Announcing Annex’s 31st Season!

Annex Theatre announces its 31st Season in 2018. Join us as we unveil cultures, environments, and galaxies with a roster of amazing new and familiar artists. Scroll down to learn more and then grab a ticket to the Season Announcement Party on September 9!

 Graphic Design by Corinne Magin


written by Wesley K. Andrews, directed by Catherine Blake Smith
dramaturgy by L. Nicol Cabe
Winter Mainstage: February 9—March 3 Thur-Sat at 7:30 pm

The buddy system required by Row Yr Boat LLC means more than just friendship—to fight terrorists, Rose must get married. Row Yr Boat (Achievement Unlocked) is a dark, surrealist romantic comedy about drones, video games, unreality and magic, set against the backdrop of the War on Terror. Rose T. O’Brien, an eccentric late-20s gamer with massive confidence issues and a deep competitive streak, goes looking for employment in the virtual reality sector at a major industry conference in Vegas. There, Rose is recruited as a sensor for Row Yr Boat LLC, a company with an unprecedented condition for employment: Rose must be married within the year or lose everything. The condition isn’t unreasonable; it’s for her mental health.


written by Kyleigh Archer, directed by Kyleigh Archer & Jen Moon
Winter Off-Night: February 13—February 28 Tues-Wed at 7:30 pm

Due to budget cuts in medicaid, a group therapy is ending prematurely, but these girls have some unfinished business with each other. To celebrate their two years together they host a no-holds-bar ‘Safe Space’ slumber party and it quickly becomes evident the therapy is ending at pivotal moments in each of these girls’ lives. Even for one night they cannot stop the outside forces that shape who they are: opioids, eating disorders, slut shaming, and an inadequate foster system.These girls try to work together to shoulder the burden of living in a world where suddenly, there are no “safe spaces”.


a new musical by Scotto Moore
Spring Mainstage: April 27—May 19 Thur-Sat at 7:30 pm

Silhouette is a science-fiction musical sung by ten voices, exploring the collision of magic and technology on a faraway world. An astronaut crash-lands on a seemingly backwards planet, only to realize the natives are capable of practicing strange forms of magic. But as the astronaut is nursed back to health by the natives, rescuers from her star fleet arrive and threaten to decimate society on this world. Can the astronaut bridge the gap between the hard science & technology of her own people, and the inexplicable magic wielded on the planet? When the astronaut is forcibly taken back to her people, the magic that follows her onto her ship brings chaos and havoc to her tightly controlled home.


written by Sameer Arshad directed by Shahbaz Khan
Spring Off-Night: May 1—May 16 Tues-Wed at 7:30 pm

Islamic supernatural folklore meets American millennial realities in a thought-provoking comedy about dating while Muslim. A sensitive American-Muslim man from a conservative family starts a romance with an inspiring atheist Asian-American woman who was adopted by liberal white parents. The two of them navigate their cultural differences with good cheer and their relationship grows lovingly, peppered with comedic moments of awkwardness. But the invasive supernatural world just cannot handle all this fluffy saccharine goodness. Agendas play out against each other as djinn and angel alike struggle to accept the ever-changing narrative of human sexuality and morality, with everything coming together in a crashing realization that even the Heavens are not immune to the power of the human condition.


written by Holly Arsenault, directed by Erin Kraft
Summer Mainstage: July 27—August 18 Thur-Sat at 7:30 pm

A true story you’ve never heard about the catastrophic cruelty of deportation and the supernatural awesomeness of love. In 1755, a pregnant young woman and her family evade deportation by hiding in the deep woods of a remote island, where they survive for nine years. 250 years later, a pair of lovers, separated by war, attempts to reunite against the backdrop of a second deportation. Part historical drama, part futuristic dystopiana, and part romantic comedy, The Great Inconvenience is a mostly-imagined-but-partly-true love story about enemies and secrets and power and faith and survival.


written by Natalie J. Copeland, directed by Emily Harvey
music by Aaron Joshua Shay

Summer Off-Night: July 31—August 15 Tues-Wed at 7:30 pm

Welcome to Camp Dusty Tread, the friendliest place on Mars! You’re a Mars rover, and you’ve just landed on the red planet! Settle in for a cold night at Camp Dusty Tread, where you’ll learn what it takes to live and work on Mars from your head counselors, Spirit and Opportunity. These interplanetary geologists will warm you with tall tales, camp songs, and cautionary tips for the novice Mars explorer. Rovers and landers of all ages and scientific payloads are welcome to this interactive orientation!


written by Madison Jade Jones, directed by Brandon J. Simmons
Fall Mainstage: October 26—November 17 Thur-Sat at 7:30 pm

Anansi and the Halfling is a mystical journey of discovered identity, ancient truth, and incredible fun told through the lens of a young black woman desperate to find herself.  African storytelling has many forms. Ancient wisdoms were passed down through song, dance and (often comical) metaphorical re-tellings. Anansi and the Halfling strives to bring those storytelling mediums to light in a modern way through the experiences of a young, black millennial. As the story snakes through a college classroom, a mystical story realm, and the home of the gods themselves, puppetry, drumming, and movement are as crucial to the storytelling as the words themselves are. Our heroine strives to learn that in order to know where you’re going, you have to know where you came from. . . even when the past is painful.


written by Marcus Gorman and Jacob Farley, directed by L. Nicol Cabe
Fall Off-Night: October 30—November 14 Tues-Wed at 7:30 pm

A science-fiction comedy adventure about a plumber, an AWOL pilot, and a galaxy in crisis. The year is 3732. Peggy—a Plumbing Specialist First Class at the prestigious Universe University—unexpectedly finds herself trapped in a galactic conflict between worlds. As she and an AWOL female military pilot named Rogen bounce across the far reaches and strange planets of the galaxy looking to stay alive, they become key in the means to achieve peace and save the day.

Is She Dead Yet?

(a white comedy)
Written and directed by Brandon J. Simmons
July 31 – August 22, Thurs-Sat at 8 pm
PWYC Preview: July 30
PWYC Industry Night: August 10
Opening Night: July 31
Free Lecture Series Aug 6, 14, 20

What happens to white privilege when there are no more black people?

Annex Theatre invites you to the town of Mini-Salt-Lake-in-the-North-Woods, where the local cloud factory has produced “quality clouds for over half a century.” This is a world in which the whites are immortal, where Death itself is running for high political office, and where there is always an abundance of pink cake.

“Is She Dead Yet?” updates Euripides’ tragicomedy “Alcestis”—about a young wife who sacrifices herself to save her husband from death—into an absurd exploration of American whiteness. In this adaptation, the young wife turns out to be the last black person on earth, and her sacrifice will render the planet entirely white.

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Written and directed by Brandon J. Simmons, with music by Christen Audio Group, choreography by Noah Duffy and featuring the talents of Page Clark, Hannah Victoria Franklin, Soren Gillaspy, Yesenia Iglesias, Alex Matthews, Dani Suder, Shane Regan, Carol Thompson, Tom Wisely and John Wray.

Don’t miss this topical, hysterical, “white comedy”!

“…a vitally important drama for all of us at this very distressing time in American race relations…It is about the human condition, about justice and equality, about racial arrogance and insensitivity, about love and how it defines everything that matters in our individual lives…it’s the best locally written play that I’ve seen this year. Don’t let it get past you.” – Seattle Actor

Yesenia Iglesias Aretha
Alex Matthews Adam Brad
Hannah Victoria Franklin Auntie/Klea
Carol Thompson Janice/Handmaid
John Wray Old Adam
Dani Suder Reporter/Doctor
Soren Gillaspy Chorus
Paige Clark Chorus
Tom Wiseley Chorus
Shane Regan Chorus
Stage Manager Maureen Webb
Lighting Designer Ryan Dunn
Set Designer Keny Dutton
Original Music and Sound Design Christen Audio Group
Props Designers Keny Dutton and Adam Zopfi-Hulse
Costume Designer Adam Zopfi-Hulse
Choreographer Noah Duffy
Dance Captain Yesenia Iglesias
Technical Director Ian Johnston
Production Managers Katie McKellar and Noelle Wilcox

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.

The Tale of Jemima Canard

Written by Brandon J. Simmons
Directed by Carys Kresny

Fri-Sat at 8 pm, April 22-May 21
$15 general / $10 TPS, senior, military / $5 student
PWYC Industry Night: Monday, May 9

There’s something odd about Kilkin Farm. The ducks parade about in skirts and bonnets and carry on forbidden love affairs with the hounds. Badgers and foxes negotiate their bloody deals behind the henhouse, bartering for flesh by day, and stealing it by night. And Miss Potter, the farm’s indomitable mistress, is driven nearly to madness.

Only Potter can unlock the mysteries of this world. As she examines the hidden corners of her own past, layers of passion and regret weave themselves into a tale that blurs the lines between love and violence, food and sex, and ultimately, the artist and the art she creates.

Love! Whimsy! Terror!

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.

Mary Murfin Bayley Potter
Truman Buffett TWG
Danielle Daggerty Rebecca
James James Leroy/Brock
Martyn G. Krouse Roland
Jillian Vashro Jemima
Production Director Meaghan Darling
Stage Manager Katie Driscoll
Set Design Emily Reitman
Light Design Tess Malone
Costume Design Hannah Schnabel
Mask Maker/Props Design Cole Hornaday
Sound Design Erin Paige
Fight Choreographer Ryan Spickard
Dialect Coach Pamala Mijatov
Dramaturg Bret Fetzer
Technical Director Ian Johnston