Artistic

Request For Proposals 2015!

Annex Theatre is now accepting proposals for its 2015 season, and you can now access the official RFP right here. We’re looking for four mainstage projects and up to four late night or off night projects – deadline for proposing is April 25 at 5pm!

American Theatre features Annex in geek theatre article

Annex is featured heavily in a recent article about “geek theatre” in American Theatre:

In 2010, Annex Theatre found itself with a surprise hit on its hands when it produced Alexander Harris’s Alecto: Issue #1, a satirical, Spandex-clad comedy about the hidden, questionable motives of a group of superheroes. In 2012, it revived these characters with Team of Heroes: Behind Closed Doors, the second installment of what would ultimately become known as the “Team of Heroes Trilogy” when it reached its final chapter in 2013’s Team of Heroes: No More Heroes. Annex artistic director Pamala Mijatov describes the central characters of the trilogy as “a corporate-owned conglomeration of genetically enhanced reality stars,” claiming that the ultimate audience appeal lay in the shows’ “larger-than-life but recognizably human power struggles, love affairs, aspirations and betrayals.”

Rachel Jackson, who portrayed the villain Chaos Theory in the last two “Team of Heroes” productions, acknowledges that the superhero narrative appeals to a sense of wish fulfillment. “It’s about being more than you seem to be, which is appealing when you’re feeling undervalued.” She also adds, slyly, “Your comfort thought if you were super-villain-inclined would be, ‘Just you wait!’”

American Theatre chats with Annex

American Theatre recently interviewed Annex communications director Jake Ynzunza about how we survive on the fringe:

Annex Theatre of Seattle is another example of an organization that believes in across-the-board financial equality. The 25-year-old company operates as a democratic collective of theatre artists, and everyone on staff, from the marketing director, to the bar manager, to the artistic director, get equal pay. In the case of Annex, though, that’s $15 a month—hardly enough for a meal, much less to live on. “We all have regular day jobs,” Annex communications director Jake Ynzunza explains, admitting he typically works 45 hours a week for Amazon.com. “All the actors and designers get paid $50 for the production of a show.”

How is this different from community theatre, given that the fees are so…paltry? “For one thing, community theatre is often better funded,” says Ynzunza with a chuckle. “But we’re a professional theatre, and our work gets recognized.” (Seattle’s Gregory Awards recently nominated three Annex productions for “Best New Play.”) Ynzunza continues, “People keep working with us because of the quality of our work and the way we treat our artists. We make theatre that is exciting and pushes boundaries—I think that’s why talent and audience keep coming back.”

Request For Proposals 2013!

Annex Theatre is now accepting proposals for its 2013 season, and you can now access the official RFP right here. We’re looking for three mainstage projects and up to four late night or off night projects – deadline for proposing is May 30 at noon!

Auditions for “A Mouse Who Knows Me”

Annex Theatre announces auditions for “A Mouse Who Knows Me,” to be performed in Fall 2012 with a workshop in July 2012. “A Mouse Who Knows Me” is a science fiction musical, the story of a geneticist who begins to suspect that one of her lab mice has attained human sentience as a result of her experiments. As she and her mouse begin to develop a strange relationship, a conspiracy unfolds to take devious advantage of this newly intelligent strain of mice; while unbeknownst to all, the mice themselves are plotting a bloody revolution. It’s an interspecies “West Side Story.”

“A Mouse Who Knows Me” is a world premiere musical with book & lyrics written by Scotto Moore (author of “Duel of the Linguist Mages”), music composed by Robertson Witmer (of “Awesome”), and direction by Kristina Sutherland (Co-Founder and Artistic Director of Macha Monkey). The time commitment is as follows: rehearsals for a public workshop that begin July 1, with a workshop date of July 15; rehearsals for the full production which begin August 13; production opens on October 19 and runs Thu-Sat until November 17. All actors sing & dance, and mice characters are portrayed in part by actors utilizing puppets while obviously visible on stage (in the style of “Avenue Q”). We have some flexibility with vocal range given that we can tailor the music to the performers to some degree, but our preferences are stated below.

The following roles are open for casting:

  • Dr. Audrey Whitman (one weekend only) – Audrey is the lead role in the show and is already cast; however, for the October 25-27 performance dates, we are seeking an understudy to play the role. She should be late 20s / early 30s, preferably alto. For the remainder of the run, we would expect this performer to appear in the Ensemble. Audrey is a genius researcher who is on the fast track in her laboratory – until she develops a surprising empathy for one of her lab mice.
  • Dr. Robert Cramer – the show’s antagonist. He should be in his 40s or 50s and preferably sing tenor. Dr. Cramer runs the university laboratory in which the show is set – he is a charismatic hot shot with shady ties to the military, whose willingness to advance his career threatens to overtake his lab.
  • D29-1 – a young mouse with a revolutionary fervor. He can be in his 20s or 30s and must sing high rock tenor. D29-1 is a firebrand who seeks revenge on the scientists after his mother was euthanized in a gas chamber; he leads the other mice to escape their cages and is a volatile, angry figure. This performer will also appear in the Ensemble.
  • Dr. Helena Warwick – the head of the genetics department at the university where the show is set. She should be in her 40s or 50s and can sing alto or soprano. Dr. Warwick is a stern bureaucrat helped Dr. Cramer into his position and now seeks the respect she feels is lacking from him; the two have a secretive connection that slowly comes to light. This performer will also play one of the featured Mice roles, and may also appear in the Ensemble.
  • Theodore Werner – a shady military industrialist. He should be in his 40s, 50s, or 60s, and preferably sing bass or baritone. He is a powerful man who is extremely accustomed to getting his way. This performer will also play one of the featured Mice roles, and may also appear in the Ensemble.
  • Ensemble – we are seeking three performers of either gender and various ages to appear as the Ensemble, as mice and as postdocs in the lab depending on the scene. We imagine the Ensemble to occasionally take on a “Chorus” role similar to the trio of chorus singers who appear occasionally in “Little Shop of Horrors” – these performers will be singing very frequently throughout this show.

For general auditions, please prepare a one minute monologue and a one minute song; we expect to have an accompanist available, but be prepared to sing a cappella if we do not. The first round of auditions is May 19-20. Callbacks will include movement/dance and vocals in groups & solo, as well as cold readings. Callbacks are May 22-24. You may schedule an audition time by emailing the Production Manager Meaghan Darling at meaghan.darling@annextheatre.org.

Auditions for “Kittens In A Cage”

Annex Theatre is seeking 7 actresses for a production of Kelleen Conway Blanchard’s new play, KITTENS IN A CAGE, to be directed by Bret Fetzer. Blanchard and Fetzer previously teamed up on SMALL TOWN (produced by Annex Theatre in 2007) and HEARTS ARE MONSTERS (produced by Macha Monkey Productions in 2010).

From the playwright: “KITTENS IN A CAGE tells Junie’s story, a good girl gone bad, sent to the pen by a buncha rats. From the knife fights in the showers to riots in the prison mess hall, Junie has to toughen up fast. Lucky for Junie, she’s got Vickie. A tough love story about bad broads that can’t get no breaks.”

KITTENS IN A CAGE opens on July 27 and runs Thurs-Sat at 8 pm through August 25. Rehearsals will begin on June 2.

The characters:
Junie—A real swell gal. She’s gonna win that Vickie’s heart, no foolin’. She plays the ukulele and sings.
Vickie—A real tough cookie. A firebug and a firecracker.
Prison Matron—An educated visionary. She enjoys experimenting on inmate’s brains and oiling her prosthetic arm.
Jeanine —She runs this henhouse. A former beauty pageant winner, she’s in the pen for chopping people up with an axe.
Barbara—Servin’ a dime for killing and eating her parole officer, also some girl scouts. She’s Jeanine’s muscle. Mute.
Nancy—The prison guard. She’s in secret love with the Prison Matron.

The following three characters are all played by the same actor:
Peggy—Knocked up thief. A good egg.
Lois—Pill popper.
Ma—Junie’s Ma. She’s a rotten tomato.

Auditions will be on Sunday, May 6, from 1-3 pm. Callbacks will be on May 12, 1-5 pm.

To schedule an audition slot, send an e-mail to Bret Fetzer at bret.fetzer@annextheatre.org. Please prepare a monologue of no more than a minute and a half; anyone interested in the role of Junie should also prepare to sing for no more than thirty seconds, unaccompanied. Questions? Contact Bret Fetzer.

Auditions for “Sideshow”

Sideshow
Produced by Annex Theatre
Written, Directed, & Choreographed by Jenna Bean Veatch

Annex Theatre announces auditions for their Spring off-night show, Sideshow! We are still in the process of creating and developing this show. All performers involved should be comfortable with movement, improvisation, and ensemble generation.

About the show:
Inspired by the tradition of the old-fashioned circus sideshow, this original dance-theater work features characters whose physical abnormalities bestow them with special powers. Rather than disabilities, they have super-abilities. The Bearded Lady is a contortionist who displays the remarkable magnetic powers of her mysterious beard. The Hunchback has super-human strength but dreams of being a beautiful tightrope walker. A girl with jaundice has the ability to imagine things that then come true. (Craggy trees grow love notes. Swimming pools become giant bowls of green Jello. Fish can fly. Sea sirens are real. . .) Supported by a chorus of sideshow performers singing haunting Appalachian ballads, “Sideshow” is whimsical with somber undertones and a tingling strangeness. Blending dance, theater, and elements of puppetry, it toes the line between being magical and haunting, simple and fantastical.

Casting Needs
Chorus (3 chorus members) – These performers will be singing unaccompanied Appalachian ballads and will be used in a variety of small roles throughout the show. We’ll be looking for people who can sing in this style and ideally also have circus-related skills (juggling! hula hooping!) or play a musical instrument. For the audition, please sing us a song and show us your special talent. Don’t know any unaccompanied Appalachian ballads? Sing “Amazing Grace.” Or even something from “O Brother Where Art Thou?”
Not familiar with this style of singing? Here are some examples:
-Hazel Dickens — http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FlAfA1AF4TQ
-Roscoe Holcomb — http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1cJRRc8FToQ
-Ginny Hawker — http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zHbfrWSU5D0&feature=results_main&playnext=1&list=PLEEF40B0E24B17142
-Ralph Stanley — http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2xmRWj7gJEU
-Alice Gerrard — http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TQgEF5hrchY

Ringmaster – This is someone whose commanding voice does not match their physical appearance. (For example, a very small person with a very large voice, or a woman with a very deep voice.) For the audition, you will be asked to read from the script, improvise, and show a special skill (circus-related, if ya got one).

Tree Person – We are looking for one more core cast member, to play The Tree Person — a person who has trees growing out of his or her hands, and who will fall in love with The Hunchback. This is a physical role and not a speaking part. If you are auditioning for this part, you will be asked to do some directed improvising at the audition. The other three core members (The Hunchback, who the story centers around, The Bearded Lady, and Daffodil, the jaundiced girl) have already been cast and have been working together on this project for more than a year.

Auditions – will be held Thursday February 23rd, from 6:30-10pm at Seattle Children’s Theatre’s West Rehearsal Hall. Please enter through the administrative office doors.
Chorus auditions – 6:30 – 7:45
Tree Person auditions – 7:45 – 9
Ringmaster auditions – 9-10
Callbacks will be held on Sunday February 26th at 10:30 am at Annex Theatre. Those who are cast will be asked to stay for the rehearsal from 12:30 to 3:00.

Schedule -
Chorus – 1-2 rehearsals per week, scheduled TBD based on performers’ availability.
Ringmaster – EITHER Tuesday daytimes OR one weekend day per week.
Tree Person – Tuesday daytimes and one weekend day per week.
Because the show is being developed through the rehearsal process, rehearsals will begin immediately. Show dates are Tuesdays and Wednesdays, May 1, 2, 8, 9, 15, and 16, with a preview on April 31.

To set up an audition time, please contact the production manager at grant.knutson@annextheatre.org and indicate which part(s) you would like to audition for.

Upcoming Events: Spin the Bottle & Weird and Awesome with Emmett Montgomery – July Edition

Jesse Keeter, Kate Yaeger, and Jason Sharp at last month's Spin the Bottle. Photography by Ian Johnston

SPIN THE BOTTLE – Friday, July 1st at 11pm
July’s edition of Spin the Bottle features, in no particular order:

The follicular stupendousness of EMMETT MONTGOMERY!
The raw throatiness of LESLI WOOD!
A puppetastic adaptation of the Greek tragedy AGAMEMNON!
The abundant drollery of UBIQUITOUS THEY!
The rueful words of BECKY BRUHN!
Sheer inexplicability from GUDE/LAURANCE!
Dirty, dirty thoughts from DARTANION LONDON!
…and more, more, more!

All held together by the lean and chewy BRUCE HALL!

Annex Theatre’s Spin the Bottle — featuring theater, music, dance, spoken word, film, and whatever else we can find — has appeared on the first Friday of every month since Sept 12, 1997.

Curated from the beginning by Bret Fetzer.

Emmett Montgomery takes over Annex Theatre on the first Sunday of every month at 7:30pm. Check it out!

WEIRD AND AWESOME WITH EMMETT MONTGOMERY – Sunday, July 3rd at 7:30pm
Weird and Awesome with Emmett Montgomery is a hideous monster with a heart of gold made up of fleshy bits of songs, jokes, sharing, talented people, prizes and nightmares sewn together with a thread of laughter and booze. Part awkward sharing party. part amazing variety show each show features talented people doing the things that they are really good at or something out of their comfort zone:

You will be shared with!
You will be sung at and told a story!
You will witness strange and wonderful things!
You will be told jokes by a comedian of note!
You will most likely win prizes!

All these will be hosted by Emmett Montgomery with special assistance from Barbara Holm.

Doors at 7pm, show at 7:30.
$10/$5 students, TPS members

FREE Staged Reading of “Peacock #7 Cafe & General Store” This Sunday at 3pm

Free reading of Annex Theatre’s first ever ACT Young Playwrights Program script Peacock #7 Cafe & General Store written by Evan Jayne

Sunday May 8th at 3pm

The Annex Theatre Mainstage!
1100 E. Pike St.Seattle, WA 98122

Featuring Shane Regan, Tom Dewey, Sarah Mountjoy-Pepka, Val Brunetto, Kenna Kettrick, Jacob Tice and B.Michael Peterson.

Directed by Jennifer Pratt, current Literary Director of Annex Theatre

Evan Jayne is a senior at Seattle Academy of Arts Sciences. Although he has never written a play prior to Peacock #7 Café and General Store, Evan has passionately participated in theater, primarily as an actor, since the third grade.

The Young Playwrights Program (YPP), ACT’s flagship education program, sends professional playwright teaching artists into area schools for 10 weeks to teach the basics of playwriting to Puget Sound-area students. ACT’s YPP equips participants with tools for creative self-expression, endowing them with self-confidence and the sense that their ideas – about themselves, their world, and the challenges they face – matter, and their voices will be heard.

Admission is FREE and space is limited to first come, first serve. Annex Theatre is located at 1100 Pike Street East, on the second floor (Entrance is next to the Vermilion Art Gallery and Bar).

Interview with a Playwright: Brandon J. Simmons Discusses “The Tale of Jemima Canard”

Playwright of "The Tale of Jemima Canard", Brandon J. Simmons. Photo Credit: Mark Brennan

Playwright, Brandon J. Simmons, is making his debut at Annex Theatre this Friday with his first play “The Tale of Jemima Canard”. This is an interview conducted by Brian Peterson, our Marketing Manager. “Jemima Canard” opens this Friday and runs through May 21st and you can purchase your tickets in advance on Brown Paper Tickets, or at the door.

Brandon J. Simmons, tell us how you became a playwright.

I’ve been writing forever, but I became a playwright 18 months ago when I wrote The Tale of Jemima Canard. I’d been attempting scripts for years, but Jemima was the first character who spoke to me long enough to write down a full-length play.

Do you write in any other forms, besides plays?

I have written a lot of poetry, and some stories. I also had a blog for a couple years while I was living abroad (in England, where I went to acting school). I have not published anything. This is my first and biggest project so far.

Who are the people who have inspired or influenced you as a playwright?

The obvious answer is Beatrix Potter. I find her works to be subtle, weird and complex. And her art is very evocative. I am also hugely inspired by animation, particularly the classic Disney musicals. I’m not as familiar with plays (unless I’ve worked on them as an actor) so few dramatists are a direct inspiration. But I love Tales of the Lost Formicans by Connie Congdon, and I think her language in that play has made an impact. I love the epic scale (the “real life is as big as the Bible” stance) of Angels in America. And Tom Stoppard is quite inspiring. I am also interested in adapting Borges, Lewis Carroll, the Grimms, Angela Carter—and other children’s books, even short one’s for really young children, into plays for adults.

Tell me about ‘finding your voice’ – were you aware of your gift or was it hiding under a surface?

The first time I remember writing something good was when I was nine years old. I wrote a “spring poem” for an assignment in fourth grade at Cherokee Heights Elementary in St. Paul, MN, and it was published in the big daily newspaper. I have been interested in writing since. I think I’ve always had an ear for style and pretty phrases, but only recently (like in the past year or so) have I honed my skill and become more judicious, much more meticulous, though I could use more judiciousness, more care.

What was your inspiration when writing ‘The Tale of Jemima Canard’?

I was captivated by Potter’s story the first time I read it. I was actually reading to children and I thought “should I be reading this to them? This is pretty intense!” Of course in Potter’s story, all the more adult themes are sublimated or supressed, but they leapt out at me: cannibalism, rape, gruesome violence, domestic peril. That’s just the icky stuff. There’s also the art, which is gorgeous, and the prose, which with Potter is always just a little awkward, but has these moments of absolute loveliness (particularly in The Tailor of Gloucester). But I didn’t want to write a rapey, dark, gruesome play. I wanted to write a play in which people dealt with those things by creating beauty. And I wanted to see people prancing around in duck bills.

‘The Tale of Jemima Canard’ is based off a book. What’s different and what’s similar in these two distinct stories?

My story is actually fairly true to the original. I’ve imported a character from one of Potter’s other stories (Tommy Brock, from The Tale of Mr. Tod), and included Potter herself as a character, though in the original there is a “farmer’s wife.” She doesn’t say anything in the original, but I wanted to include her and it made sense to make her Potter. The main difference between my play and Potter’s story is that I throw onstage all of the subtext (as I see it) from Potter’s book. Also, my play is not for children.

What influenced you to submit your play to Annex Theatre?

Annex is the most well-established theater in Seattle that is dedicated to taking serious risks with theater. They produce a lot of new work.

As a playwright, what has been the best part in working with Annex Theatre?

I had the great pleasure of working directly with Bret Fetzer as my dramaturg. Bret is a very experienced theater artist, and a very efficient communicator. Everyone at the theater was supportive of the writing process and we put together three full readings of the play, which was invaluable. The feedback from those sessions (both my meetings with Bret and the readings themselves) was integral to my developing the script into what it is now.