Music Performing Arts

This Week in Performance: March 20, 2014

Image from Anna Conner +CO's production of LUNA at Velocity Dance Center. Image by April Stasso Photography.
Image from Anna Conner +CO’s production of LUNA at Velocity Dance Center. Image by April Stasso Photography.

DANCE

We’re not that familiar with Anna Conner + CO, who have a new production, LUNA, that opens at the Velocity Dance Studio this weekend, but everything we’ve run into about it has us increasingly intrigued: thematically complex, immersive, exquisitely designed and featuring “a nest-like installation, all kinds of hanging lights, video projections, and of course, those flower-covered head pieces from The Bridge Project [pictured above],” according to the Seattle Dances blog. Yeah, we’re intrigued.

Also of great interest, 12 Minutes Max, On the Boards’ regularly scheduled sampler of local experiments and new works, returns to the company’s old home: the Central District’s Washington Hall. This month’s entry includes a couple of 12MM debuts, Christine LongĂ© fresh off her stint in Annex’s Story and Song, and the latest installments in the works of Devin McDermott and Nikki Visel.

COMEDY

And so Pocket Theater‘s adventures in Ballard continue, with showings of Mythfest, Being Humans, Drop the Root Beer and Run. New to the roster of recurring shows this weekend are Jason and Spike in Your Living Room (Friday, late night), in which a pair of sketch comedy stalwarts (Spike Friedman and Jason Miller) ply their craft with nothing at their disposal save an empty space and some lights; and Laugh Out Logic (Saturday, late night), a variety show where the cast is primarily made up of Seattle’s comedy talent.

Then next Wednesday, Seattle’s Interrobang?! takes the stage with an improv experiment, “_________.” As the wordless title implies, the troupe goes on without any suggestions from the audience, taking their cues from whatever impulse arrives. This could be a death warrant in lesser hands; Interrobang?!’s are not lesser hands.

MUSIC

Crystal Beth and the Boom Boom Band’s monthly residence at the Royal Room continues this Monday, when the band celebrates its one-year birthday with a live recording of this particular showing inside the Rainier Valley club. With the talents of Tristan Gianola, Adam Kozie and Michael Owcharuk on the keyboard.

Alternately, you could take in the uncharacteristically low-key offerings at the Black Lodge next Wednesday. On the bill are The Apostrophes which sounds like a marriage between Built To Spill (fitting, as members of that band are in this one) and the Breeders; Disco Doom, which is more in the post-punk vein, musically speaking; and Screens begins the night with their dance-punk, organ-heavy sound.

THEATER

Big huge week in this quadrant; there’s a lot to be excited about, including the new production of Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya that the Akropolis Performance Lab is putting up in Beacon Hill. Among the exciting details of this production is a brand new adaptation, translated by the team from the original Russian, a live band performing music created specifically for this production, and the acting talents from one of Seattle’s quieter organizations. There will be limited seating at this venue (one of the Hill’s nicer estates-turned-businesses), and only two weeks in which to catch it all.

The Seattle Shakespeare Company is producing the work from another 19th Century Playwright, although one from England, with the opening of Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest at the Center Theater inside the Seattle Center Armory. For the uninitiated, the plot is as follows: Two young stylish gentlemen of means develop really serious crushes on a couple of women of equal stature. The women both want to have relationships with men named Ernest, so both men proceed to pretend to be named thus. That this move is both ironic and oxymoronic is but one of the many clever language-based bon mots to be found in the story — which, in the right hands, makes it perfect fuel for a company seeking to do more than create another period costume piece.

Little Shop of Horrors is now up and running at ACT, in this year’s iteration of their annual co-production with the team from the 5th Avenue Theater. If you’re not familiar with the musical based on a Roger Corman b-movie from the 60s about a carnivorous plant and its caretaker, do yourself the favor. It’s got great tunes, a likable protagonist, and an ending too dark for Hollywood.

Meanwhile, one of the world’s unquestioned theatrical masters returns to Seattle. Peter Brook, whose 2001 Hamlet is still talked about by those who saw it, brings The Suit to the Seattle Rep’s Bagley Wright Theater. Set in South Africa during the apartheid era, The Suit serves as an allegory of those inhumanities and how important/difficult it is to forgive in the desire to move forward.

Over in Fremont, the folks at West of Lenin are responsible for the world premiere production of Sonya Schneider’s Royal Blood, in which a family that takes a little too much pride over some murky royal lineage claims, are forced to keep those airs alive in the wake of a tragedy. The production features the acting talents of Gregory winner Todd Jefferson Moore, Amy Love and David Hsieh.

Finally, the folks from the Seattle Musical Theater company are debuting their production of Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein, the original production of which premiered at the Paramount in 2007. That production was a hi-tech marvel, which resulted in its being more than a little enervating — the wizardry, glitz and impossible polish greatly distracted from the comedic energy created by that enthusiastic ensemble. It was a show that could have used some down-to-earth energy, which might be possible now that the property is entering the locally-produced realm; the musical could have a second life as the nation’s comedic/harmonic hams take a crack at the material.

OTHER

We finish the week with the mother of all Other entries: it’s time for the annual Moisture Festival to take over Seattle! We can’t begin to describe what this festival is about without incurring the word “Vaudeville” — the fest celebrates the sort of attention grabbing feats of physical and verbal dexterity that were popular in that bygone era. Running the gamut from tumbling, juggling, aerial derring-do, clowning, puppeteering, burlesque, and everything in between, the Moisture Festival’s four weeks of performance constitutes one of Seattle’s surest bets.

NEXT WEEK

If all of this wasn’t enough for you, next week we’ve got Zoe|Juniper at On the Boards, Mark Siano, Opal Peachey and ACT’s Central Heating Lab musically reenact the Frank Colacurcio saga and that’s just where things begin…