Written by Alexander Harris
Directed by Jaime Roberts
Thu-Sat at 8 pm, April 20-May 19 (Thu PWYC)
$15 general / $10 TPS, senior, military / $5 student
PWYC Industry Night: Monday, May 14
Contains strong language.
The gleaming teeth and bulging muscles of America’s preeminent superheroes hide a dirty past and a fractured present.
HOW DID MADAME MAYHEM AND THE CAP’N GET THEIR POWERS?
IS MISS DIXIE AS SWEET AS SHE SEEMS?
WILL SHOCKWAVE’S MOVIE CAREER TAKE OFF?
AND HOW DO GORILLAS FIT INTO ALL THIS?
The same creative team that brought you Annex Theatre’s surprise hit Alecto: Issue #1, returns with another spandex-clad tale of media manipulation and super-heroics.
NEW PLOTS! NEW VILLAINS! NEW HEROES!
“Big, stupid fun done smartly and with tremendous intimacy… Anyone who loves theatre should see this show. Anyone who makes theatre should go learn something from it.” –The Sunbreak
“Cheeky and dark…delightfully self-conscious comedy.” –Seattle Times
“It’s definitely a night to enjoy, and you can puzzle out the deeper meanings later.” –Seattle Gay News
“The real treat of the evening was the main villain, ‘Chaos Theory’, superbly played with great comic timing by Rachel Jackson who also…enacts Chaos Theory’s Scottish Puppet Henchman/Lover ‘Randy’. Ms Jackson’s love scene between her own felt covered hand, and herself, was pretty damn brilliant.” –Seattle Gay Scene
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.
“When I Come To My Senses, I’m Alive!” is a near-future sci-fi story about a technological provocateur who invents a method for capturing emotions as digital information, as part of a project to “chart the emotional genome.” She develops a cult following of fans who download her very addictive “emoticlips” – each delivered with cryptic, poetic file names like “the surprise of an unfamiliar memory” – and play them back in hobby-built receiver helmets. The experience is not full blown virtual reality; instead, emotional responses & sensations are triggered, and each fan experiences something unique. A seedy television executive tries to coopt her technology to syndicate the emotions of TV stars, hiring an elite P.I. to figure out what her weaknesses are when she refuses to sell out… but in the meantime, publishing digital versions of her emotions to the internet has unexpected consequences amongst the botnets of the world.
Scotto Moore‘s new play, “When I Come to My Senses, I’m Alive!” is the best kind of science fiction, the kind where speculation about the future feels like something you could wake up to tomorrow morning. In this World Premiere production, director Kristina Sutherland has kept the ideas fresh and intriguing and the performances finely finished and compelling. The acting is brisk and, at least for the enthusiastic opening night audience, it’s premise and articulation is easily embraced by a generation for whom the globalization of information, media and personal experience meld into our shared online identities…. [The play] is a lot of fun, at least in part because it is so confident and thoroughly considered in its ideas and equally finished in its theatrical savvy for putting them on stage.
It’s not hard to be captivated by Moore’s provocative premise about a leap in information technology that makes human emotions a downloadable, vicarious experience. The story’s late turn toward suspense — with the spectral rise of freethinking, artificial intelligence on the Internet — certainly ups the ante in unexpected, spooky ways…. Director Kristina Sutherland keeps the action brisk and crisp, and knows how to nudge the audience’s imagination.
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