Four Performances Remain of The Understudy at Green Lake’s Bathhouse Theater
Idioms, sayings and proverbs become idioms, sayings and proverbs precisely because they contain some noteworthy element of truth. One of these sayings is: “Good things come in small packages.”
A perfect theatrical example of this is the very tight and thoroughly entrancing 3-person cast play currently running at the Green Lake Bathhouse Theater. The play is the Seattle Public Theater’s (SPT’s) The Understudy. It runs from January 25th until February 17th, 2013 and sheds light on two male understudy actors and a female actor-turned-stage manager. (Your Hedonista recently attended as media.)
Faced with a bare-bones stage, characters in normal, everyday street clothes, and a pot-smoking lighting/sound/scene gal whom we never see but who never fails to entertain us while frustrating the characters, this play is all about life.
Life, complete with both highs and lows. Life with a sense of being a salmon trying to swim upstream but being blocked by a dam. Life that’s … well, rather Kafkaesque.
There’s a (bizarre) love triangle. There’s career envy, romantic jealousy, arrogance, and frustration. There’s even one hot kissing scene.
Mike Dooly, Brenda Joyner and John Ulman play Jake, Roxanne, and Harry, respectively. All three are, quite simply, soulful and brilliant. Mike most recently played Pompey in Atony and Cleopatra by the Seattle Shakespeare Company. Brenda hails from Alaska and has starred in Seattle Shakespeare Company’s Hamlet and their Wooden O summer series. Actor/Photographer John has played Harper in ACT’s One Slight Hitch and also starred in both Sunlight and A Midsummer Night’s Dream). All three are powerhouses in Seattle theatre.
Written by Theresa Rebeck and directed by SPT Artistic Associate Kelly Kitchens, The Understudy first premiered at the Williamstown Theatre Festival in July of 2008.
At first glance, this play seems both cynical and satirical towards the commercial side of acting (i.e., Hollywood versus Broadway versus small stage theater), but then it delves so much deeper and makes constant references to Franz Kafka and existentialism.
The resulting takeaway? That the unseen (and unforeseen) circumstances that life often spits out leads to some fairly absurd circumstances that, in turn, create “the existential attitude” – total confusion to the point of disorientation. (Or so Kafka would say, at least.)
The result: fabulous frustration that’ll keep all of you hedonists out there on the edge of your seats.
Four performances remain: Thursday, February 14th at 7:30 p.m., Friday, February 15th at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, February 16th at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, February 17th at 2:00 p.m. Tickets range in price from $29 to $15, with discounts for seniors (65 years of age and older) and youth (25 years of age and younger).