This Week In Theater: Another Year’s Work Begins

Raw poster image for Balagan Theater's Spring Awakening. Image by Nik Perleros; courtesy of Balagan Theater

It seems like an eternity since we last spoke, even though it’s only been two weeks. A mere fortnight. Lots has happened in those fourteen days; some year end lists were released, some awards were given out (with others still to come); a nice way to take a breather after the end of a busy year — your correspondent’s ruminations on that year will be coming soon. The time for rest is over; time to see if we can improve upon last year’s achievements (and may all of our theater artists take up this challenge for themselves).

Our list begins this week with the kind of audience participation that one signs up for; yoga enthusiasts of all skill levels looking to experience a rare school of yoga combined with live musical accompaniment are encouraged to attend the Pali Chant Suite: For Strings and Thai Yoga at the West of Lenin in Fremont. In essence, a one-hour session in Rusri Daton, a form of Yoga originally practiced only by Thai monks, the audience will be led by two experienced yogis through a series of self-healing positions. The music has been specifically crafted to enhance the spiritual elements of the production — come prepared with your own mat and water. Yet another way in which WoL’s founder, AJ Epstein, seeks to change the way we think about theater.

Thursday through Saturday, at 10:00a.m. and 6:00p.m.; Sunday at 10:00a.m. and 2:00p.m. // West of Lenin, 203 North 36th Street // $30

The British Panto is a long-standing theatrical tradition that appeals to the British love of wordplay and irreverence combined. If done correctly, a given production will embrace the thought that “the lower the comedy, the better;” audiences are encouraged to groan at ludicrous innuendo, boo the bad guy and simply have fun with the cross-dressing, outrageous costumes, and the not-so-gentle tweaking of a familiar story. The Fremont Players have been performing a yearly panto for seemingly forever, regularly performing to sold-out audiences at Hale’s Palladium on Leary Way for the last handful of holiday seasons. This year, they are presenting Peter Pan, leaving one to wonder exactly what they’ll do to the material and still leave it safe enough to get past kids’ imagination while tickling those of their parents.

Saturdays at 4:00p.m. and 7:30p.m., Sundays at 1:00p.m. and 4:00p.m.; through January 15 // Hale’s Palladium, 4301 Leary Way NW // $6 – $12

Though there was a bit of a kerfuffle when Seattle Central Community College announced that they decided to let Balagan Theater, a burgeoning Fringe theater company that had been forced to operate as without a home for over a year, take over venue management duties of its Erickson Theater in Capitol Hill, the company has yet to take advantage of its newer and larger performance space. Their production of the recent Tony-winning musical, Spring Awakening, serves as both a coming out party for their new space and a re-statement of purpose for what their company can achieve. Directed by Eric Ankrim, with Musical Direction by Kim Dare, the same team that brought Balagan’s first production of Doctor Horrible’s Sing-a-long Blog to life in 2010, musicals are one of the things the young company tends to do well.

Thursday through Sunday at 8:00p.m., Saturdays at 11:00p.m.; from January 6 through January 15 // Erickson Theater, 1524 Harvard Avenue // $20 – $29

Shakespeare’s Coriolanus, which begins its Seattle Shakes production this coming Friday, presents the tale of a gloried-in-battle soldier and the increasing sense of alienation he experiences when he abandons the battlefield and immerses himself into the politics of the Roman Senate; seemingly involved in every aspect of his political career is his domineering mother. This production holds some interest, as it is a play one doesn’t often see and it features Seattle Shakes’ often reliable ensemble, which is enough to set aside any reservations one can associate with the playwright.

Thursday through Saturday at 7:30p.m., Saturday and Sunday at 2:00p.m.; January 6 through January 29 // Seattle Center House Theater, 305 Harrison Street // $15 – $38

Capping off this week’s worth of activity is the return of Seattle’s semiannual theatrical celebration of the experimental spirit, 14/48: The World’s Quickest Theater Festival. Taking place at ACT’s Falls Theater, as has been customary for the past few years, this first weekend’s collection of artists shows the fest’s propensity to gather a bevy of Seattle talent, young and old, those new to the experience and seasoned vets, and making sure that it all stays fresh and fun for artists and audiences alike is the pressure-cooker situation these 30-some odd people voluntarily signed up for: The creation of 14 new ten-minute-plays within 48 hours. If you have yet to witness this willful tempting of the Fates in person, you shouldn’t wait too long. This is the only time you’ll see these specific artists collaborating; next weekend brings a whole new batch of people to the table.

Friday and Saturday at 8:00p.m. and 10:30p.m. // ACT’s Falls Theater, 700 Union Street // $20 ($25 at the door)

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