Tag Archives: Theater

Four on a Theme: Theatre

 For many people, one of the great things about middle school (if you’re lucky to have a school that supports this) or high school is the theatre. Not just going to shows and seeing school productions, but being a part of the production, whether you’re taking drama class or just working after school to paint a set or design a costume. Here are four great books about teens and the theatre.
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Theater Review: Ballard High's "Is He Dead?"

In mid-October, I saw the play Is He Dead? with a couple of my friends, and it was probably one of the best plays I have seen. This community play was probably as good as something you would see on Broadway, right in your very own neighborhood. Is He Dead? is a comedy by Mark Twain, and this production was directed by Shawn M. Riley. It’s quite a popular play but was very well done by the people who worked very hard on it.

The play is about Jean Francois Millet, a painter with debts to pay a greedy banker.  It is set in the 1800s. Millet was never a popular painter but when he must pay his debt soon, his friends help him and think of a plan so they “kill” him. That’s the thing with painters at that time. They are only recognized after death. Although Millet isn’t really dead, just pretending, he must hide himself from the public by dressing himself as his “sister”. Now that Millet is “dead,” he becomes very famous. Hundreds of rich people come into his shop offering large amounts of money for his paintings. But there is one problem. Actually, a couple. First, Millet is not very good at disguising his voice and keeping all his lies together. And there’s also the fact that now that Millet (disguised as his sister) is rich, the greedy banker wants to marry him, AND also Millet’s girlfiend’s friend is suspicious about “Millet’s sister.”

There’s really not much I can say. The costumes were great, the acting was great, everything was great.

 Is He Dead? ever comes to your neighborhood, don’t wait.  In the meantime, you can check out the library’s copy of the play itself or a graphic novel based on the play.

–Navya , 14, Teen Center Advisor

Theater Review: Nathan Hale's "You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown"

Nathan Hale High School recently performed their fall musical “You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown.” It was a great family show with several strong actors. The theme was about Charlie Brown struggling to fit into his small town and then eventually getting comfortable with who he really is.

I loved how the actors got me caught up in the play and made me feel like singing and dancing with them. The props were amazing and colorful, which made me wonder if high schoolers actually made them because they looked so professional. The songs were catchy and the singing made me jump. Since Charlie Brown and his friends are supposed to be little kids, the actors made their voices high pitched. This challenged their singing, but they did a good job. Sadly I went to Nathan Hale’s final performance of “You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown” this fall, but if you’d like the hear the music from the Broadway cast, you can find it at the library.

Stay tuned for Nathan Hale’s spring musical, “Hair Spray”! 

 

–Taylor, Teen Center Advisor, 14

 

Theatre Review: An Ideal Husband

Ah, Victorian London—a world of lavish parties, opulent homes, and beautiful people. Taproot Theatre’s production of Oscar Wilde’s An Ideal Husband is set in the midst of this era of perfection, when everyone and everything is expected to be without fault. Continue reading

Summer Fun: Theatre

Outdoor theatre is the perfect summer entertainment; imagine sitting in the sun, having a picnic with family or friends, watching a play on the lawn just a few feet away—and it didn’t cost you a dime! What could be better?
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Theatre Review: The Merry Wives of Windsor

When two high-class English wives are left alone together, how much mischief can they manage to get themselves into? Mistress Ford and Mistress Page discover several sources of entertainment in the Seattle Shakespeare Company’s production of The Merry Wives of Windsor. Filled with light-hearted trickery, clever acting, and stunning visual effects, this theater production embodies the true spirit of a Shakespearean comedy.

While William Shakespeare is most widely recognized for his tragedies such as Romeo and Juliet and Hamlet, his comedies are equally memorable and entertaining. The recurring character of Sir John Falstaff, a plump old knight determined to acquire money, has earned the title of the most beloved Shakespearean character in terms of comedic value. Falstaff once again becomes the object of hilarity in The Merry Wives of Windsor when he decides to simultaneously woo both Mistress Page and Mistress Ford, two wealthy, married women that supposedly take charge of their husbands’ finances. Confident in his charm, wit, and good looks, Falstaff attempts to lure the two away from their husbands in order to gain money. However, he is unaware that the women know of his plot and have plans of their own involving revenge and humiliation.

Several harmless pranks are carried out at Falstaff’s expense involving a laundry basket and a rather large dress. As the two women entertain themselves, they must dodge several obstacles such as the suspicion of Falstaff and the unnecessary jealousy of their husbands. Mistress Ford’s husband fears for the future of his marriage so much that he visits Falstaff in disguise and hears of the entire plan. Unfortunately, Master Ford only motivates Falstaff to pursue Mistress Ford further, creating new complications for the wives.

As all characters struggle to arrive at a happy ending, their unique personality traits and accents come through, captured marvelously by the actors. The costumes and props perfectly fit the time period, and enhance every scene. Class distinctions become obvious through clothing, especially when the voluminous gowns of the wives are placed side by side with Falstaff’s worn shirt, vest, and boots. The settings also undergo a dramatic shifts between each scene, for a series of backgrounds rotate into place, easily changing from the countryside near a large estate to the inside of the Garter Inn, a pub inhabited by peasants.

Similar to Shakespeare’s other works, many subplots which revolve around the central theme appear as the story develops. From the beginning, Mistress Page struggles to find a suitable candidate for her daughter, Anne, to wed. As multiple men present themselves, each is more peculiar than the last. The true value of this subplot is the manner in which each suitor embraces his role and gives it a unique personality. One man, a French doctor who is ironically prone to injury, divides his time between pursuing Anne and honing his nonexistent sword fighting skills for revenge on a man who tricked him.

The combination of entertaining pranks, abundant secrecy, and seamless choreography results in a stunning production of a Shakespearean comedy. Small touches of modern humor throughout the play are integrated into the script by the Seattle Shakespeare Company so as to enhance the original work. Falstaff’s misfortune becomes a benefit for everyone as the noble wives of Windsor plot to remain merry.

Review by Emma, teen blogger

Billy Elliot Comes to Town

The Seattle Paramount is hosting the new Broadway hit, Billy Elliot, coming March 22. Billy Elliot tells the story of an 8-year-old boy (consequently named Billy Elliot) living in a small English mining town during the Miner’s Strike in the mid 1980s. Billy suffers from the loss of his mother and takes boxing lessons to please his father, though he cannot stand fighting.  Eventually, he meets the ballet teacher (whose classes are right after boxing) and gets sucked into dance. Billy is a natural, though his family would never approve of his new passion. The musical follows Billy as he follows his dreams.

I was fortunate enough to have seen this in New York on Broadway during midwinter break and I can tell you that this heartwarming story is extremely touching and the youth actors are incredible. For what the production lacks in vocals (hey, no 12 year old is Idina Menzel) it completely makes up in dance. The story has its witty moments, as well as its sad ones and overall makes for a musical you will not regret seeing. There is a lot of history to this musical, as well as strong language — the website says that the production is suitable for 8 years and up and though I love the musical dearly I must disagree. This is not one to bring a younger sibling to, inspiring as it is.

The musical was based off of the movie, Billy Elliot. The score was written by Elton John and I will warn you now that the musical is VERY Elton John, so don’t be caught surprised by boys wearing dresses and singing about being yourself. It’s the best part of the whole musical.

Again, I highly recommend seeing it. Clips from the show are on the website and there are still tickets available!!! Hope to see you there (I am definitely going again).

– Maddie, 14

Teen Center Advisor

p.s. Do you know why so many world premieres and new shows come to Seattle? It’s because we’re such an awesome audience and are a good gauge for how the rest of the world will react. 🙂