The rock musical Hedwig and the Angry Inch, with text by John Cameron Mitchell and music and lyrics by Stephen Trask, started as a performance in drag clubs and became an international phenomenon. It’s now playing at the State Theater of Olympia’s Harlequin Productions, starring Adam Rennie as Hedwig and Mandy Rose Nichøls as Hedwig’s husband and assistant, Yitzhak.
As summer creeps in and as we begin to see hope for an end to the COVID pandemic, Childhood’s End Gallery celebrates rejuvenation with an exhibition called “Bloom.” It features flowers, flowers and more flowers by local artists, plus paintings, etchings, sculptures and a cascading curtain of living flowers by Olympia artist Kathy Gore Fuss.
Falling, now playing at Olympia Little Theatre (OLT), is 70 minutes of edge-of-your-seat intensity, a roller coaster of love, fear and laughter with no intermission. If there were an intermission, the audience’s total immersion into the Martin family would be weakened; if it were any longer than 70 minutes, the actors would be physically exhausted and the audience emotionally so. As it is, the time flies by at warp speed and the audience is left depleted, yet thoroughly satisfied.
In many ways the Martins, the quintet of characters who populate Deanna Jent’s hour-long, 2011 play Falling, resemble a typical American family. Mother Tami, in some ways a stand-in for Jent herself, is overwhelmed and fond of red wine. Teenage son Josh demands a day off from school. There’s one all-important factor missing from that synopsis, however: Josh is a person with autism, given to veering from giddy hilarity to violent frenzy with little provocation or warning.
This spring, Olympia’s Harlequin Productions is doing something that’s never been done in this area. It’s producing Sovereignty, a historical drama about Native Americans, written and directed by Native Americans, performed by an ensemble of Native and non-Native actors, with direction, set, costume and lighting design by Native artists brought to Olympia from all over the United States.
“I’ve been doing salons for about 20 years through the Northwest Playwrights Alliance,” playwright Bryan Willis explains. “I really love the format.” Happily for Willis, executive director Jill Barnes was eager to host a salon in The Washington Center’s black box theater, a utilitarian space adjacent to its main auditorium. It returns this May after a three-year hiatus.