Leading Us Into Temptation – Artistic Director George Mount on the 2014-2015 Season

I think the season coming up has some amazing play titles associated with and some amazing directors associated with each of those shows. And again, it’s also coming in as one of those seasons where the directors are coming at the plays from a passion point of view.

The theme of the season this year is built around the idea of what we’re calling “Lead Us Into Temptation.” So each of the plays, somewhere in them, deal with elements of love, desire, lust, ambition…chasing after that forbidden fruit. And how ideas of jealousy, deception, and corruption can bump up against those notions of craven impulses or secret desires.

The thing that’s going to be kicking off the season is going to be a real note for something here in Seattle. Before we get to our four play themed season, of “Lead Us Into Temptation,” we’re going to kick off a 5th full production in early September of “Waiting for Godot,” Samuel Beckett’s masterpiece of the last century. It’s going to be built around an entire city-wide festival of the works of Samuel Beckett. We are involving over 20 arts and education organizations from the period of late August through early November, all coordinating and producing works by or inspired by Samuel Beckett.

We’ll have our show, “Waiting for Godot” performed in cooperation with ACT Theatre at the Falls Theatre in early September. We’re very excited about the opportunity for us, as theatre artists, and all of Seattle as audience members to jointly explore this great and profoundly important writer’s work.

As an artistic director, what I get the great pleasure of doing, is giving other artists an opportunity to explore their passions. And the directors associated with the plays this year have, each of them, brought a particular excitement and a particular dream passion to each of these shows. Jon Kretzu doing “Twelfth Night” is getting a chance to explore some beautiful opulence and sort of faded glory and degradation all at the same time in his production of “Twelfth Night.”

Desdemona Chiang is an exceptionally talented and exciting director whose work with Azeotrope people may be familar with. She’s also got a great history with Shakespeare, and she is over the moon excited about “Measure for Measure.” She approached me about, when I met with her, because I think her talent is so great, I wanted her to get a chance to explore Shakespeare…the first show on her list was “Measure for Measure.”

Makeala Pollock who is directing “Tartuffe” is developing a passion for the works of Moliere. She recently directed “The Bourgeois Gentlemen” at Cornish College and is getting…is chomping at the bit to get some more of that Moliere wit and social commentary expressed in Seattle.

And the great John Langs, whose work we’ve enjoyed with “King Lear,” “The Merchant of Venice,” “Antony and Cleopatra,” has one of the strongest and most distinctive voices in Seattle theatre directing, and to bring it to bear upon this great play of jealousy and passion and deception is going to be right up his alley. I think it’s going to be flexing all the muscles that he has already finely developed.

There are going to be a lot of great plays that you’re going to want to see and a subscription is one of the best ways to ensure that you see every one of them.

Waiting for Godot – September 3-21, 2014

Twelfth Night – October 21-November 16, 2014

Measure for Measure – January 6-February 1, 2015

Tartuffe – March 17-April 12, 2015

Othello – April 22-May 10, 2015

First Rehearsal for “Earnest”

 

 

Only one other writer could compete with Shakespeare for the title of the most quoted playwright, and that is Oscar Wilde. Seattle Shakespeare Company produces their first production of a Wilde play with The Importance of Being Earnest directed by Victor Pappas this spring.

The Importance of Being Earnest is Oscar Wilde’s last play and has been hailed as one of the cleverest comedies in the English language. Dapper Jack Worthing and Algernon, his compatriot in cavorting, have fallen for two ladies who have their hearts set on marrying a man named Ernest. In order to pursue the romance, both men concoct an elaborate deception which leads to an even more outlandish surprise when the formidable Lady Bracknell starts sleuthing about for the far-fetched truth.

Wilde was a great admirer of the social commentary plays of Shaw and Ibsen. At the first rehearsal for the play, director Victor Pappas remarked that The Importance of Being Earnest was written after Wilde’s series of “Society Plays” where the characters all had great secrets they were trying to protect.  The play was a departure from his previous works in that Wilde set aside the earnest social commentary and focused on his humor and triviality he saw in his society.  “He calls the play a trivial play for serious people. It is indeed that,” said Pappas. “It says: `Look at the things we take seriously and look at the things we treat as trivial….I’m going to invert that, and that’s going to be a reflection of our society.’”  The Importance of Being Earnest was written during the period of Wilde’s life when he had his own secrets.  A happily married man with children, Wilde also conducted a whole other life with Lord Alfred Douglas.  The Importance of Being Earnest opened on Valentine’s Day in 1895 and shortly thereafter the great scandal of Wilde’s life became public. He was imprisoned, his named removed from the play, and Wilde never came back as a literary force within his lifetime.

Pappas makes his Seattle Shakespeare Company directing debut with The Importance of Being Earnest. He served as the Associate Artistic Director of Intiman Theatre for seven years and recently directed Other Desert Cities, Old Times and Mary Stuart at ACT Theatre. He spent a decade as Associate Chair of the Graduate Acting Program at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, where he received the David Payne Carter Award for Teaching Excellence.

Husband and wife actors Connor Toms and Hana Lass will play Jack and Cecily. Both have appeared frequently at Seattle Shakespeare Company, Toms most recently as Duke Orsino in the Wooden O production of Twelfth Night (2012) and Lass as Rosalind in As You Like It (2012). Emily Grogan, who also appeared in the Wooden O production of Twelfth Night as Olivia returns to play Gwedonlen.  Making their Seattle Shakespeare Company debuts are Quinn Franzen as Algernon and Kimberly King as Lady Bracknell.  Also appearing in the production are Kate Wisniewski as Miss Prism, Charles Leggett as Rev. Chausible, and Michael Patten in the dual roles of Lane and Merriman.

Seeking Wooden O Site Manager

David S. Hogan as King Henry in Seattle Shakespeare Company's 2013 Wooden O production of "Henry V."
David S. Hogan as King Henry in the 2013 Wooden O production of “Henry V.”

Seattle Shakespeare Company is currently accepting applications for a site manager for the theatre’s summer 2014 Wooden O outdoor productions. This 5-week part-time, temporary position involves primarily evening and weekend duties that will include:

  • Serving as a public representative of Seattle Shakespeare Company
  • Setting up an informative and welcoming station and signage
  • Coordinating and supervising volunteers
  • Giving brief speeches before each performance to welcome the audience
  • Selling merchandise and collecting donations
  • Soliciting free Groundling memberships
  • Serving as an information resource regarding Seattle Shakespeare Company and the performance.
  • Tallying cash donations after each performance
  • Submitting performance reports
  • Others duties as assigned

The position requires that the site manager have reliable transportation, be able to lift 30lbs, and have a schedule flexible enough to evening hours during the week and all weekends during stated work period. This position will start the week of July 7 and be employed through August 10, 2014. If you have questions or are interested in applying for the summer Wooden O site manager position, please send a cover letter and resume to:

Jeff Fickes, Communications Director | email
Seattle Shakespeare Company
PO Box 19595
Seattle, WA  98109

Salary: $10 per hour. All applications will be considered. Candidates will be called for an interview. Application deadline is March 14.

General Auditions for Wooden O 2014 Productions

The cast of Seattle Shakespeare Company's 2013 Wooden O production of "The Tempest."
The cast of Seattle Shakespeare Company’s 2013 Wooden O production of “The Tempest.”

Seattle Shakespeare Company will hold general auditions on Saturday March 1 from 11AM to 6PM for its two Wooden O summer 2014 productions directed by David Quicksall and Vanessa Miller.

Please email casting to schedule an available slot. To solicit a time for this audition please include a headshot and resume in your email message.

Where: Cornish Playhouse, 201 Mercer Street, Seattle WA 98109. The auditions will take place in the Founder’s Room located in the upper lobby near the bar. Please enter the building through the side door located near Seattle Rep.

Audition requirements: two heightened text pieces (90-second maximum per piece), and at least one of them should be by Shakespeare. The second piece will only be seen at the director’s discretion and request, so please be ready but don’t assume that both pieces will asked to be heard.  Also note, you may be asked to sing a capella.

Dates for the Wooden O productions are July 10 through August 17. Rehearsals will begin June 9, 2014. Both productions will perform in Walla Walla for one week.

Seattle Shakespeare Company to Transfer Productions to Walla Walla

Richard II
David Foubert, Reginald Andre Jackson, and Peter A. Jacobs in Seattle Shakespeare Company’s 2014 production of “Richard II” Photo by John Ulman.

Starting with our production of “Richard II” and continuing on with our Spring production of “The Importance of Being Earnest,” Seattle Shakespeare Company and Shakespeare Walla Walla are embarking on a partnership to bring professional classical theatre productions to Eastern Washington. 

 

“I’m thrilled that we’ll be returning to Walla Walla with our indoor productions,” says SSC’s Artistic Director George Mount. In the summer of 2008, Seattle Shakespeare Company transferred its outdoor production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” to Walla Walla to play at the Fort Walla Walla Amphitheatre and out of that initial effort Shakespeare Walla Walla was created. Since then the city has gone on to build a new indoor performing arts venue, the Gesa Power House Theatre. “We were the inaugural production at the Gesa Power House Theatre with our production of “The Merry Wives of Windsor,” but we’ve not been back to bring another one of our mainstage shows since that time. With the transfer of our productions of “Richard II” and “The Importance of Being Earnest” as well as a presentation of our collaboration on “Such Sweet Thunder Suite” with Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra, it’s wonderful to bring our work to Eastern Washington.

 

“This renewed partnership with Seattle Shakespeare Company helps us expand our programming and outreach,” says Shakespeare Walla Walla Executive Director Ron Williams. “We bring high-quality entertainment to the community, offer more shows in a variety of genres and have more time to focus on our education efforts. With some shows, we’ll be adding a Friday morning performance just for our local schools.”

 

Seattle Shakespeare Company’s production of “Richard II” will play at the Gesa Power House Theatre February 6-9 and “The Importance of Being Earnest” by Oscar Wilde will perform April 16-20. “Such Sweet Thunder Suite,” Duke Ellington’s 12-part suite inspired by Shakespeare’s works, will be performed in Spring 2014.

 

Tickets to the Walla Walla performances are available online or by calling (509) 529-6500. Visitor information about Walla Walla is available at www.wallawalla.org.