Since opening its doors at its original home on 4th Avenue in 1988, Annex Theatre has produced hundreds of new plays and performances—always seeking work that explores what makes the medium of theater different from television, movies, or the internet. We consider ourselves part of the research and development wing of American theater, producing the work that has the greatest risk, giving new and emerging artists the opportunity to succeed—or fail spectacularly in the rawest yet most supportive forum we can provide.
Now at 11th & E Pike St. in Capitol Hill, Annex Theatreʼs 24th season is no different, featuring four Mainstage productions, four Late-Night productions, and four Off-Night productions (of which three remain to be chosen).
Mainstage: Duel of the Linguist Mages
Fri-Sat at 8 pm, Jan 21-Feb 19
Duel Of The Linguist Mages is a dark new sci-fi comedy about two corporate researchers who hack into the very structure of language. Their discovery of “power morphemes”—tiny particles of meaning that mean much more than they should—turns out to be unexpectedly dangerous and shockingly easy to weaponize. As the two researchers gain unprecedented linguistic power, they turn against each other in a struggle to control their new technology. A hapless computer programmer is caught in the crossfire—can he stop the spread of “power morphemes” before all of human civilization is brought to its knees? Who will survive the Duel of the Linguist Mages? Written and directed by Scotto Moore, whose previous play at Annex, When I Come to My Senses, Iʼm Alive!, was nominated for a Gregory Award, building on the success of his 2008 play interlace [falling star].
About When I Come to My Senses…: “One wants to see more plays like this in Seattle—smart science fiction about the amazing world we have found ourselves heading toward.” —The Stranger
About interlace [falling star]: “[Writer/director] Moore conjures…with geeky authority and comic flair.” —Seattle Times
“interlace is a tireless narrative machine that generates comic nonsense and cosmic concepts.” —The Stranger
Late-Night: Penguins, Ep. 4: Suffer the Children
Fri-Sat at 11 pm, Jan 28-Feb 18
The scandals that rocked the Catholic Church finally come to roost at St. Benedictʼs: The diocese has its very own pedophile. Someoneʼs got to take the fall. As reporters dig into the past, the ever-greedy Father Jones and tyrannical Sister Bernadette fight to control the present—including missing relics, rebellious underlings, incriminating videotape, and a lonely Mormon missionary. Sister Candy and elderly Connie Sullivan face unexpected pregnancies, Sisters Jenny Memphis and Mimi Coco wrestle with inappropriate desires, and young Adam learns some unwelcome news about his parentage. Mix in a couple of dance numbers and some surprising guest stars and you have the latest episode of Scot Augustsonʼs late-night serial comedy, Penguins! Directed by Bret Fetzer (director of Macha Monkeyʼs recent production, Hearts Are Monsters).
“Penguins is a breath of fresh, filthy air…its balls-out devotion to depravity is executed by a talented, canny cast…actually shocking comedy.” —The Stranger
Off-Night: I Was a Fat Kid…I Was a Really Fat Kid
Tues-Wed at 8 pm, Feb 1-16
Whatʼs more entertaining than other peopleʼs unhappiness? Portland storyteller Nathaniel Boggess transforms his childhood as a fat outcast into rueful, squalid, and comic tales of Booberry cereal, wedgies, cruel nicknames, and working at just about every fast food restaurant imaginable. Boggessʼs deceptively offhand performance style puts a sly spin on adolescent awkwardness and misery. Come binge and purge with I Was a Fat Kid…I Was a Really Fat Kid! Directed by Shelley McLendon.
Mainstage: The Tale of Jemima Canard
Fri-Sat at 8 pm, April 22-May 21
The underbelly of Beatrix Potter comes to life in The Tale of Jemima Canard. A young innocent, capricious but willful, falls under the romantic sway of a predatory cad—but the characters are not Edwardian ladies and gentlemen; they are ducks, hounds, badgers, and foxes. As the author is interrogated by one of her own characters, layers of love, envy, jealousy, and much worse become revealed as the play delves into the deceptively whimsical lives of Jemima, her hard-as-nails sister Rebecca, the rugged but earnest St. Hubert brothers, the degenerate Tommy Brock, Miss Potter herself, and the elegant and alarming Tawny Whiskered Gentleman. Seattle actor Brandon J. Simmons makes his playwriting debut with this anthropomorphic dream-play, using Potterʼs The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck as a springboard to explore the nature of fate and time, blurring the lines between animal/human, love/violence, food/sex, and the artist and the art she creates. Directed by Carys Kresny, who previously dug her directorial fingers into dark and roiling emotions in The Changeling and Penetralia at Annex.
Late-Night: Women in Peril
Fri-Sat at 11 pm, April 29-May 20
Itʼs a lazy critical slam: “It was like a Lifetime Movie.” Women in Peril wears that like a badge of honor. Bad Actor Productions brings their campy nonsense to bear on the trashy world of 1990s Lifetime Movies of the Week—the kind we watched with our moms!—feeding the movies of Judith Light, Tori Spelling, and Meredith Baxter-Birney into a gender-bending blender. Can the heroines overcome their [stalker/eating disorder/disease of the week] in time to save their [cheerleader daughter/heartbroken ex/obsessed student] from [death/coma/drag overdose]? Find out in the Spring when Annex Theatre hosts Bad Actors Productions! Directed by Jason Sharp (who played a superhero in Annexʼs production of Alecto, Issue #1).
Tues-Wed at 8 pm, May 3-18
Mainstage: The Strange Misadventures of Patty, Pattyʼs Dad, Pattyʼs Friend Jen and a Bunch of Other People
Fri-Sat at 8 pm, July 29-Aug 27
Happiness is precarious in Allison Mooreʼs The Strange Misadventures of Patty, Pattyʼs Dad, Pattyʼs Friend Jen and a Bunch of Other People: Patty, a rising young economist whose best friend Jen has superpowers, has a life full of promise and dance numbers—which is abruptly derailed by the arrival of her estranged, alcoholic father, whoʼs just had a stroke. The Strange Misadventures of Patty juggles delightful fantasy, social comedy, economic theory, and harsh reality with vivid language and wild physicality. Director Amy Poisson.
Late-Night: Penguins, Ep. 5
Fri-Sat at 11 pm, Aug 6-26
End times are near in the final episode of Scot Augustsonʼs black-and-white comedy Penguins! The conflict of priests vs. nuns comes to a head, along with exorcisms, conspiracies, lesbian love, historical secrets revealed, and more of the caustic comedy thatʼs brought this late night serial acclaim and dismay! Directed by Bret Fetzer.
Tues-Wed at 8 pm, Aug 9-24
Mainstage: c.1993 (you never step in the same river twice)
Fri-Sat at 8 pm, Oct 21-Nov 19
On Halloween night in 1993, the young movie star River Phoenix collapsed outside of the Viper Room in Los Angeles and died of an overdose of heroin, cocaine, and other drugs. Using a crazy-quilt mix of pop music, professional wrestling moves, cinematic dialogue, political debate, and other cultural debris from this tumultuous year, c.1993 starts with the question: Why are fucked-up, self-destructive young men considered sexy and rebelious, while fucked-up, self-destructive young women are clowns or train wrecks? Conceived and directed by Bret Fetzer, c.1993 will be developed in collaboration with an ensemble of performers and designers, in the tradition of previous Annex productions Cat-Like Tread and I Feel Fine.
Late-Night: Classy Nonsense
Fri-Sat at 11 pm, Oct 28-Nov 18
From the arch operettas of Gilbert & Sullivan to the sardonic satires of Tom Lehrer to the shotgun blast parodies of Weird Al Yankovic, comic songs have proven surprisingly durable. Dan Hamannʼs girlfriend says to her mother, “He writes and plays absolutely beautiful guitar and piano parts…and then he sings about the dumbest, weirdest things.” Hamann delivers his original songs with skilled musicianship and impeccable poise, lending a tongue-in-cheek gravitas to material both silly and sly. In addition to having performed his songs (as well as songs by the Gershwins, Cole Porter, et al with jazz trios) at venues around Seattle, Hamann previously transcribed and directed the popular Swimming in Seuss at the much-missed New Mercury Theater and Theater Babylon between 1993-1996.
Tues-Wed at 8 pm, Nov 1-16
ABOUT ANNEX THEATRE
Annex Theatre is a democratic collective of theatre artists dedicated to creating bold new work in an environment of improbability, resourcefulness, and risk.
In addition to new plays by living playwrights, Annex produces radical reinterpretations of classic scripts, ensemble-generated non-linear spectacles, and dynamic solo performances, as well as our monthly late-night variety show Spin the Bottle, now in its 14th year. All productions are chosen by the Annex company as a whole, through a process of proposals, interviews, readings, frenzied argument, and final consensus.
Annex Theatre now resides at the corner of 11th Ave and E Pike St. in the heart of Capitol Hill. After early throes on Bainbridge Island, Annex Theatre began in 1988 in a former dance studio on 4th Avenue in downtown Seattle. Since then the theater has produced hundreds of world and Northwest premieres, including new plays by Stranger Genius Award winners Chris Jeffries and Paul Mullin; dozens of other local playwrights, including Elizabeth Heffron, Jeff Resta, Kelleen Conway Blanchard, Scotto Moore, Keri Healey, Scot Augustson, John Kaufmann, and Heidi Heimarck; and nationally recognized playwrights such as Erik Ehn, Naomi Iizuka, Glen Berger, Anne Washburn, Jeffrey Jones, and Nicky Silver.
Former Annex company members can be found throughout the Seattle arts community, including Allison Narver, former Artistic Director of the Empty Space; Weir Harman, Executive Director of Town Hall; Josef Krebs, Development Director for ACT Theatre; Andrea Allen, Education Director of Seattle Repertory Theatre; and Gillian Jorgensen, Seattle Children’s Theatre Teaching Artist—as well as in the local and national film
industry, such as directors SJ Chiro, Garrett Bennett, and Mike Shapiro, and actors Jillian Armenante and Paul Giamatti. We believe that Annexʼs distinctive collective working model (which cultivates a combination of initiative, diligence, and the ability to play well with others) is responsible for this remarkable track record of producing leaders in the arts.
Annexʼs new Artistic Director is Pamala Mijatov, who rose to power in September of 2010.