Year end. Can it be?
Looking back a year, BAT reaches back to In the Next Room, or the vibrator play. (Yes, the second part is intentionally lower case.) This was a step for BAT.
The play was suggested by a patron. After reading it, BAT knew it had to produce the show. The title, however, was problematic. One patron went so far as to refuse to see anything BAT did that season because BAT “would do that show!” I had the opportunity to ask if she had see the play somewhere, or read the script, if she knew it was a Pulitzer Prize runner up, or that it was nominated and won Tony Awards. She did not know any of that, but it didn’t matter. That play, which she had not seen or read, was not fit for the stage. So, began 2016.
In the Next Room, or the vibrator play received rave reviews, and although the attendance was lower than BAT had hoped, those who saw the show loved it. In fact, BAT is still being told how great the show was.
Most telling to BAT was the amount of donations BAT received during the run of the show. The donations during In the Next Room, or the vibrator play were at the highest level BAT had ever received during the run of any production. Many times over the second highest level of donations. BAT received more donations during In the Next Room, or the vibrator play than during the season opening gala party! To a theater, donations of this size talk.
The show itself was amazing. Check out the set and the costumes PHOTOS HERE. BAT does not do many period pieces because they are very expensive, but the creative team out did themselves. (You can still see Cyndi’s full scale model of the Chattanooga Vibrator in concessions.) BAT did stretch the boundaries a little, but the directors, Maggie and Rochelle, had such a wonderful touch, BAT did not receive a single complaint about any of the more provocative things in the play. Amazing. (Keep in mind that during The Addams Family, the musical, BAT received a complaint from a patron because she thought she could see up the skirt of one of actors as the actor climbed up onto the table. (The actor had on dance pants under her skirt.))
So, unequivocally, In the Next Room, or the vibrator play was an amazing success.
Then on to The Letters. This was dark psychological thriller set in Soviet Russia at the dawn of the Great Purge, also called the Great Terror. (It was one the best scripts I read during 2015, the year BAT set the 2016-17 season.) The script is in manuscript and has not been published yet. The playwright and I still exchange emails and I have read a number of his other scripts. One is being considered for 2017-18, if BAT cannot get the rights to a few other plays.
The Letters had two amazing actors in a very small space, playing cat and mouse, for their lives. PHOTOS HERE. You’ll remember BAT skewed the seating to add to the air of discomfort.
Once again rave reviews, and the show did very well in that time slot. It is sometimes hard to get people into to see theater in the spring. Another success.
Summer this year was busy. Between Turbo Turkey and Seattle Playwrights Studio’s Showcase, BAT produced eight shows in two months. With BAT’s current resources, we are not doing that again. It all but killed us, and we are still catching up.
In the Fall it was onto The Toxic Avenger. PHOTOS HERE. A great play, and with a timely environmental message hidden away in all of the fun to boot. This was the first time BAT hired a mask maker. Scott’s job on the Toxie mask, together with the work of the rest of the creative team made the set and costumes work ever so well.
The actors were amazing the show was not to be missed. Another success!
Onto the Holidays and the end of the year. I read a lot of scripts to help bring you a season you’ll enjoy. I have read countless bad Holiday scripts. Many I cannot even bring myself to finish, and I can finish almost any script. For some reason writing for the Holidays is very hard.
BAT likes to do a slightly irreverent look at the Holidays. Nothing too sappy here. And BAT likes to laugh during the Holidays. These two things narrow the possible number of scripts much more than you would think.
The 2016 Holiday show was a gem. The Ultimate Christmas Show (abridged) was a hoot. Three actors, who on their own can amaze, joined together and were more than the sum of their undisputed skills. Moc was able to direct these three and kept the wheels from falling off, but added more smiles and laughs than people should be allowed to partake in during any two hour period. Funny, funny, funny. Check out the PHOTOS HERE.
Patrons left with the Happy Merry Christmakwanukkahanzukkah song in their heads. Another smash hit.
I wish I could tell you BAT is resting up, but scripts for the Bill and Peggy Hunt Playwrights Festival are being read and scored for a January announcement of the winners. BAT has launched a Restaurant Directory listing every restaurant in Burien, so you can decide where to eat and drink before and after the show. (This was over a year in the making.) And rehearsals get fully underway for Sex with Strangers during the first week of January.
Sex with Strangers’ opening night is February 10, 2017. This is a thinking person’s comedy about the clash between pre and post digital age. The title may be provocative but it is one the best scripts BAT will produce this season. You can get YOUR TICKETS HERE.
As is often the case, BAT has a copy of the script for Sex with Strangers in BALL (Burien Actors Lending Library). Feel free to read the script before you see the play!
In many ways, BAT is happy to have 2016 coming to a close. But, as has been the case for the last 36 years at BAT, the best better live theater is yet to come!
Happy New year to all.