My wife and I were missing our hometown (Seattle) the other day, as we are exiled and adventuring abroad for the year, and counting its many glories, not least among which is the thriving theater scene. "Remember that one play?" she'd say, and I: "that was great; remember this other one?" Suddenly it seemed like we'd seen a lot of plays during the last two years. Suddenly it seemed we should try to make a list of those we remembered particularly.
Comedy of Errors
dir. George Mount for
: we saw this Shakespeare-in-the-park production twice, once at the show's open, and again at its close, as a treat for our out-of-town wedding guests.
: Another Shakespeare-in-the-Park, this time at Seward, and a season before.
Pilgrims Musa and Sheri in the New World
dir. Anita Montgomery for
: Staring my good friend Carol Roscoe in a breakout role.
at Seattle Shakespeare Company: featuring, on the night we went, live music by
, composed especially for the show.
Crime and Punishment
: one of the only competent productions I've seen at this beleaguered, (since closed) regional playhouse more concerned with furthering a sociological agenda than with making good art.
Intiman: Officially the worst play I've ever seen, despite (because of?) the cast's having been shipped in from New York, to the understandable pique of Seattle's own talented acting pool; we walked out at half-time and were dismayed for weeks.
On the Town (a musical)
at 5th Ave: the actress/singer/personality Sara Rudinoff enlivens everything she touches.
Seattle Repertory Theater: disarmingly charming and British.
Jude the Obscure
Erikson Theater: My own entry in Book-it's Novel Workshop Series; actors reading from stools on stage hasn't been so entertaining since Dylan Thomas' reading of
in New York, which I unfortunately missed, having been born forty years too late for the premier.
The Cider-House Rules
(parts 1 and 2): an epic production full of moving performances, which addressed, I think, social problems we're not really having. It made terrific sense when they staged it 15 years earlier, to general acclaim.
: Unbelievable directing, a terrific supporting cast, and Jane Jones (as both Havisham and Betsy) in a performance I think I'll always remember.
Oh Lovely Glowworm
dir. Roger Benington for
: A flawless production of a flawed but terribly-inspiring play. Magical in nearly-every way: this was one of those rare (for me) pieces of art that made me want to do everything differently.
: This tiny theater is (was) the most important thing happening in the Northwest for the last decade. The ambition and level of artistry on evidence was just stupefying. Then, they lost most of their ensemble, artistic directors, and lighting designers either to New York or to theaters with bigger budgets, and have since become a gay teen youth center that sometimes does plays.
Seattle Shakes: A Christmas production! So fun and Dickensian!
Two Gentlemen of Verona
: A mod-production that used technology in a smart way: characters texted each other and we could read their screens via subtle projections. Sounds fishy, but it wasn't. Definitely the coolest production I've ever seen of this play.
: This was kind of a play, but mostly a vehicle for the emoting of its female lead Marya Kaminsky. She's a phenomenal actress, but it was unsettling to basically watch someone hurt for two hours straight; like watching
Passion of the Christ
Those were the big ones anyway. Added to the concerts (notably, the XX, Sunny Day Real Estate, Rufus Wainwright, and Mark Kozalek) and dance shows (importantly Nacho Duato,
--which may be the single best thing I've ever seen--Pacific Northwest Ballet's
, Seattle Opera's
, and the powerful modern company Sonia Dawkins' Prism Dance Theater), well, we were busy. Still, what a city.