Intiman is Back: Intiman Theatre Festival Summer 2012
In this hedonistic thing called life, we all suffer set backs. But it’s the negative things that make the positive things all the better.
Intiman Theatre is back, dear hedonists. (Yay!) That’s right – it’s beaten back its financial woes, thanks in great part to the Seattle theatre community and its patrons – and come back strong to celebrate its 40th birthday. (Whoohoo!) This past February, the Intiman Board of Directors decided to move ahead with this festival, thanks to over 1,000 supporters raising the $1 million necessary for its 2-month run.
And how better to celebrate than to throw a Summer 2012 Intiman Theatre Festival?
No less than four very different – and extremely intense – plays are running from July 11th to August 26th, 2012. One of these plays is performed in the very intimate Studio Theatre. Three of the plays are running in repertory, which means they are all performed on the same stage (the Mainstage) over and over throughout the festival, with most of the 17 local members of the acting company crossing over between two and sometimes even three plays – over 40 roles in 80 performances. Utterly amazing. Hats must go off to Set Designer Jennifer Zeyl, too.
And the theme for this foursome – which covers Shanley’s Central Park in NYC to Ibsen’s Oslo to Shakespeare’s Verona to Savage’s Seattle drag club scene – is, quite simply, “don’t get too comfortable.”
Well said, that is.
I’ll break these plays down in the order that I, your Hedonista, saw them (received media passes to all 4 of the plays running during this festival).
Dirty Story: Rated R due to simulated gun violence, graphic language, and sexual situations. Its estimated run time: Act 1 60 minutes, Intermission 15 minutes, and Act 2 65 minutes. This is not your typical play, dear hedonists. Written by award-winning playwright and screenwriter John Patrick Shanley (playwright of Doubt and screenwriter of Moonstruck) and directed by Valerie Curtis-Newton, this is a play de-force not to be reckoned with. On its surface in Act 1, it appears to be the “how I met” story of a dysfunctional couple. Things, however, go wrong. Very wrong. Beyond dysfunctional, even. Then, in Act 2, it becomes apparent that this interpersonal play is really an international political play – one in which its actors behave in ways that people, much less countries, should never, ever behave. And its done in the way life is done, with poverty, violence, pain, suffering, tears, wealth, kindness, joy, peace, and laughter. Tough issues in an intimate theatre. Heavy stuff, but the stuff of which we need to be cognizant. Stuff we need to communicate and work through.
Hedda Gabler: Rated PG-13 due to simulated violence. Its estimated run time: Act 1 70 minutes, Intermission 15 minutes, and Act 2 45 minutes. Written by Henry Ibsen and directed by Andrew Russell, this play gives goose bumps. An intense, absolute thriller of a play that takes place within 48 hours and in which people do the unthinkable – in particular Ms. Hedda Gabler. Recently (and unhappily) married, she’s secretly pregnant with her new husband’s baby, pines for another love and all the while owes a judge who means to collect. Marya Sea Kaminski plays a perfectly psychotic princess utterly trapped in a prison of her own creation, albeit within the sexist and unequal confines of her time. What results is a shocking escape that is tragic for all to some degree. Misery does love company, after all.
Romeo and Juliet: Rated PG-13 due to simulated violence. Its estimated run time: Act 1 75 minutes, Intermission 15 minutes, and Act 2 60 minutes. Written by the Bard Billy Shakespeare and directed by Allison Narver, the Capulets and Montagues are at it again. Although I see my fair share of Shakespearean productions, and I’m constantly surprised (and pleased) to see fresh material distilled out of the same play. This rendition is no exception; the eery violence and hatred is balanced with repressed tenderness and love – with the usual tragic end. Fawn Ledesma’s Juliet is the perfect mate to Quinn Franzen’s Romeo – if only for the length of the play, that is.
Miracle!: Rated NC-17 due to simulated sexual acts, graphic language, and fabulous drag performances! Written and directed by Seattle’s own Dan Savage, this play is guaranteed to both offend and tickle the funny bone – simultaneously. This is The Miracle Worker set in a Seattle drag bar in the early 1990s, with Helen Keller a deaf/blind drag queen. (Oh, yeah, Dan Savage goes there … and we love him for it. And my fav drag performance in the play is the one performed by Drew Highlands as Bailey Legal, in case you go see it and wanted to know.) Kudos to Choreographer Waxie Moon. They even had a Drag Coach: Jerick Hoffer. The most light-hearted of the four plays, it still offers food for thought about sexual preferences, disabilities, and the ability to live and let live.
All tickets are $30. Intiman is offering honorary tickets to its 2011 subscribers, who had first dibs on seats before they went on sale to the general public on June 4th, 2012.