Remind me what the saying is: April showers bring hordes of photogenic passersby to the UW campus, right? Whether it’s the iconic cherry blossoms or sparks of emerging theater in Seattle, something’s blooming as spring rolls in. Be it staged readings — low-key performances where actors read aloud from printed scripts as a way of testing new material — or premiering works in their fully staged form, this month my eye is on productions just taking root.
‘Refugees in the Garden City’
Through April 16 at Isaac Studio at Taproot Theatre
Staged in a hotel room in Victoria, “Refugees in the Garden City” accesses themes of immigration, mixed-race parenthood and — at least from what I’ve heard — “Doctor Who.” As “Refugees” is a co-production between Pratidhwani and ReAct, I look forward to seeing how the artistic goals of each company generate wide-reaching connections with the script. In this 90-minute one-act performance, audiences are treated to the premiere run of Moran’s new play. “Refugees in the Garden City” features two alternating casts, so this is a show to see twice for an even richer experience.
‘How to Break’
Through April 30 at Francis J. Gaudette Theatre (Issaquah); May 5 to 28 at Everett Performing Arts Center (Everett)
“How to Break” appears to me as something so intimate and yet so explosively visceral all at once. A life experience as confined as hospitalization is juxtaposed with hip-hop, both navigated under the dizzying ride of adolescence under American health care. The idea of mixing breakdancing, beatboxing and poetry in this world-premiere hip-hop play has me already on the edge of my seat. For many artists in Seattle, visiting Village Theatre can be a trip, but let’s just say I’m already dreaming up my perfect carpool.
April 14–16; West of Lenin
Three days. Seven plays. This year, Macha Theatre Works’ annual “Distillery” series features seven new works by women, femme-identifying and non-binary playwrights. The titles that interest me most this year are the Filipino vampire story “Nanay” (written by Molly Olis Krost, directed by Anamaria Guerzon) and 2080-experimental-pregnancy-climate-disasterpiece “What To Expect When You’re Simulating” (written by Nabra Nelson, directed by Lia Sima Fakhouri).
Interacting with and promoting new, developing theater is one of the best ways to help the art form grow. It’s also a great way to stay on top of what may be the next cutting-edge play or to cheer on an earworm that could grow into the next musical number on the tip of everyone’s tongue. I welcome spring and await with bated breath what the Seattle theater scene grows next.
W. Barnett Marcus is an actor in Seattle.
Read more of the Apr. 5-11, 2023 issue.