies (2014)

What was the most exciting part about working on Judas?

Working with such juicy writing, and the cast. The cast was fantastic to work with, everyone really brought something new to the table.

What was the biggest challenge of performing your role?

Both roles I portrayed had different challenges. The Bailiff sat on stage the majority of the play but didn’t say much, in a lot of ways he was the eyes and ears of the audience.

What would you like to see change in the Seattle theatre scene?

I don’t get out and see as much theater as I should. I would love to see bolder, and more challenging theater. Theater that’s not only has a diverse group of actors, but also material that really connects us all as a community.

Sujay Chattopadhyay
Sigmund Freud

What was the most exciting part about working on Judas?

An obvious exciting part was the opportunity to portray a character of this mind-blowing script by Stephen Adly Guirgis. However, an even more exciting part for me was to be fortunate to work with a group of extremely talented actors and highly creative crew members under the super-caring guidance of Teresa Thuman.

What was the biggest challenge of performing your role?

I believe I had two major challenges. Firstly, the role I played was the only non-biblical and non-religious (maybe atheist, to be more specific) character in the play. Also, while most of the other characters in the play had the freedom to express their feelings across a wide range of rawness and sophistication, Freud was throughout presented in a highly refined manner. Maintaining this distinction via restricted expressions was one big challenge for me. Another tough task was to make the out-of-the-box Freud-ish thinking and logic understandable to the audiences, as if in some professorial way to the students.

What would you like to see change in the Seattle theatre scene?

I would love to see a lot more representation of world culture in Seattle theatre via staging of stories and plays from all around the world, when one can say that Seattle thinks like the planet, at least through the lens of theatre. I think this can effectively increase the bonding of love and respect among races and ethnicities, and, if properly cultivated, might be a model to the rest of the world during this terrible period of monstrous restlessness.

Kathy Hsieh
Henrietta Iscariot/Sister Glenna

What was the most exciting part about working on Judas?

Even though I’ve worked with or seen or knew of almost everyone in the cast before this production, it was such a joy to work with all of them at the same time in one show! The most exciting part of working on Judas was the multicultural diversity of the production. Not enough shows in Seattle have many people of color unless a role is specifically written for a person of color. And when there are people of color in a show, most shows are still very segregated – August Wilson shows feature primarily black actors, David Henry Hwang shows are primarily cast with Asian and white actors. And while many of the culturally specific companies in town (eSe Teatro, SIS Productions, Hansberry Project, Pratidhwani) do terrific work and honor casting that’s true to their community, casting in Seattle is still very segregated. So how fabulous to be in a show where I got to hang out with actors of all ages and ethnicities in one space!

What was the biggest challenge of performing your role?

The biggest challenge was doing the Irish accent for Sister Glenna! Thomas Merton’s definition of despair does not flow well with an Irish brogue!

For Henrietta it was making sure that when I started the show, I started with a bang because the more that audiences could connect with her emotionally, then when the next two characters come on and provide a comedic release, the audience quickly realizes that this show is going to take you from one extreme to the other so to prepare for the wild ride.

What would you like to see change in the Seattle theatre scene?

It’s getting better, but I would love to see even more shows where there’s a greater diversity in casting and script offerings. Even though  we’re considered pretty white by most cities its size,  still, 1/3 of Seattle’s population are people of color (and half of those people of color are Asian Americans) but we’re not even close to seeing that kind of diversity in most Seattle theatres yet. Sound Theatre, Intiman, Book-It, Pork Filled Productions, ReAct, Arts West, and Seattle Public Theatre are some examples where we’re seeing more multicultural diversity. I can’t wait for the day when what we see on Seattle stages actually does truly look like a reflection of who we see in the world around us in real life.

Posted in Arts Crush, Check It Out!, Diversity Highlight, In Focus, Interview, TPS Admin | Tagged , , , , , , , , |

Diversity Highlight: CAATA ConFest

CAATA is an integral part of the Asian American theatre community.

For the 5th time, the Consortium of Asian American Theaters & Artists presents Seismic Shifts: Leading Change in the American Theater, October 1-9 in Ashland, OR hosted in partnership with Oregon Shakespeare Festival. August 15 is the final day for Early Bird registration. August 31 is the final day to purchase combined Conference and Festival passes. Seismic Shifts will be a collection of conference events and festival activities. Prominent members of the Seattle theatre community, Roger Tang and Kathy Hsieh, are presenting two parts of a panel discussion during the ConFest. Roger is also on the CAATA national board and planning committee. At the ConFest, not only will there be keynote speakers and panel discussions, there will also be new play readings, networking opportunities, and full productions including Vietgone, which will be at Seattle Repertory Theatre next season. Plus, an excerpt of Maggie Lee‘s Tumbleweed Zephyr will be presented at the ConFest showcase.

See the full schedule here.

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Posted in Diversity Highlight, News |

Volunteer for the TPS Stage at 2016 Bumbershoot!

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VOLUNTEER CALL!

Theatre Puget Sound has a fantastic lineup of local theatre at the 2016 Bumbershoot Stage and we need your help wrangling it!  We need volunteers to help with seating, crowd management, and being a great representative of the local theatre scene.  Our stage is only open from 2:15-10:15 pm and your pass is good for the whole day, so you will have time to take in the sights of Bumbershoot when you volunteer!

DATES: Friday September 2 through Sunday, September 4, 2016

Preference goes to volunteers available for multiple days.

The 2016 Bumbershoot Theatre Puget Sound Stage features a lineup of..

More details on Bumbershoot’s website!

TO APPLY: Fill out the form at the bottom of this page.  Any questions, please email shane@tpsonline.org.

Priority will be given to Theatre Puget Sound members and previous volunteers.  Thank you!

You will be notified of your participation status by Monday, August 22.

ALL VOLUNTEER SLOTS CURRENTLY FULL.  If you are still interested, please fill out the form below to be added to the waitlist.

Bumbershoot 2016 Volunteer Form

Availability

TYPES OF SHIFTS:
FRIDAY 10 am - 1:30 pm & SUNDAY 8:00 - 11:30pm: You will help our technical team set up/clean up for the festival! Some heavy lifting may be required. You are free to enjoy the rest of Bumbershoot during the time not scheduled.
DAILY (1 pm - 10:15 pm): Assist setting up/cleaning the lobby, seating people in the Center Theatre, monitoring audience, and answering questions. You are free to enjoy the rest of Bumbershoot during time not scheduled, and breaks/lunches will be allowed during slower times.
AFTERNOON (12:45 pm - 6:15 pm): Assist with seating people in the Center Theatre, monitoring audience, and answering questions. You are free to enjoy the rest of Bumbershoot during time not scheduled.
EVENING (5:00 pm - 10:15 pm): Assist with seating people in the Center Theatre, monitoring audience, and answering questions. You are free to enjoy the rest of Bumbershoot during time not scheduled.

Other

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Posted in bumbershoot, Volunteer Opportunity | Tagged , , , , |

Announcing the Creative Team for The 2016 Gregory Awards!

Every year, we have a host and a special team of well-loved local talent who help us round out the night at the annual Gregory Awards.

On Monday, October 24 at Marion Oliver McCaw Hall, we’re excited to welcome back some familiar faces as well as someone new to the stage! And keep an eye out on Facebook for our personal interviews with each of the artists.

See you at the show!

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Returning as Co-Host… Kate Jaeger!

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Kate Jaeger is an improviser, actor and singer. She likes you and your face.

Returning as Co-Host… Bhama Roget!

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BHAMA ROGET, MULTI-GENRE PERFORMER AND LOUD INTROVERT.

Returning as Music Director… Michael Owcharuk!

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Michael Owcharuk is a composer and pianist working in jazz, rock, classical, pop, and music for theater, dance, and film. You can hear him performing regularly all around Seattle with a wide variety of artists. Michael has composed and/or performed music for STG, Book-It Repertory Theater, 14/48; The World’s Quickest Theater Festival, Freehold Theater, Seattle Immersive Theater, Cafe Nordo, and many independent productions.

And introducing Special Guest… Sara Porkalob!

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Sara Porkalob is a Seattle actor, director, and award winning solo-performer who loves musical theatre and  feminist deconstructions of Shakespeare.

Posted in Awards, Events, Interview |

TPS Announces a Summer Fundraiser: Brews & Bites!

Celebrate beer, summer, and TPS!

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Theatre Puget Sound is headed to Rooftop Brewing Company on Sunday August 21 for our summer fundraiser, a celebration of the arts, crafted beers, and tasty bites. For only $30 from 5 to 9 pm, you’ll have a night full of fun and frivolity:

  • A commemorative TPS pint glass for unlimited beer
  • Delicious ‘bites’ served up by favorite local eateries
  • Exciting sights and sounds of Pradithwani Dance
  • Chance to win some locally made arts and crafts!

Hosted by Shawn Belyea of 14/48 Projects, you will have the chance throughout the night to support TPS and win prizes for $5/turn with the Beer Ring Toss (snag your favorite beer!), Beer Walk (maybe you’ll land on a great prize!), and the Raffle (you don’t have to be present to win!).

Your $30 ticket isn’t just about tasty treats and fabulous prizes. Pradithwani Dance, will do dance lessons and a performances too!

Don’t miss this chance to celebrate your favorite local arts service organization. Snag your tickets today!

Download a PDF to share: BrewsBitesEvent

Posted in Check It Out!, fundraising, Press, Theatre Puget Sound, TPS Admin | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , |

Budgeting Workshop – July 10

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Sign up for our July 10 Budgeting Workshop with Kathie Whitehall!

For the price of three iced mochas, you’ll learn about budgeting, saving, investing, tax planning, and the value of your time through discussion and exercises. This class is geared toward working artists, led by Kathie Whitehall, an artist who’s been self-employed for over 25 years. Kathie will even walk you through how to fill out a budget worksheet, step by step.

The goal of this workshop is to give you the tools that let you think about where you see yourself in the future: living a more creative life? debt-free? traveling? in grad school? owning a home? Join us!

Maximum 10 participants.

Hosted by Theatre Puget Sound, in the TPS Blackbox.

12:30 – 4:30 pm

Reserve your spot today – $15

Posted in TPS Admin, WholeLife, workshops |