Written by Kelleen Conway Blanchard
Directed by Bret Fetzer
Thu-Sat at 8 pm, July 27th-August 25th (Thu PWYC)
$15 general / $10 TPS, senior, military / $5 student
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.
Junie, a juvenile delinquent with a heart of gold, gets thrown into a prison cell with hardened arsonist Vickie. But as they team up against the predations of prison queen bee Jeanine and her cannibalistic sidekick Barbara, not to mention the deranged scientific schemes of the Prison Matron, Junie finds her heart swelling up over Vickie. Does Vickie feel the same? Will Jeanine take vengeance in the shower? What’s up with those rumors of strange furry babies in the Matron’s secret laboratory?
Kittens in a Cage features an all female cast of Annex favorites, original songs by Rick Miller performed on the ukulele by Francesca Mondelli, and Kelleen Conway Blanchard’s unique voice. Kittens in a Cage is a love story, a story of breaks both good and bad, a story of survival, and an agonizingly funny portrayal of women behind bars.
Kittens in a Cage is 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).
“‘Kittens in a Cage’ is a f***ing riot. ‘Kittens’ takes on women’s-prison B movies and pulp novels with biting wit—no worries about offending anyone—and a gorgeous splatter of comically short prison uniforms (top buttons undone), smeared red lipstick, bright blue eye shadow, bouffant hairdos, and crazy accents…. This wicked, uproarious show features an all-female cast—not impossibly rare, but not common enough. Bosoms heave, brains leak out of heads, and women make out. Blanchard seems fully aware and in control while she wades into the muck of exploitation entertainment, with a wink and a nod (and a shiv) to its complicated history of empowerment.” –The Stranger
“In a nutshell: Kittens in a Cage is a funny, witty, naughty romp through chicks in prison films, with a spicy dash of horror and all overlaid with a delicious lesbionic sauce of camp and heaving bosoms.” –Seattle Gay Scene
“So what’s not to love about a play starring 7 local powerhouse actresses and written by an equally strong local, female playwright?! Given the dearth of substantive roles for women in theatre and film, it is great to see a show like ‘Kittens in a Cage’ infused with so much estrogen and feminine prowess…. The entire cast does a great job, and it is obvious that they are having a lot of fun in their respective roles; and when I saw the show on opening night, it was obvious that the audience had just as much fun watching them.” — Drama in the Hood
Reviews of past Bret Fetzer / Kelleen Conway Blanchard collaborations:
Hearts are Monsters
“Hearts Are Monsters, a loose riff on Hamlet, fills the small stage at
Rendezvous with the gallows humor and elegant garishness of a 1970s
exploitation film…Monsters has a style that hovers somewhere between
John Waters, Daniel Waters (Heathers), and Jack Hill (Switchblade
Sisters, Foxy Brown), but Kelleen Conway Blanchard’s world-premiere
script bristles with dense, dirty intelligence, and the jokes come
thick and fast…The cast, directed by Bret Fetzer, never plays the
script for camp, but delivers the craziest lines with a dead-ahead
seriousness that makes the comedy that much sharper.” – The Stranger
“[Small Town] is snappy and quick-paced; Fetzer, who has an obvious
knack for comedy, keeps things flowing nicely, and he seems to work
well with actors, drawing from each a solid performance. The staging
is exceptional, especially considering the tight space of CHAC’s
downstairs venue; for instance, by virtue of a ratty couch that flips
back on hinges, Stu Lionel’s underground abattoir is revealed. It’s a
nice touch, as is the split-second conversion of that same couch into
a mammoth dining table. Also noteworthy are the wonderful musical
interludes that punctuate the action: Bud’s uproariously heartfelt
crooning of the Scorpions’ “No One Like You,” or the final number, an
astonishing bluegrass version of Outkast’s hit “Hey Now,” with the
whole cast chanting the chorus in a flat-footed monotone. These
moments stand out not only for their expert execution but also for
their refreshing sense of levity—of good-hearted fun and comic warmth,
for lack of better terms.” –The Seattle Weekly
Conceived & directed by Bret Fetzer
Thu-Sat at 8 pm, Oct 21-Nov 19
$15 general / $10 TPS, senior, military / $5 student
PWYC Industry Night: Monday, November 7
Annex Theatre invites you on a journey to 1993, the year River Phoenix died, WWF’s RAW was launched, Bill Clinton was inaugurated, and Whitney Houston convinced the world she would always love them.
Bret Fetzer and his ensemble of local performers present a moody musical mash-up, a retrospective with modern resonances. There will be singing, there will be dancing, there will be wrestling, there may be a few answers, but the fun will lie in asking questions.
c. 1993 (you never step in the same river twice) began with the death of troubled young man, who happened to be a huge celebrity. Bret Fetzer found himself unexpectedly saddened by the death of River Phoenix; Fetzer had always liked Phoenix, but hadn’t realized the emotion and hope he’d projected onto the young actor. Looking for a way to examine the cultural impact of icons and celebrities, Fetzer turned to theater; looking for a larger frame for this exploration, he turned to 1993, the year Phoenix collapsed on a Los Angeles sidewalk and died of a drug overdose.
1993, it turns out, was a pretty busy year. While sifting through its cultural remnants a second theme began to emerge. One cannot examine celebrity without the media nor can one examine the media without noting their focus on sexual politics and their disparate portrayals of men and women. From the graphic Bobbitt headlines, to the music of P.J. Harvey and Billy Ray Cyrus, to the romanticism of Sleepless in Seattle; tensions, contradictions and double standards were in fine form in the early 90’s. While River Phoenix’s overdose only added to his mystery and sex appeal, Courtney Love’s struggles made her an object of ridicule; a drunken clown.
Once c.1993 was cast, the production began to take shape during development workshops in August. The 15 performers and nimble crew gathered to experiment and brainstorm, drawing on the research and initial ideas of the director as well as their own memories. (Not every member of the cast was old enough to have vivid recollections of the cultural climate of the 90s. In fact, not every member had been born by the show’s title year.)
The beauty of ensemble generated work lies in the contribution of each member to both the creation and execution of a project. This is also the challenge of ensemble generated work. c.1993 thrives from the strength of a collective consciousness working under a unifying vision. The result is a non-linear, highly musical performance piece; more theatrical essay than a well-made play.
History, even recent history, fascinates with its unique mixture of the alien and the familiar. We may have sleeker haircuts and wardrobes with considerably less flannel, but we still build cultural movements around new musicians. We still pin our hopes on Presidential candidates offering change, only to be disappointed. We continue to blur the lines, not only between sports and entertainment, but between entertainment and any situation, competition or career that will compel viewership. And we still get sucked in to the sexy, soulful drama of self-destructive young men, while shaking our heads and clicking our tongues at their female counterparts.
Among the fine ensemble, Phoenix and his My Own Private Idaho castmate, Keanu Reeves, are portrayed by actresses Danielle Daggerty and Emily Lockehart, respectively. Daggerty skillfully employs Phoenix’s mannerisms, like the constant brushing back of his hair and tendency to look away from his interviewer. The brash foil to Phoenix’s tender-hearted soul is none other than Courtney Love (the luminous Melinda Parks), who commands the stage in fierce red undies while powering through Hole’s “Violet.” Somehow Parks makes Love both vulnerable and tough, reclaiming a multidimensional woman from clownish caricature. Her performance alone is worth the price of admission.
About Bret Fetzer
Bret Fetzer is a playwright, director, and performer who’s been working in Seattle theater since 1987. His plays—which include Planet Janet, The Story of the Bull, Blind Spot (co-written with Juliet Waller Pruzan), and Clubfoot, or, Tales from the Back of an Ambulance (co-written with Stephen McCandless)—have been produced by theaters in Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, and other cities around the U.S. He was commissioned by Seattle Children’s Theatre to write a play for young audiences: Everyone Knows What a Dragon Looks Like. He has recently directed Hearts Are Monsters by Kelleen Conway Blanchard for Macha Monkey Productions and solo performances by Matt Smith and Stokley Towles, as well as all five episodes of Scot Augustson’s late night serial Penguins for Annex. His collections of original fairy tales, Petals & Thorns and Tooth & Tongue, are available through www.pistilbooks.com. He has been the artistic director of Annex Theatre, the theater editor of the Stranger, the building manager of Richard Hugo House, and a vacuum cleaner salesman. He was also a field agent for the Barbie Liberation Organization, who, in 1993, switched the voice boxes of Teen-Talk Barbies and talking GI Joes, resulting in toy soldiers who said “Let’s go shopping!” and sprightly blonde dolls who said “Dead men tell no tales.”
Riot Grrrl, Interviewer, ensemble
River Phoenix, ensemble
Bee Girl, Tom Hanks’ kid, Cadet, ensemble
Wrestler, Meg Ryan, ensemble
Gus Van Sant, ensemble
Bill Clinton, Wrestling Announcer, Cadet, ensemble
Keanu Reeves, Reporter sick of penises, ensemble
Wrestling Referee, Double Dare Host, Tom Hanks, ensemble
Courtney Love, Academic discussing Madonna, ensemble
Lorena Bobbitt, Oscars Host, ensemble
Kurt Cobain, ensemble
Whitney Houston, Wrestling Announcer, Shannon Faulkner, ensemble
John Bobbitt, ensemble
Martha Plimpton, Wrestler, Howard the teddy bear, ensemble
Her Mother Was Imagination is a bold new culture-bending play about a future ‘right-thinking’ America written by local playwright Elizabeth Heffron, directed by Ellie McKay. This edgy satire dares to envision a post-constitutional society who have embraced Glenn Beck as their leader and submit their lives to the will of the Elders yet find themselves confined to a massive sky-scraping tower, stratified by floor levels, living safely above a treacherous earth terrain below, where only the basest of creatures survive. This almost Orwellian life in the tower is both savage and decadent and at times an opulent spectacle in this fantastical new world order.
Featuring David Gassner, Sann Hall, Jesse Keeter, Conner Marx, Carrie McIntyre, Beth Peterson, Erin Pike, Peter Richards, Michael Stock and Sarah Warren.
Her Mother Was Imagination is the culmination of a generative multi-disciplinary arts project exploring our future as individuals and as a culture, created by Elizabeth Heffron, Ellie McKay, Max Reichlin and Daniel Worthington. This new play is entirely lit by human-charged batteries in effort to minimize its own environmental footprint as well as champion the practical applications of alternative renewable energy.
written & directed by Jim Bovino
Oct. 23 – Nov. 21, 2009 | Fri-Sat 8pm
The Believers is set in an unidentified city where life has become transformed into a series of fragmented and privatized events where the cameras are always rolling, the lights are always on, and the hero could be you.
The play examines the manufacturing of reality and questions the ability of individuals to distinguish between autonomous and enforced behavior and the possibility for original thought in a mediated world.
The play does not have a traditional plot or narrative, but is structured as a series of vignettes loosely connected by theme.
Sarah E Budge
Seattle Children’s Theatre, John Deshazo, Michael Hayes, Jillia Pessenda, Theatre Schmeater, Clint Fisher, Gala