In my experience, January is this funky-fresh, liminal space for regional theater. Dickens Season wraps up, springtime musicals are just starting to wake up with the sun and every year I find myself catching my breath for the month. Maybe one January I’ll perform, but this year I am perfectly content just watching.
Something so vital about community theater is how financial accessibility is an integral part of its function. Sliding scale, industry-pricing and pay-what-you-can (PWYC) options keep folks coming back to theater and help working artists celebrate their peers and communities. I don’t know about you, but my budget is a little strained after such a great end-of-year season, so this list is dedicated to tickets I can actually afford this January.
‘Thank You for Coming’
Created by SPACE / Faye Driscoll at On The Boards, Jan. 19-22, tickets $20-$32
I first fell head over heels for Faye Driscoll’s work at her audio-theatrical installation “Come On In” last spring. A mover, performer and theatrical innovator, Driscoll’s view of theater as a social space draws in small audiences and involves cinderblocks, pulleys, lemons and wherever my socks end up when they get knocked off. This performance was delayed, and I’m very excited to finally see it.
‘An Endless Shift’
Devised by Gloria Alcalá and Alma Davenport, at ArtsWest Playhouse,
Jan. 26-Feb. 19, tickets $15-$120 PWYC
In 2023, I’m starting to see plays in reaction to 2020 highlights that don’t make me go “too soon?” The best way to tell stories of real, recent events is by starting local, and “An Endless Shift” does just that through Alcalá’s solo performance of the testimonies of Seattle nurses at the beginning of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
‘An Incomplete List of All the Things I’m Going to Miss When the World Is No Longer’
Wr. Dante Green, dir. Nansi Dwendi, at Theatre Off Jackson, Jan. 27-Feb. 13, ticket prices to be announced (Dacha historically offers PWYC)
Similarly to 2020 world-event plays, I’m back in the saddle to consume end-of-the-world plays. What better way to return to the genre than with an electro-synth musical? With Dacha’s productions being so immersive and direct with audiences, I expect to party/cry (party-cry?) hard at Theatre Off Jackson.
‘History of Theatre’
Wr. Reginald André Jackson, dir. Valerie Curtis-Newton, at Falls Theatre, Jan. 28-Feb. 12, tickets PWYC on certain seats
The development of Jackson’s play about the hidden history of African American theater was featured in ACT’s 2021 season, and to see it bloom into full staging is nothing short of a triumph of all involved, past and present. Even just reading the descriptions of the show called me to question how I’ve been taught American theater history.
W. Barnett Marcus is an actor in Seattle.
Read more of the Jan. 4-10, 2023 issue.