Tag Archives: theatre

Cut the Lights: Compromise and Artistic Vision in Theatre

Cut-the-Lights-CoverTitle: Cut the Lights

Author: Karen Krossing

Gut Reaction: An enjoyable and relatable book, but lacks depth.

You must read this book because… This novel explores the art of theatre through the lens of aspiring director Briar as she set out to produce her very first play, Wish Upon a Star at her performing arts high school. Along the way she must manage an unruly cast, a lethargic stage manager, and hostility from a fellow director, as she quickly discovers that the reality of her production may be very different from her original vision of the “perfect” play.

Cut the Lights is a novel heavily geared to the teenage demographic, even more so than your typical Young Adult book. The characters, setting, and primary conflict are all designed to revolve around one’s life in high school. The novel itself is written in realistic fiction format and as such intends to make the issues it addresses as relatable to the reader as possible. In that aspect the novel is quite successful as the author depicts believable characters facing problems and exhibiting emotions that appear genuine, thus allowing for greater empathy with the protagonist. The beginning of each chapter reads like a play and even includes a series of stage directions. These quirks along with the general humor scattered throughout the novel both add to its appeal.
The glaring issue with the novel lies in its attempt to cover too many issues. The novel is only a short 129 pages, yet introduces topics ranging from difficulty in compromising one’s own ideas to suicide. This causes the novel to seem overly simplistic and superficial. The author brings so much subjects into her novel, yet fails to sufficiently develop and maintain them throughout the novel. A secondary problem stemmed from the sections in the book where the author seems to have fallen into using clichés. The overarching story arc that Krossing utilizes in which protagonist receives challenging task, protagonist endeavors to succeed in their task, everything falls apart and it seems the situation is hopeless, but then the protagonist miraculously succeeding and pulls everything together, is in my opinion, a bit trite and made the ending all too predictable.

Despite its shortcomings, I did find Cut the Lights to be an interesting read. I recommend the novel to anyone looking for a light and quick read, though as I mentioned previously the book is clearly written with teenagers in mind.

Read this if you like…

–Ziqi, Greenwood, Teen Blogger


Teen Theatre Review: The Great Society

GreatSocietyheader_GSThe Great Society, by Robert Schenkkan

Playing at the Seattle Repertory Theater until Jan. 4, 2015.

Lyndon B. Johnson was and is a controversial president in American history. He tried valiantly to advance civil rights for all and to make opportunities available for everyone regardless of race, creed, or class; but on the other hand, he also was mired in the quagmire known as the Vietnam War, and eventually his policies at home fell apart. This play, The Great Society, tells the story of Johnson’s presidency from his re-election in 1964 to his downfall and the inauguration of Richard Nixon in 1969.

Continue reading

A Translated Midsummer Night’s Dream

Midsummer 1Editor’s Note: Camilla, a 19-year-old intern at 826 Seattle, has selected some excellent work that 826 students are producing this summer to share with us on Push To Talk. This is the second installment in that series.  

Camilla’s Note: Shakespeare can be really inaccessible to younger students, especially when it’s taught rigidly. This hilarious modern language “translation” of a scene from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which was performed alongside the original text, demonstrates an astute understanding of the material as well as a great deal of creative gusto.

A Translated Midsummer Night’s Dream

By Hailey (Greg), Claire (Bottom), Elsa (Titania), Yubi (Peaseblossom), and Meri (Walle)

 The translation begins on line 940 in act 3, scene 1

(Here’s the original for comparison).


BOTTOM: I see what’s going on! They’re trying to make me as foolish as them. To scare me if they could. No matter what they do, I will not move from this place. I will walk and sing to show them I’m not afraid. [Sings “Pop Goes the Weasel” but with “Donkey” instead]

TITANIA: What dude wakes me from my wonderful bed?

BOTTOM: [Sings “The Alphabet Song”]

TITANIA: I beg you, peaceful dude, keep on singing! I’m totally digging your high-pitched screeching and my eyes love you; you look very dude-like. You are such a beautiful dude, you make me shout out loud I LOVE YOU!

BOTTOM: Oh, my gosh, you actually like me? Truth, reason, and love never hang out so I guess it makes sense that you love me.

TITANIA: Your dudeness balances with your smartness.Midsummer 2

BOTTOM: That’s not true. But if I’m smart enough to find my way out of this jungle, then I’m smart enough to fall in love with you! Let’s see if I can get out of here…

TITANIA: Don’t go! Dude, stay here, you’re going to enjoy it here ’cause I’m here—duh! You don’t wanna miss this. Also if you leave you might die, and I love you. So the point is, stay. Dude, I got fairies; dude, I got jewels from underground; and dude you can EVEN sleep on flowers while the fairies sing to you! I’ll take away your human self and you will be a forever living, floaty fairy dude. Peaseblossom! Walle! Greg! Get over here!



GREG: And I…need to take a shower.

ALL: What are we gonna do?!

TITANIA: Be kind and nice to this dude. Jump in his path and boogie before his eyes. Feed him chips and fries. Say hey to this dude!



GREG: Hey. I’m Greg.

TITANIA: Come lead him to my basement and make him feel more dudely and good-looking. And tell him to shut up; I want him quiet. Continue reading

SEE ME, SEYMOUR: Little Shop of Horrors Takes Seattle

There’s a spaceship in the rafters.

At least, it looks like one. It’s white and ovate with jagged, tooth-like pieces of metal, conspicuously dangling among the stage lights overhead. I spent fifteen minutes wondering how an alien encounter could possibly fit into my painstaking research on the musical, the entire half paragraph of a Wikipedia synopsis that I skimmed beforehand. Then the house lights went dark, the twisted, purple wall onstage split wide open and a soulful trio of Skid Row Supremes (Nicole Rashida Prothro, Alexandria Henderson, Naomi Morgan) launched into the opening number. From that point forward, I couldn’t peel my eyes away from the stage.

Turns out it isn’t a spaceship at all. It’s an enormous dental appliance that descends from the ceiling as an evil dentist, Orin Scrivello D.D.S. (David Anthony Lewis), slowly rises out from beneath the eerily animate stage floor to an erupting cloud of backlit fog and dramatic keyboard.

If this does not compel you to buy your tickets to the ACT and 5th Avenue’s Little Shop of Horrors immediately, allow me to rephrase.

This show is awesome.  It might just be the best musical theater I have ever seen. Continue reading

Teen Review: Photograph 51 (Play)

photograph_51I recently dragged myself to see the play Photograph 51, at the Seattle Repertoire Theatre. I can’t say I was too excited to see it but I went anyway, knowing I would receive extra credit in my biology class for it.

First off, I’m not really into science.  And that’s what this play was about; the discovery of the DNA’s double helix in the mid 1950s.
Upon arriving, I was pleasantly surprised at how small and comfortable the venue was. The theatre feels personal and spacious, while giving the audience an intimate view. The stage, also, was a pleasant surprise, as it was not set up like traditional theaters. Backstage areas were partially visible, and the props were simple but effective.
I have to say, the play opened my eyes to how interesting the world of science is. It told the true story of British scientist Rosalind Franklin, and her discovery of the double helix structure of DNA.  The credit for this discovery, however, went to rivals James Watson and Francis Crick.  The plot was filled with romance, discovery, and deception – who would have thought that science could be all of those things?!
Unfortunately, the play is no longer showing.  However, I highly recommend it to anyone, especially those who think they don’t like science.  You just might be surprised.
Natalie, Northeast Teen Adviser

Teen Review: Good People (Play)

Good PeopleI recently attended the play Good People at the Seattle Repertory Theatre. The play is set in present day South Boston, also known as “Southie”.  It was written by David Lindsay-Abaire and this production was directed by David Saint. The story focuses on Margie, a middle aged single mom of her disabled daughter Joyce. After Margie loses her job, she reaches a dead end and needs to make ends meet. One of her friends recommends that she reach out to a former flame from her childhood for help. She takes the advice, and the story unfolds from there.
This play deals with economic troubles, friendship, love, sacrifice, diversity, and especially how the place you come from changes who you are.
I think that when a play, or movie, or any form of art makes you discuss and think about it afterwards, that is the sign of good art. This play definitely made me do that and I very much enjoyed it. It was a thought-provoking and engaging play that tackled some very important and current issues.  I would highly recommend checking the print version out or catching a production of it if you are ever near one.
I hope you get a chance to learn more about this play and hope you enjoy it!
Maddie, Northeast Teen Adviser

Out and About: The Glass Menagerie

The Glass MenagerieI’ve been a fan of Tennessee Williams ever since I first read A Streetcar Named Desireand just recently I had the great pleasure of seeing a live performance of one of his greatest classic works, The Glass Menagerieperformed at the Seattle Repertory Theater, which unfortunately ended on December 2nd.  However, you can get a copy of the play at the library, and I highly recommend it!  It is a thoughtful, enchanting read, and you are guaranteed to still be thinking about it weeks after you read the last line. Continue reading