"There will be strong-willed women, there will be clowns, there will be female drag, there will be sex, dancing, and torture," writes WET artistic director Samie Spring Detzer in a press release announcing the company's 13th season.
The "female drag" part (and maybe the clown part?) is an exciting-sounding collaboration between WET and Stranger Genius Award Winner Cherdonna. The drag queen who is not a drag queen will deconstruct A Doll's House, the classic well-made play written by tremendously bearded play factory Henrik Ibsen. Press materials say, "Cherdonna will celebrate, dissect, and illuminate this text through her own unique feminist lens," which I'm hoping involves 10-minute scenes of Cherdonna as Nora chewing out Torvald while power-eating macaroons.
Looking at this new list of plays, it appears as though WET will be "breaking" with tradition a little bit themselves this year. They're producing absolutely zero plays with hot cusses in the title, and also zero plays written by Yale graduate students. Two of the plays are written by women, one of them is deconstructed by a woman in drag as a woman, and all the scripts come from overseas. Reverse Brexit! Pattern facts! Anyway, here's the full season:
Revolt. She said. Revolt again.
September 23 - October 10, 2016
By Alice Birch
Directed by Bobbin Ramsey
Birch has been blowing up in London the last couple years, with plays at the National Theatre and shows produced by the Royal Shakespeare Company. This play, which debuted in the U.S. at Soho Rep, is a powerful, absurd-funny, polyvocal, multimedia-y, fiercely feminist call for revolt that draws its title from Julia Kristeva's book about revolt as a mode of being (hi grad school) and also highlights language's role in the perceptions and expectations of women. In the script, the front material that describes Birch's use of punctuation ends with the sentence: "Most importantly, this play should not be well behaved."
A reviewer who saw this play at the Latitude Festival in 2014 mentioned that it "tends to tackle sexism in isolation, rather than (you knew this was coming) intersectionally; there’s little probing of how gender interacts with class, or race, or sexuality and so on." It'll be interesting to see whether or not director Bobbin Ramsey agrees with this reviewer's assessment and plans to address it in some way. This production will be the west coast premier of the play.
Every Five Minutes
January 13 - 30, 2017
By Linda McLean
Directed by Ryan Purcell
This is the one about torture and trauma and family (and maybe dancing?). A guy named Mo has been wrongfully imprisoned for 17 years. Now he's out and trying to have dinner with his family. McLean's plays often break with traditional dramatic structures, and this one's no exception. Weird. Goofy. Unhinged. The mundane mixed with the extraordinary. Sort of WET's wheelhouse. This will mark the first time the play has been done in Seattle.
Cherdonna’s Doll’s House
April 28 - May 15, 2017
By Henrik Ibsen, adapted by Ali Mohamed el-Gasseir and Jody Kuehner
Directed by Ali Mohamed el-Gasseir
The press release says, "Cherdonna will Masterpiece Theatre the shit out of this classic play, which follows the story of Nora, a married woman and mother who struggles to discover her true self or lack thereof." That's all I need to hear.
WET says they'll continue to produce Six Pack Series, which is my favorite reading series / variety show in town. They'll also keep reSET going, the dance event where WET invites contemporary dancers / choreographers to perform new pieces using the set for whatever play the company happens to be producing at that time.
Season tix are $60. Single tix available in August.