Blog Seattle Repertory Theatre
Archive for April, 2012
Join us for Speak Up! Community discussions that give you the chance to speak your mind.
Seattle Rep invites audiences to participate in lively post-play discussions with civic leaders, local academics, and community residents, as part of the new Speak Up! series. The conversation will begin after each Saturday matinee of Clybourne Park: April 28, May 5, and May 12 at 2:00 p.m.
Why are we holding Speak Up!?
Key themes of gentrification and race relations in Bruce Norris’ Pulitzer Prize-winning Clybourne Park, currently running at Seattle Rep, resonate with Seattle’s history. While the play itself my be a satirical spin-off of Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun that takes a jab at race and real estate in a fictional Chicago neighborhood, the story relates to a wider audience.
As playwright Bruce Norris explains, “This story is not necessarily an American story; it’s actually a story about cities. It is a story that we associate with the 1950s and today—the story of gentrification. It’s a universal story that isn’t about American black/white history. It’s about territory, and disputes over territory because of ethnicity or differences.”
To whet your appetite, we asked a few of our panelists to weigh in on Speak Up! and why our community should talk about race and gentrification issues we’re witnessing on a local and/or national scale.
The Panelists Say….
“I agreed to participate in Speak Up! because I want to communicate effectively for Belltown as a community/neighborhood. Also because living in Belltown informs a deep understanding of the unintended consequences of “gentrification”/urban residential development: by encouraging public engagement, I hope to gently promote the concept of intentional community.”
-Elizabeth Campbell, Belltown Community Council
“Community is not only where we live and work but who we are and where we belong. Community is about the relationships we develop and sustain with each other and how we treat each other.”
-Mike Chin, Seattle Office for Civil Rights
“Conversations about race are ubiquitous in American society. Even when we’re not talking about race we’re talking about it. Talking about race can be easy or difficult dependent on the context. The two biggest impediments to having meaningful conversations about race are fear and ignorance. White Americans have been trained not to discuss race, because to discuss race is to be racist. As a result, negative emotional experiences emerge when engaging in this conversation. Ignorance comes into play when we think all conversations about race are equal. Talking about race is like talking about sex. You can have discussions in bars, locker rooms, a doctor’s office or a classroom. However, each conversation is different based on knowledge and expertise. Our egalitarian approach to these discussions often leads to frustration and conversation. We have to teach our children to talk about race.”
-Dr. Max Hunter, John Perkins Center for Reconciliation, Leadership Training and Community Development
Don’t miss out on the conversation!
We are excited to announce our participation in GiveBIG on Wednesday, May 2, 2012!
The Seattle Foundation will be hosting GiveBIG: a one-day, online charitable giving event for nonprofit organizations throughout the city. This is a wonderful opportunity to make the most out of your donation! All donations made by credit card through The Seattle Foundation’s website all day on May 2 will be stretched further thanks to GiveBIG sponsors, who will match a share of every contribution from a $500,000 stretch pool.
Last year, GiveBIG raised $4.1 million for more than 900 organizations! Please help spread the word!!
Ever heard of Aphra Behn—the first professional female playwright who was also a spy? She’s the protagonist of our current production of Liz Duffy Adams’ Or, which has it’s final performance this Sunday afternoon.
As Adams explains it, Aphra Behn came from a modest background, but formed bonds with the aristocratic family for which her mother served as a wet nurse. Behn educated herself by using their extensive library and later developed connections that would land her a job spying for the English crown in the 1660s. Her life, by modern day standards, was certainly unique. She was widowed in 1667, ended up in debtor’s prison during her espionage career, and wrote over a dozen successful plays, as well as verse and fiction.
But Aphra Behn is not the only female spy who’s made her mark on history. Here’s a brief list of these notable women, including a link to find out more about their stories:
Belle Boyd helped spy for the Confederacy during the American Civil War. While living in Martinsburg, Virginia, Belle mingled with the Union officers who were occupying the city and relayed the information she learned to the Confederates. She is best known for warning Confederate General Stonewall Jackson about the Union’s intention to blow up all of Martinsburg’s bridges, which allowed Jackson and his troops to drive out the Union soldiers before they could carry out their plan.
Born in the Netherlands, Mata Hari posed as an Indian exotic dancer during World War I. While well-known during her time, doubt has been cast on the extent of her espionage career. Statements supposedly made by Mata Hari herself insinuate that she agreed to serve as a French spy in German-occupied Belgium, but didn’t mention her conflict of interest to the French government (a.k.a She was already spying for Germany). The French suspected her double-dealing and arrested Hari in February of 1917 and convicted her of espionage; she was executed shortly thereafter. Later in 1930, the German government publicly exonerated Mata Hari and French documents revealed that she was probably innocent.
Considered an Allied heroine of World War II, Noor Inayat Khan worked in England’s Women’s Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF) and became a spy for Britain’s Special Operations unit based out of Paris, France. She was eventually arrested and interrogated by the Gestapo who sent her to a German prison and later to to the Dachau concentration camp when she refused to speak. She was executed by the Nazi SS in 1944. She was awarded the George Cross medal posthumously in 1949.
Bet you weren’t expecting to see this name on the list! But Ms. Child, best known as the chef, author, and TV personality who introduced French cooking to the American populace, was also a top secret researcher for the Office of Strategic Services (the forerunner of the CIA). One effort of her research involved helping reduce the threat of Nazi Germany’s deadly submarines, the U-Boats.
Want to know about more female spies throughout history? Other notables to check out are Elizabeth Van Lew and Sarah Emma Edmonds (a.k.a. Frank Thompson).
And while you’re at it, come see Or, for an inventive and delightful spin on Aphra Behn’s life. Only four performances left! Friday, 4/20 @ 7:30 p.m., Saturday, 4/21 @ 2 p.m. & 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, 4/22 @ 2 p.m. Click here to buy tickets.
Whether we like it or not, change happens. Clybourne Park (which runs Apr. 20-May 13) is a play that tackles that very concept. The play begins in 1959 as a black family moves into a white enclave. Act Two takes us back to the same house in 2009 as gentrification sets in and the roles are reversed. Quite a big transition for that neighborhood, indeed.
But we’re interested in looking at our own front yard. What changes do you think have greatly impacted our Seattle community over the past 50 years? And how do you feel about it?
Maybe you have a strong opinion about Southlake Union’s transformation from “single-story storefronts and cheap apartments to a vertical urban village of cubicle farms and lofty condos.” Or maybe you want to talk about the impact of the Space Needle, undoubtedly the international icon of Seattle. What do you think our iconic image would have been without it? You could even get creative and highlight an example of our unwillingness to allow change (remember Edith Macefield?)
Whatever story inspires you, tell us about it. You could write us a comment, post a picture, link to an article, make a video, etc. Show us through your eyes how you see Seattle evolving around you and tell us what you think about it.
Entries can be posted on our blog, Facebook, or Twitter. The best entry will be selected on April 24th and the winner will receive 4 tickets to see Clybourne Park and a drink on us. So put on your thinking cap and tell us about Seattle and its ch-ch-changes.
Our final show of the season, Bruce Norris’ Pulitzer Prize-winning Clybourne Park, begins next week with preview performances starting April 20 and opening night on April 25. We’d like to give you a place to share your thoughts about the show.
So what’d you think of this razor-sharp new satire? Did you resonate with some of the viewpoints expressed in the play about issues of racism, real estate, gentrification, and being (or not being) politically correct? Leave a comment on this post and let us know how you feel.
The time has finally arrived…
Ten finalists compete in a public competition for the chance to win cash prizes and a trip to New York City to participate in the National Finals on Broadway at the August Wilson Theatre in May 2012. This is the second year this competition has been offered in Seattle, the place where August Wilson called home and did much of the writing for his famed 10-play Century Cycle.
So basically what we’re saying is…if you had plans already tonight, cancel them! And then come on down to Seattle Rep to watch some of the finest young talent perform the words of one of America’s greatest playwrights. (And it’s free!).
Tonight’s contestants represent various Seattle area high schools. Here’s a list of the competitors, what high schools they represent, their year, and the August Wilson play and character they’ve chosen for their monologue:
- Ani, South Kitsap High School, senior, Fences, Rose
- Zachery, South Kitsap High School, senior, King Hedley II, King Hedley II
- Anika, The Northwest School, sophomore, King Hedley II, Tonya
- Drew, South Kitsap High School, senior, Two Trains Running, Wolf
- Stacey, Timberline High School, junior, Gem of the Ocean, Black Mary
- Ben, Roosevelt High School, senior, Radio Golf, Sterling Johnson
- Melissa, Garfield High School, junior, Fences, Rose
- Xavier, Timberline High School, senior, Fences, Troy
- Ashley, South Kitsap High School, junior, King Hedley II, Tonya
- Dylan, Tacoma School of the Arts, junior, Seven Guitars, Floyd
Please join us in cheering them on!
Tonight’s panel of judges includes cast members of Seattle Rep’s upcoming production of Clybourne Park: Suzanne Bouchard, Teagle F. Bougere, Peter Crook, Marya Sea Kaminski, and Kim Staunton.
Tickets are free and required for admission. For ticket reservations, call the Seattle Repertory Theatre Box Office at 206-443-2222 or toll-free at 877-900-9285. Tickets are not available online.