New on Seattle stages: ‘Third,’ ‘Mom Baby God’
Coming to Seattle stages this week: “Third,” Wendy Wasserstein’s final play; “Mom Baby God,” about reproductive rights; and a reading of “Both Your Houses” by the Endangered Species Project.
Seattle Times theater critic
Coming up this week on local stages:
The late playwright Wendy Wasserstein had a close relationship with Seattle. After developing and holding workshop readings of some of her best-known scripts (“The Heidi Chronicles,” “The Sisters Rosenweig,” “An American Daughter”) at Seattle Repertory Theatre, the lifelong New Yorker once told me that just getting off a plane at Sea-Tac Airport put her in a playwriting frame of mind.
Wasserstein’s final work for the theater, “Third,” was developed in New York in 2005 at Lincoln Center Theatre. The author was ill with cancer at the time, and died just weeks after the play’s New York run ended.
Now Seattle will finally get a look at “Third,” which has had productions around the U.S. in recent years. It is being staged at ArtsWest by Peggy Gannon, a local actress increasingly known for her sharp directing skills.
“Third” revisits some earlier Wasserstein themes as it portrays a middle-aged, feminist academic (played at ArtsWest by Marty Mukhalian), who is challenged in her political and cultural assumptions after accusing one of her students, Woodson Bull III (nicknamed “Third,” and enacted here by Mark Tyler Miller) of plagiarizing material in his paper on “King Lear.”
Writing about the Los Angeles debut of “Third” in 2007, Orange County Register theater critic Paul Hodgkins observed that the script contains “much of what made Wasserstein’s work so enjoyable: articulate characters, many of them female, discussing issues of the utmost importance, but in the context of believable and engrossing domestic drama leavened by comedy at just the right moments.”
(Wednesday, March 5-Saturday, March 22, ArtsWest, 4711 California Ave. S.W., Seattle; $15-$45, 206-938-0963 or www.artswest.org).
“Mom Baby God”
The Solo Performance Festival at Theatre Off Jackson continues, with a title that caught our attention.
Boston-based actor and playwright Madeleine Burrows spent more than a year researching her original docudrama solo piece about a young woman caught up in the anti-abortion movement, which she is performing around the country.
The play is, Burrows states up front, a work that champions reproductive-rights activism. She researched it by going “undercover” to participate in anti-abortion meetings, rallies and sexual-abstinence workshops, and she portrays numerous characters in a piece that follows “a rising teenage anti-abortion activist as she navigates the political terrain at the fictionalized Students for Life of America Conference.”
(7 p.m. Friday-Saturday, Feb. 28-March 1, TOJ, 409 Seventh Ave. S., Seattle; $15 206-340-1049 or theatreoffjackson.org).
Note: Another performance of the work is 8 p.m. Saturday, March 8, at Annex Theatre, 1100 Pike St., Seattle; $15 (206-728-0933 or annextheatre.org).
“Both Your Houses”
What’s old can be made new again, or so believe the members of the Endangered Species Project, a confederation of professional Seattle theater artists committed to dusting off and revisiting plays of merit that may be gathering dust on the library back shelves.
Many worthy scripts befit that category, including “Both Your Houses,” a 1933 Pulitzer Prize winner by Maxwell Anderson that’s obscure today, but sounds all too timely. It depicts the partisan horse-trading and other shenanigans among U.S. legislators as they ladle pork onto a congressional bill calling for the construction of a Nevada dam project.
Is politics as usual 80 years ago that much different from the sausage-making of politics today?
The 7 p.m. Monday, March 3, presentation of “Both Your Houses” marks the 36th staged reading in the Endangered Species series, and it is a revival of the group’s very first offering from February of 2011. Directed by Leslie Law and Kathryn Van Meter, it takes place at the Bullitt Cabaret space at ACT Theatre, the company’s new home after a long residency at North Seattle Community College. Coming up next, on April 7, is the Pierre Beaumarchais farce, “The Barber of Seville.”
(700 Union St., Seattle; $10-$15, 206-292-7676 or endangeredspeciesproject.org).
Information in this article, originally published Feb. 28, 2014, was corrected Feb. 28, 2014. A previous version of this story stated the wrong showtime for “Both Your Houses.”