Monday, July 27, 2009

Summer theatre

Saturday night, surprise surprise, I went to a play. Or, rather, two plays.

Last summer I worked at Seattle Children's Theatre as a costume assistant, helping costume their Summer Season shows, which are all performed by children. It was a fabulous experience, and I had a lot of fun seeing the shows. I'm not working there this summer, but I figured I'd still go and see the shows. I missed the first two, which were Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, but I made it to the second two (though it was rather a trial, with breaking down cars and very late two trucks and parades). These plays are all one-acts, two an evening, so I saw Sideways Stories from Wayside School and A Midsummer Night's Macbeth.

I loved Sideways Stories from Wayside School the book, by Louis Sachar, when I was little, and the play was equally hilarious. I found I remembered the book surprisingly well--I must have read it multiple times. I recognized several of the actors from shows last year, and goodness, can these kids act. The actors are usually between about 9 and 16 years old, and they're always great, and very funny.

A Midsummer Night's Macbeth had me laughing pretty much all the way through, though possibly not on its own steam--it was funny because it was all so familiar, and also through a funny coincidence. I was sitting there during intermission reading the program, and looked at the cast list for this show to realize that my boyfriend's stepsister was playing the main character. And then I looked around the audience and saw her mother. So that was funny to begin with. The show is the sequel (of sorts) to High School Hamlet, which was one of my two favourite plays last year, and it's about a high school drama program trying to put on a retelling of A Midsummer Night's Dream, and Macbeth rather intruding into the proceedings. It was mostly hilarious because a high school drama program with no money and lots of drama and the constant struggle to actually produce a play is where I've been the last four years, so I recognized all of it. Not to mention, there was a character who was the resident techie, and being a techie myself, I always like it when they're not left out of representations of theatre. The techie, of course, kept saying things like, "Wait, did that stage direction just say this character gets dismembered? Um, how are we going to do that?" and then being jealous of the rival school's fly system and floor mics and asking to see the booth and getting all excited about it. This character was pretty much an exact picture of my boyfriend. Really, exact. It was a well done play in general, but that was what made me love it.

I'm afraid my reviewing of these plays does you no good if now you want to see them, but I figure I'll plug the next two weekends of shows, as they're sure to be pretty good. Next weekend is Rent: School Edition (I know, I'm skeptical too, but we'll see), and the weekend after that is Once on this Island, Jr. and Romeo and Juliet. The week after that there's also the Young Actor Institute Showcase, which I saw the dress rehearsal of last year and am rather excited about seeing this year.

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