October 2015


Mother Courage and Her Children by Bertholt Brecht

Best Brecht in Town at Seattle Shakes

Seattle Shakespeare Company, opened a spectacular production of one of the most celebrated and visionary plays of Berthold Brecht: Mother Courage and her Children at Seattle Center on Friday. Written in exile in 1939, right after the Nazi invasion of Poland, its theme warns the profiteers of war that they themselves will not be spared its disasters no matter how crafty they are. Its setting, the 30-Year’s War, a long drawn out series of wars in the 17th Century, created untold destruction in German territories and depleted most of Europe economically, not unlike the aftermath of World War II.


My Mañana Comes—Or Will It?

A good play brings up many themes you can talk about. Elizabeth Irwin’s latest effort My Mañana Comes at ArtsWest, reaches that status under the direction of Matthew Wright and a brilliant cast and creative team. The themes bounce off one another like the banter of four men doing the best they can to live on the sub-minimum wage plus shift tips they receive working the back-of-house at an upscale Manhattan restaurant.

Theme One: there is no such thing as unskilled labor. The cast is never idle



Copious Anger not Love

Like the other Copious Love production I reviewed CODENAME: KANSAS, Witch Hunter, reminded me of the Flanders and Swan’s song “P** P* B**** B** D******” or “Pee Po Belly Bum Drawers” whose refrain is “Let’s talk Rude.” Flanders and Swan satirized the use of gratuitous profanity among the British intelligentsia ( in the early 60’s) and compares it to children swearing for attention.


Mr. Burns, a post-electric play

Mr. Burns, a post-electric play opens with the kind of disaster we have been fearing since Chernobyl. After a nationwide power failure causes a chain of nuclear meltdowns across the United States, a group of survivors crowd around a fireplace and recount their favorite episodes of The Simpsons in an attempt to stray away from the destruction around them. From there, the play leaps seven years into the future, where theatre troupes put on live productions of television shows in an effort to recapture the televised media that was lost when the grid shut down. Fast forward seventy-five years later, and the last act takes us to a far-off future in which pop culture and media have warped and twisted together until the theatre of the future becomes a semblance of a Greek epic opera revolving around the Cape Feare episode of The Simpsons.


Water by the Spoonful—Love in Small Doses

When children have a long stretch with a fever or illness they can become dehydrated. To re-hydrate them requires a teaspoon for water or soup every five minutes. Perhaps the title of Quiara Alegria Hudes’s soul-searching drama, Water by the Spoonful, serves as a metaphor for all people struggling with questions of recovery, illness, loneliness, trauma, identity and loss. We all can use care, love, attention, and connection in small doses—all the time.


Reefer Madness-the Musical

The Leafy Green Assassin of Youth

Reefer Madness originally was a 1936 movie, financed by a church group, to warn parents, not about demon rum, as this was after prohibition had failed, but against marijuana use. The film coincided with an attack by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Narcotics, culminating in a Federal tax in 1937 which was opposed by the AMA, N.B. it has been listed in the United States Pharmacopeia from 1850 until 1942, during which time it was prescribed for labor pains, nausea and rheumatism.

In the 1970’s the film became a cult classic of misinformation as the baby-boomers embraced marijuana as a pathway to spiritual enlightenment. Kevin Murphy, Dan Studney turned this campy movie into a musical, which opened at Seattle Musical Theatre this past Thursday.


Winter Bird

The Eclectic Theater is a small black box just off Broadway, which contains all the energy and soul that should be present in such a space. Clearly, this company of artists is quite passionate.

Winter Bird, written by Stephen Delos Treacy, tells the story of a simple librarian who is visited by a sultry woman and becomes transfixed by her, but not is all as it seems. Mr. Treacy clearly had a story to tell, likely inspired by his background in wilderness biology. The story seems to rest on mostly solid ground in the first few acts, but ends in a final showdown which left this reviewer perplexed.


Molly Sweeney by Brian Friel

To See or Not to See, What are the Consequences?

Six days after the death of renowned Irish playwright Brian Friel, a truly awesome production of his play, Molly Sweeney, opened in Seattle at Theatre 4, produced by KTO Productions. With an extremely strong language-based script, this three-person stage play could easily be a radio play, as the visual element is almost totally unnecessary.

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