SOMETIMES, the theater we think is "good" is not what stays in our minds over time. Why do we remember one thing over another? Sometimes it's a personal connection to the performers or the subject matter, but sometimes it's because--even if we didn't recognize this at the time--the things we remember made us look at theater in a new way. Instead of compiling a "best of" list, I asked The Stranger's reviewers to write down the things--productions, performances, designs, interactions in the lobby--that have stayed with them over the course of the year 2000. --Bret Fetzer


1. John Duykers, the amazing tenor, singing, squealing, and ripping his, my partner's, and my hearts and brains out in On the Boards' curious chamber opera Kali. Then John Duykers again almost saving the day, as much as it could be saved, as the Visitor in the otherwise bizarrely wrong and utterly disappointing Philip Glass wreck of Kafka's In the Penal Colony at ACT. John Duykers is a genius.

2. Walking into the John Jesurun set of New City Theater's beautiful, brainy Snow. That place was like another world, either in your head or in a TV's head or some dream you wish you'd had.

3. Laurel Ann White as the ailing, out-of-her-head mother in Northwest Actors Studio's production of Last Lists of My Mad Mother. And how my friend was sobbing, weeping, lost by the end of the show. I wish more theater was this purely emotionally affecting.

Something I wish I could forget about this theater season: Philip Glass does Kafka, Philip Glass does ACT, Philip Glass does Seattle, Philip Philip Philip Glass Glass Glass.


1. John Procaccino in Wallace Shawn's The Fever at ACT was riveting. The timing of the production was fantastic and its themes very pronounced because the U.S. and Seattle were still in the full flush of the now-fading economic/software boom, and The Fever addresses the moral problems of haves vs. have-nots quite directly. Procaccino molded his clueless, very American character quite beautifully and three-dimensionally, and the guy's mental collapse was perversely satisfying.

2. New City's production of King Lear was slightly over a year ago, but this stellar theater-lobby experience must be told. During the performance, I sat in an aisle seat and quietly followed the play from a small paperback book as the actors performed. After the show, I was standing in the hallway like a reasonable Joe when the woman who'd played Gloucester accosted me furiously. She said I had completely distracted the actors by reading from a book, and that they all had messed up their entrances because of me, and that they were all talking about me back in the green room. Confused, I started to apologize, but when the crazed actress kept hammering me with insults, I finally yelled back, "I oughta smack you!" then departed the theater immediately with my friends, who laughed for 20 minutes straight.


1. Imogen Love and Burton Curtis skewering Steve Wells at the Ides of March cabaret with a line familiar to anyone who's ever performed at Re-bar: "But you have to do the show I put your name on the poster!"

2. Derek Horton's clever stunt (in the unfairly maligned Lear) of mounting a bed vertically on a wall, then suspending three girls from the ceiling so it appeared that they were lying entwined upon it, became stunning when Jamie McMurry fearlessly lowered himself sideways from the rafters and seemed to walk slowly along the wall like a fly. The entire audience had the dizzying sensation that it was turned literally upside down and was now floating above the stage looking down.

3. Playwright and exotic dancer Wesley Middleton's inane peep-show melodrama, EasyBake, was sadly inedible. But everything about the show's look--from the candy-coated press kits and arresting poster to Josh Evans and Dana Perrault's lurid set--was downright delicious.

4. Everything in 14/48 at Consolidated Works (including my plays!), but especially Dawson Nichol's short play about a war photographer admitting to himself and to his publisher that he can no longer bear mute witness to suffering. Brought to life by Stephen Hando, Jim Gall, and Jón Milazzo, these 10 minutes left me longing for more!

5. Anybody at the performance art festival Full Nelson who witnessed Irish artist Andre Stitt destroy an entire wall with his bare hands and set it aflame, to the horrifying accompaniment of singing puppets, will never recover.

6. And lastly, Ricky Rebel, a stunted G. G. Allin acolyte who screeched, "Fuck John Travolta! I want to move to Hollywood and burn down his house!" while smashing eggs on his forehead. Postmodern parody or pathetic display? Either way, it left a mustard-colored indelible stain on my memory.


At the top of my list is the show I didn't review, but loved above all others. And like all the things I truly love, it came at the feet of someone else's misfortune: the Kevin Kent and Mik Kuhlman "WHOOPS! My House Burned Down" benefit at Re-bar. Everyone who is anyone good in Seattle theater turned out to do his or her fabulous thing for the burned-out performers. Most treasured moments: David Schmader's critical analysis of humor, featuring subtext of the dialogue of The Family Circus cartoons, and Dina Martina's astounding rendition of "The Devil Went Down to Georgia."

Then there was the surreal moment from Podunk Productions' The Show in which the cutest boy I've ever seen (forgot his name though--short auburn hair, wearing a wife-beater) STOPPED his performance dead center and STARTED OVER from the beginning because he didn't feel he had reached his emotional peak. And it was remarkably better the second time around.

Finally there was Re-bar's Hedwig and the Angry Inch, with Nick Garrison as Hedwig in a gargantuan, crimped Taylor Dayne wig and ratty fake fur hawking and spitting a great big loogie on a petrified woman in the front row. That is a memory I will cherish forever.



1. Macaulay Culkin, Theater Widow--Macaulay was in town to support then-wife (they recently separated) Rachel Miner when she was in a play at ACT. He stood around by himself looking glum while his wife worked.

2. The audience at ACT's God of Vengeance giving a standing ovation to Donald Margulies in recognition of his Pulitzer win for Dinner with Friends.

3. The amazingly enthusiastic, long lines of young people patiently waiting for late-night improv comedy at Pike Place Market.

4. The way Kristen Kosmas utilized the odd performance space at First Christian Church.

5. Comedians in the back part of the room savaging their own during the Three Dollar Bill standup night.


1. More people of color in the seven-person cast of Measure for Measure than in the packed Friday night audience.

2. The continuing infatuation with Bill Irwin/David Shiner/Blue Man Group-style performance pieces of movement and music at the expense of more traditional, staged works.