After three years as the Seattle Rep's associate artistic director, Marya Sea Kaminski is leaving her post for a job as artistic director of Pittsburgh Public Theater.
In 2001 Kaminski moved to Seattle to pursue an MFA in Drama at the University of Washington. Shortly thereafter she co-founded Washington Ensemble Theatre, which operated out of the old Little Theater on 19th—the one with an onstage toilet concealed only by a thin curtain. Since then she's slowly but steadily acted and directed her way up a ladder she built herself.
The Stranger Genius Award winner recently spearheaded the Rep's massive Public Works Seattle project, which culminated in a production of Todd Almond's the Odyssey. According to the Seattle Rep, the show drew thousands of first-time visitors to the theater. But that's only the latest item on her long list of accomplishments. I'm not sure I saw a single thing she ever did, but former Stranger theater critic Brendan Kiley and current arts editor Christopher Frizzelle sure did. Here's a short list of some of their favorite Kaminski moments:
• Kaminski's direction of WET's second show, Finer Nobel Gasses, drew praise from Kiley:
The play is a hodgepodge of gallows humor and druggy madness, featuring a busted television and a lengthy onstage piss (more on that later). It's also a West Coast premiere and a great improvement on their first show," he wrote in a 2004 review.
• Her 2007 one-woman show, In DisDress, moved Stranger Frizzelle enough to write a few kind words:
It was a funny, gutsy stabbing-in-the-dark at quandaries that had defeated other theater artists and now had come around to her. It was meta without much pretension. It was full of ideas. Kaminski is that rare, dangerous bird: a gifted actor who can really write.
She cried and she wailed (she had to), but she carried a ballast of honest quietude that gave all the external emotion a transfixing steadiness. The audience didn't recoil from the spectacle of pain, as any normal person would. They leaned toward it, drank it in.
• That time she played Angel in Intiman's production of Angels In America:
You can read this piece in the Post-Gazette for more on Kaminski's Pittsburg plans.