Let me give you the bad news first: Book-It Repertory Theatre, the beloved and acclaimed company known for its adaptations of literary works for the stage, is closing after more than 150 productions and three decades of pulling off the singular feat of transforming books, both contemporary and classic, into unforgettable live experiences.
The board listed multiple reasons for this decision, citing dwindling audience numbers, the absence of major donations and a recent cancellation of a show due to a COVID-19 exposure that resulted in a $20,000 loss. The 2023-2024 season was hyped to be an exciting one, featuring adaptations of “Frankenstein” and “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea,” but due to this announcement, Book-It’s current show, “Solaris,” will be its last.
“Solaris” follows a psychologist who discovers a planet covered by a mysterious ocean may have the power to create memories, forcing her to revisit a painful past. It is a story about memory, a meditation on the nature of intelligence and grief and a final opportunity to view this renowned company’s magic at work.
On a lighter note, there’s nothing like enjoying a beautiful PNW summer outdoors with the Bard. Seattle Shakespeare Company’s Wooden O is back for a summer adaptation of “The Tempest,” bringing the classic tale of romance, revenge and enchantment to various locations throughout the region, including Volunteer Park in Seattle,
Luther Burbank Park in Mercer Island and Lynndale Park in Lynnwood, with more dates set for Issaquah, Everett, Tacoma and Shoreline. Running July 6 to August 6 and providing accessibility with free admission, “The Tempest” is bound to bring delight to theatergoers all month long. This PNW-inspired iteration will be Leah Adcock-Starr’s directorial follow-up to 2019’s “Romeo and Juliet” — an exciting and fitting collaboration in light of her approach to storytelling; she believes, as Shakespeare himself did, that the play should “hold a mirror up to nature.”
Speaking of outdoor theater, Dacha Theatre’s latest show, “Sometimes the Rain, Sometimes the Sea,” is a love story between a Rain Cloud and a human and a “sort-of retelling” of “The Little Mermaid.” Opening July 21 and running through August 6 on the lawn of the UW campus, “Sometimes the Rain” promises to be delightful. Director Kate Drummond calls it a show for “everyone who is embarking on a new relationship with their bodies and each other, people who grew up reading fairy tales and people who grew up questioning who they are.” With her trademark enthusiasm, she speaks of the show’s themes: reframing the stories we tell ourselves, the stories of our own lives and our interactions with ourselves and our community. As with every Dacha show, Easter eggs will abound, including historically accurate references to Hans
Christian Andersen’s life that may surprise many audience members.
Johannes Saca is a writer and artist based in Seattle. Find him on Instagram/Twitter @JohannesSaca.
Read more of the July 5-11, 2023 issue.