It’s my third season as Artistic Director at ACT Theatre and I am more than thrilled to announce our next season. I always feel like putting a season together for ACT is like putting together a great conversation. What is the contemporary issue around us? How are the great artists responding to these issues? We look for artists that bring to us diverse voices because there is nothing like a great adventure where we get to learn and walk a mile in someone else’s shoes. I also listen to our audience members, subscribers, and theatergoers on what kinds of show that they like to see. All of these factors go into our season selection.
Here is what we have for our next season…
Our first show, Ride the Cyclone, will be our co-production with The 5th Ave Theatre. First off, it’s a really powerful musical wrapped in wildly creative constructing identity. The difference between who people assume we are and what we are in the inside is the key point. The play introduces us to a group of individuals and creates high stakes of contest that make them show their inner truth. I feel like the writing team of this piece has created a kind of revoluntionary form of wacky that is the vehicle for this exciting exploration.
The Wolves: I’ve never seen a writer get out of the gate as quickly as Sarah DeLappe. Her writing has a short footedness that speaks about an intimidating group of young women in America and everything that happens to them (puberty, relationships, the age between child and adult). I am so excited to see the light come up on this play. We get to see a team of inside soccer players become female warriors competing, not only with other teams for their league’s championship, but also with each other and themselves. We found out that director Sheila Daniels, aside from being one of the respected directors in Seattle for ensemble work, was also a competitive soccer player. It will be exciting to see the Allen Theatre transform into an inside soccer field in Spring 2018!
Until the Flood: Dale Orlandersmith is powerful! She had the courage to walk into Ferguson, Missouri and interview hundreds of members of the affected community after the killing of Michael Brown by a police officer. This piece was so inspiring to me that we felt like we absolutely had to make space for it for the 2018 season. Theatre is a political act when one living breathing human being speaks truth of their point of view. There’s an immediate charge and a challenge to hear that truth. Orlandersmith has taken on the topic of race in several of her plays and she has an evenhanded way of bringing the audience to the conversation. In Until the Flood, she has instilled the interviews during her time in Ferguson into nine different characters right in front of you onstage. She plays the young and old, the black and the white, allowing the feelings of the ideologies/equal voice to spring into an inspiring evening of theatre.
Lauren Weedman Doesn’t Live Here Anymore: Lauren Weedman began her career locally, graduating from the University of Washington and working with theatre groups like Annex Theatre before her star began to rise. Most recently, she was seen in Looking (HBO). Her roots in theatre and playmaking run deep and she has performed all over the country. She brings a wildly irreverent spirit and daring to the stage. She’s the kind of artist that has you exploding with laughter in one minute and she can just as quickly take the wind out of the sails into the next. Bringing her band to perform a kind of acrobatic act into shifting identity, she plays both herself Lauren Weedman, the actress in midlife crisis and her alter-ego, Tammy Lisa, who is a variety country singer. It’s a dizzying, Freudian, music-filled romp that will definitely be fun for our summer spot.
Skylight: This has been on my list of favorite plays since it was produced in 1995. It’s an exquisitely, intimate rendering of the attempt to reunite a troubling relationship between two people who have loved each other deeply. David Hare – who is a remarkable, political playwright – is at his best here. I think it’s because he focused so much on the relationship and chemistry. This play is one of the most sensual that I have ever seen on stage. I would recommend audiences to have a bite to eat before they attend. There’s at one point that the two of them create a meal, and the scent of all that’s good. This is a show that requires two actors at the top of their game and I can’t wait to announce who will be in it.
Oslo: We are so fortunate to have booked the rights to this beautiful Tony Award™ winning play. Oslo takes a complex and massive history and pulls it like a tight rope, creating a nail biting, high-octane historical drama like no other. What excites me the most about Oslo is the fact that it is a true story – and it changed the course of history for Palestine & Israel through the Oslo Accord.
This year, we hope you join us as an ACT subscriber, and become part of the conversation surrounding these five incredible shows. As audience members, you get to watch each piece come to life through our theatre. Every piece brings something new, and something familiar, to all of us.
I hope to see you all at ACT this season!
– John Langs, Artistic Director