Meet and greet at Foster

Met the full group at the Foster School of Business who will be working with BAT. Nice group of people.

There were a dozen folks in suits and me. While I believe this will be a very good experience, I can see there will be a little culture clash.

Young business students faced with the madness that is theater. We can put a show on for what they spend on coffee in a month. We are going the have a “site visit” soon. I can hardly wait to see they go through BAT’s office, a corner of the costume room.

I have already got to try to explain the business model of a nonprofit theater to people who are used to seeing the corpora ladder as a playground. The future leaders of corporate America looked puzzled by the idea that BAT’s shows do not cover our expenses and it is only because the kindness of people like you making a DONATION that BAT stays alive.

While this project is about BAT’s economic impact on Burien, I can see all of us will be learning something. (I am already learning the economic jargon. Let’s talk deliverables.)

At our next meeting, we’ll have more time to get to know each other. I am looking forward to this journey, and I already like the students that BAT will be working with.

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Guest review of weeks one and two of the playwrights festival

Review by Clair Enlow

Better together

Two women, a goddess and a mortal one, try to get it right in marital dramas
At Burien Actors Theatre

In two plays at Burien Actors Theatre, Hera and Carol are being themselves, trying to make things better in that most ubiquitous and freighted of human relationships, marriage.

They Walk Among Us, by Kirsten McCory, is a half-hour one-act. The main course is a full-length play, Escorting Tom, by Duane Kelly. They are presented as a double header, running through April 23, at Burien Actors Theatre (BAT), 14501 4th Ave SW, Burien, as part of BAT’s 2017 Playwrights Festival. A different pairing of shows, Winter People and The Law of the Sea, will run from April 28-May 7 in the Festival.

Two couples are muddling through to an unknown end, mixing the storied and eternal with the brutally and hilariously real. It’s a rich evening of laughs and moving moments, mixing the timeless with the heartbreakingly temporal, ancient with modern.

They Walk Among Us brings us Zeus and Hera (yep, none other than the couple at the top of the ancient Greek pantheon) living in an American suburb and dealing with—what else—their marital issues. Only she’s doing all the emotional heavy lifting (sound familiar?) and he is the issue: a compulsive womanizer who is simply being himself. She struggles to improve him or adapt to him, with the help of her therapist. But in the beginning, as in the end, she is herself, too—an unchanging and unchanged being.

After an intermission comes the main course, Escorting Tom, about a modern couple facing the final segment of life, with no certainty. Tom and Carol are stuck somewhere between life and death, love and loss, one life and the next. Clueless and knowing, respectively, they try to negotiate with fate and win, and Carol enlists the help of a professional. Escorting Tom is a comic setup that the Burien group exploits to the brim, with tragic undertones and ribald moments (condoms from Costco?).

Both plays have just three characters: a couple with a woman as protagonist, in control of herself and trying to steer the marital ship, with a loose cannon of a husband on deck. Hera and Carol each make projects of their men and their respective relationships. The third role in both plays happens to be a female foil, brought into the story because her counterpart within the couple is just trying to get expert help. Goddess Hera’s all-too-human goals are utterly futile. As the erstwhile protagonist in , Carol’s lawyerly strategies are applied with very mixed results, but with life-affirming effects in the end. It makes us glad we are living in the modern world, after all.

-Clair Enlow

Disclosure: Clair Enlow is Duane Kelly’s life partner

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First look back

As BAT’s 2016-17 season draws to a close with the Playwrights Festival, opening April 14 – GET YOUR TICKETS HERE – BAT took a little time to look back during tech rehearsals,

This season has been fun and successful. BAT’s bank account is lower than it should be, but there is still time to fix that. DONATE HERE and don’t forget to give to BAT at GiveBig on May 10. BAT has lined up matching grants for GiveBig that total $5,250, but to get that money you have to give. Some of the grants are in the form of double matches and some are single matches, but BAT needs your help to “earn” the matching grants.

The thing that caused me to pause during tech, is just how many people and how much stuff it takes to do theater. First the stuff. Because the Festival consists of four shows, two shows per performance for two weeks then two different shows for two more weeks, it is stuff times four. Looking around the theater tonight, there is stuff everywhere.

The props and set pieces to produce four shows are spilling out of the theater and out of the office. Still, because BAT has gathered stuff over the last 37 years, BAT can do four shows at once without breaking the bank. Stretching the bank, yes. Breaking it, no.

2016-17 was a year with lots of great donations. New sofas in the hallway and much needed stylish chairs. (If you are downsizing, let BAT know.) Now where to store all these great new things?

This Summer, BAT hopes to clear out some of the stuff we do not use from storage to make room for the new stuff. It’s tough. What do you keep? What goes away?

When it comes to people, BAT has the best creative team. But one thing I have noticed, we start the season with lots of volunteers. Then all season long the number of volunteers goes down. This season, by the time we reached the Festival, BAT was dangerously low on volunteers. We had just enough people to make the festival work, but there was no room for anyone to miss a day. I like it better when BAT has plenty of help.

With all of the extra work that goes into producing four shows at once, there is a very good reason why BAT only produces the Festival on odd numbered years.

I am sure BAT will look back again, once the Festival is over. For now, we’ll look forward to seeing at the shows! TICKETS

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A bit of bacon

Theater requires a great number of skills. It is always grand when you find someone

Top side of the bacon

who has the unique skill set you are looking for. Cyndi is one of those people. Cyndi is creating props for the Playwrights Festival – get your TICKETS HERE. She has help BAT many times before.

Here is a bit of her magic. Bacon! Yes, she created bacon out of felt and a Sharpe. Pictured are both sides, so you can see it is not real bacon.

Why create bacon? In this case, it will be on stage for three full weeks, and real bacon . . . well . . . not so nice after sitting out for

Back side of the bacon

two weeks of performances plus tech week.

While BAT cannot say this bacon tastes good, it sure looks great!

Come see the Bill & Peggy Hunt Playwrights Festival DETAILS HERE and catch a glimpse of Cyndi’s bacon.

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$100 a year

It is headed into donor season. BAT has a nice matching grant for the upcoming GiveBig (May 10, early giving begins April 27), and BAT will be asking for donations during the Bill & Peggy Hunt Playwrights Festival. BAT needs these donations to make it through the Summer, so BAT is still around for its 38th season. You can make your donation HERE.

A kind donor wanted to make a reoccurring donation to BAT. These are great. They help balance out the ups and downs that make up the income stream for BAT. (You can give weekly, monthly, quarterly, annually.)

Once the donation was made, BAT got notice of a donation for $100 a year now through 2029. BAT took that as quite as a vote of confidence! The donor was so sure BAT would still be producing better live theater in 12 years that he made a donation every year through 2029. This was unique. So, I gave the donor a call.

I told the donor that BAT loved the vote of confidence. He seemed confused. After a bit, it became clear that he intended a donation every month for a year, not once a year for a dozen years. We both had a good laugh.

After a few clicks on my part, things were fixed, and now BAT gets $100 every month for a year. Big BAT smile.

BAT is getting ready for Summer when we pay rent, insurance, update the theater, and pre-pay royalties for the upcoming season. All of that takes money. You make all of that possible. DONATE HERE.

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Bill & Peggy Hunt Playwrights Festival – 2017

It’s back! The Bill & Peggy Hunt Playwrights Festival! Four award-winning new works over four weekend. The best of new works, all for you. You’re on the cutting edge of new live theater.

April 14 through May 7, 2017. All tickets are just $10 every performance. GET YOUR TICKETS HERE. Friday and Saturday shows start at 7:30 pm. Sundays at 2 pm.

 April 14-April 23

THEY WALK AMONG US ” written by Kirsten McCory

One-act comedy in which the Greek gods Zeus and Hera move to the modern-day suburbs, and go into couples counseling.

AND

ESCORTING TOM” written by Duane Kelly

Carol will be leaving her social inept and isolated husband, but her project to improve the life he will live in her absence goes off the rails in this full-length comedy-drama.

April 28-May 7

WINTER PEOPLE” written by Devin Rodger

One-act drama in which two recovering addicts try to find and understand who they were–and the truth might just heal them.

AND

THE LAW OF THE SEA” written by D. Richard Tucker

A young widow in 1855 seeks answers to her husband’s death in a shipwreck in this full-length drama.

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Now the truth may be told

Around most every BAT production someone contacts BAT to discuss an issue they have about the production. I would not say that BAT gets very many comments, but there is almost always one or two for every production.

BAT loves it when our patrons and the community talk to BAT. But as one of BAT’s trustees put it, “If you don’t occasionally get a complaint or two, you are not really creating art.”

Some comments are enlightening. For example, one show BAT set in 2002, and an actor was using a Motorola Razor (a flip phone). One observant patron pointed out that the Razor did not come out until 2004, two years after the date the show was set. BAT now collects unused cell phones, so BAT always has the right year of phone in stock. (You can send your old phone to BAT!)

Sex with Strangers was a little different. BAT did not receive any complaints about the show. In fact, all of BAT’s feedback was nothing but positive. Those who came to the show loved it. Those who stayed away, because of the title, missed the chance to see the best live theater this Winter.

Two people did send comments to BAT before the show opened. The complaints were two-fold. First, A person did not think BAT should advertise the name of the play because it has the word “sex” in it. And Sex with Strangers, well. . . . . It was pointed out to BAT that what two people do in private should never be mentioned in public.

BAT explained that it was very hard to get people to come to see a show if you do not mention the name of the show. The person was unimpressed. Simply put, the word “sex” should never be used in public. BAT asked if she complained about the title of the show Sex in the City. BAT never heard back, except for a one-word comment, “Shame.”

The second comment was that BAT’s poster was pornographic. What do you think?

It appears the four legs in the poster caused the person’s sixth-grader to tell his mother that there were people having sex under the table, and she did not want to talk to her “innocent” child about sex for a few more years. BAT tried to gently point out that if looking at those legs caused her child to think people were having sex, the time to talk to the child about sex had long past.

This is the first time anyone has complained about BAT’s posters. The funny thing is that BAT’s poster for Sex with Strangers was the least sexual of all the options BAT looked at. As one of BAT’s trustees put it, “If you don’t occasionally get a complaint or two, you are not really creating art.”

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Auditions, Auditions! Men this time.

BAT is looking for five male actors. Four for The Law of  the Sea, and one male actor for Winter People.

BAT is seeking male actors age 24-50s for the award-winning drama The Law of the Sea, written by D. Richard Tucker, to be performed from April 28 through May 7, 2017. Actors of all races and ethnicities sought for the roles.

Fergus Hays is age 32, and has to cope with surviving a shipwreck when his good friend Andrew did not.

Bertram Latimer is age 30, a shipmate of Fergus and Andrew, and also survived the shipwreck.

Darby Kilpatrick is age 24, a shipmate of Fergus and Andrew, and also survived the shipwreck.

George Jenkins is age 40s to 50s, a barkeeper. Also plays Reverend Cole, who is age 40s to 50s.

Actors do not have to be the ages indicated, but must be able to convincingly portray them.

SYNOPSIS: Fergus is back home in New York in 1855 after surviving a shipwreck that took the life of his good friend Andrew. Now Andrew’s wife has arrived, seeking the truth about her husband’s death, but Fergus is reluctant to share the facts. She learns about the informal law in which if a group of seamen are stranded together, an option for survival inconceivable in the “civilized” world may be considered. Continue reading

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Four new works / Four auditions!!!

Four great shows! Thirteen amazing roles! Twenty minutes from downtown Seattle with free onsite parking!

(1)   Auditions for comedy-drama “Escorting Tom”

Burien Actors Theatre announces auditions for the comedy-drama Escorting Tom, written by Duane Kelly, to be performed from April 14 through April 23, 2017.

Escorting Tom is one of the award-winning plays in the 2017 Bill & Peggy Hunt Playwrights Festival at Burien Actors Theatre. The festival features four brand-new plays by Washington State playwrights.

This three-character play calls for one female character age 35, another female character age 48 and a male character age 46. Actors do not have to be the ages indicated, but must be able to convincingly portray them.

SYNOPSIS: Carol will be leaving her socially inept and isolated husband, Tom, but before she goes she wants to improve the life he will live in her absence. She secretly hires an escort, who poses as a businesswoman, to pick up Tom, have sex with him and build up his confidence. Carol’s project goes off the rails.

Escorting Tom will have six performances in a double bill from April 14 through April 23 in a double bill with They Walk Among Us.

Performances are at Burien Actors Theatre in Burien on Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. Rehearsals begin in March in Burien.

Free on-site parking for rehearsals and performances.

The stage director is Marc “Mok” Moser and assistant director is Calen Winn.
$100 stipend provided.

Auditions are Wednesday, March 1 from 7 to 10 p.m. and Thursday, March 2 from 7 to 10 p.m. Callbacks will be Saturday, March 4 from noon to 4 p.m.

Please prepare two contrasting contemporary monologues (serious/comedic) totaling no more than 3 minutes. Please also bring resume and headshot. Callbacks will consist of cold readings from the script.

Please make audition appointment: audition@burienactorstheatre.org, 206-242-5180.

Auditions will be held at Burien Actors Theatre, 14501 Fourth Ave S.W., Burien. For directions, go to www.burienactorstheatre.org.

Character Descriptions/Requirements Continue reading

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Thank you 4Culture

BAT is pleased to announce that 4Culture awarded BAT a two year sustaining grant. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

4Culture is the arts and culture granting arm of King County. They have been long time supporters of BAT.

A sustaining grant is a little different than other 4Culture grants in that it is not tied to a certain purchase. For example, an equipment grant may only be used to buy the equipment asked for in the grant. None of the funds may go to pay the rent or for other needed equipment. However, within limits, a sustaining grant can be used where BAT needs it the most.

4Culture has awarded BAT a sustaining grant in the past. However, this one is a little larger than the last one. BAT hopes that means it is meeting the goals of 4Culture by presenting better live theater.

You can help BAT too. Become a producing partner with BAT, make a donation today! Ticket prices typically only provide 40 percent of a theater’s budget. The rest comes from people, like you, who want to make a difference, who want to become part of the show! DONATE HERE.

During Sex with Strangers (get your tickets HERE) BAT is seeking 50 by 5, that is, BAT is seeking $50 from you by March 5th. Donate your $50 HERE. As BAT plans its 2017-18 season, we look to you. With your support, BAT can select wonderful shows that you will love. Without your support, the cost of the production becomes the elephant in the room and costs play too much of a role in selecting the season. (BAT is always financially responsible and always considers the cost of production, but with your help, that consideration moves from the main concern to a more reasonable concern.)

Thank you 4Culture, and thank you for your donation!

See you at the show!

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