What's in a Name?

From Joanna Horowitz, Communications Department

I meant to write this post on Tuesday, but this week has quickly slipped between my fingers as we amp up for opening night of Fire on the Mountain (in previews now, officially open on Wednesday). I finally took our lobby display for the show to print this afternoon, and now the office is quiet, the weekend's almost here. If someone could get me a pina colada, I'll be ready to blog. Ok, apparently our cabana boy has the day off, so it'll have to be a less tropical blog. Which is fine, considering I'm going to jump right into talking about My Name is Rachel Corrie.

We had the meet and greet for the show on Tuesday, and beforehand I got the amazing opportunity to sit in on the first read-through. If you haven't heard, Washington Ensemble Theatre superstar Marya Sea Kaminski will be playing Rachel. If her first reading was any indication, she is going to be fantastic. She seems really connected to the role and already is capturing the passionate spirit of Rachel. I actually cried at one point in the show. That’s impressive for me because I'm not a crier at all (unless it’s It’s a Wonderful Life, which gets me every time). I was just right there with Marya the whole time.

I felt the same way watching her perform in her one-woman show In DisDress Now: Redux, which I saw at W.E.T. last month. The whole time I felt like we were having an intimate conversation. Of course, this was kind of awkward when I thought I knew Marya and were best friends already and went to talk to her and realized, no, I’ve never actually met her. She's very gracious and funny, though, and I am really excited to report that she's going to be blogging right here about her experience rehearsing My Name is Rachel Corrie.

I know this is a controversial play, but seeing the read-through really affirmed to me that this is a story about someone just looking for a way to make a difference. Ultimately, and I know some people will disagree with me, the route she took to try to make that difference doesn’t matter. What matters is that she was passionate about art and about eliciting social change to lessen suffering. She was just about my age when she died in 2003, and though her words can sounds young and maybe a little idealistic, I find the piece inspiring simply because she wanted to make the world a better place--as corny as that sounds-- and tried to do it. I would like to think I haven't reached a place of cynicism or jadedness in my life and might still be able to make a difference too. I suppose that’s one of the reasons I work in theater.

To completely switch gears, we're hearing nothing but raves about Fire on the Mountain, and if you want to see it, you should get tickets now because it's going to be packed. I think the show is so appealing because it's really your most basic story of survival and hope against all odds. Plus with great music. And presumably a delicious specialty cocktail for you to enjoy in the lobby. But first I need to go dream one up. Stay tuned for something bourbon-y.

We Didn't Start the Fire (Actually We Did)

From Joanna Horowitz, Communications Department

If you were wondering why I haven't written in two weeks, it's not because I'm too busy at work or anything. I've just been at Disneyland. Sorry. But eventually everyone has to leave Space Mountain and a diet of beer and churros to return to the real world, and lucky for me, I returned just in time for the Fire on the Mountain meet and greet.

This morning the Seattle Rep company got together to listen to the cast of our upcoming bluegrass musical play and sing some snippets from the show. I was in heaven because I love bluegrass music and these performers are amazing. Dan Wheetman, who co-wrote the show (based on interviews with Appalachian coal miners), used to be John Denver's fiddle player. I couldn't help tapping my feet, and anyone who knows me will attest to the fact that I'm not really a toe-tapping kind of girl. The show goes into previews next Thursday, Feb. 22, and runs until March 24. Dan and his collaborator Randal Myler wrote Ain't Nothin' But the Blues, which they performed at the Rep in 2004. I didn't see it, but apparently both shows have the same sort of documentary feel to them, coupled with stellar music.

After the songs, we all gorged ourselves on a giant cake that was ordered to celebrate cast member Margaret Bowman's birthday/60th wedding anniversary/Valentine's Day. Margaret is a talented musician, of course, but I was most excited when I found out she played the costumer in Waiting for Guffman. Am I totally dorky?

Oh, and happy Valentine's Day. What a great day to go to the theater (hint, hint). Blue Door is still playing and the audiences are LOVING it. And by audiences, I mean my parents, who came this weekend while I was in L.A. and left me a note that said "We LOVED Blue Door! P.S. We left some chicken in the fridge." Ok, other people love it too, but when my parents like something I know most people will. They're smart, like to be entertained, and are suckers for anything that takes them on some sort of emotional journey. Since I've been out of town, I haven't seen Blue Door yet, but I'm going tomorrow and then I will be able to tell you in all honestly to see the show, assuming it's as awesome as everyone is saying.

Looking forward to the weekend

From Joanna Horowitz, Communications Department

It's 5:15 on a Friday afternoon and it would be a lie to say I'm not thinking about ducking out of here and running downstairs to have one of our new show-themed specialty cocktails. The one for Blue Door is The Insomniac: Coffee, Bailey's, Chambord, Kahlua and whipped cream. Like a raspberry mocha, but with the promise of intoxication. Anyway, I clearly have weekend on the brain.

But, before I go, I wanted to make sure you knew that tomorrow (Saturday, Feb. 3), the playwright of Blue Door Tanya Barfield will be at the Rep for a free talk. The event (part of our Stage Voices series) takes place 5:30-6:30 in our Rotunda lobby. Tanya will be interviewed by Amy Wheeler, executive director of Hedgebrook, a writers retreat for women. After they chat about Tanya's work, you'll be able to ask questions. Tanya is one of those on-the-brink-of-the-big-time (how's that for an adjective?) writers. This is your chance to have an intimate hour with her that you might never get again. You don't have to have tickets to Blue Door, you can just show up. Maybe have an Insomniac!

The Times ran a preview piece on Blue Door. You can read it here. It talks about the play (of course) and also Tanya's former job as a spelunker (!)

Next weekend is closing weekend of The Lady From Dubuque. The reviews have been mostly positive, but all sort of academic. If I hadn't seen the show and just read a review, I might think, "This could be boring." But as a 24-year-old with not the world's best attention span for highly heady works, I can say I was really engaged the whole time. Yeah, it's about death and denial and caustic friendships, but it's also really funny. Some people don't like that kind of theater. But personally, I like my theater experiences to leave me thinking, even if it means I have to forgo skipping out of the theater in an ebullient stupor.

And on that note, I will be skipping ebulliently toward the weekend.