I’ll readily admit here that I have a deep love and admiration for teenage angst — a kind of nostalgia for a time when all experiences were new. Even while in my teens I felt a kind of specialness going through those moments of wonderment, utter pain and hormone-driven emotionality that accompany growing up. When I look back at my years spent crying over albums that spoke to me, or partners who burned me, and lessons I learned “the hard way,” I feel a kind of yearning for the time when your feelings are so big and the stakes of your life seem to fill every room you walk into.
This is ultimately why I fell in love with theatre. The heart-pounding, gut-wrenching enormity of the emotions that are somehow lost from the majority of daily adult life is found in plays. In the theater we are given space to let our emotional lives run wild.
This year we are bringing stories that will allow you to tap into your squishy teenage heart. Cry, scream, fall in love, and be as passionate as you were in high school. These stories will go right along with you — they will meet your highs and lows.
From the story of high school girls struggling to espcape their go-nowhere small town, to the tale of eight people trying to survive the apocalypse by the skin of their teeth, we plan to spark your emotional, high-stakes hearts and remind you what it’s like to feel that super-sized passion.
Samie Spring Detzer
Literary Manager and Co-Artistic Director
By Josh Conkel
Directed by Ali el-Gasseir
The first production that will take place in 12th Ave Arts will be the world premiere of Josh Conkel’s darkly hilarious new black comedy, Sprawl. Cornish Alum and Playwright of the Ensemble’s Season 8 smash success Milk Milk Lemonade, Conkel’s Sprawl nestles a group of friends and frenemies in a Washington suburban model home for a book club meeting, only to be interrupted by… THE-END-OF-THE-WORLD. Part Mars Attacks and part Serial Mom, the brutally-campy Sprawl reminds us that beneath suburban tranquility, nasty secrets are waiting to emerge that are as wicked as they are hilarious.
By Meg Miroshnik
Directed by Kelly Kitchens
The Tall Girls by Meg Miroshnik (Season 9 Playwright of critically-acclaimed The Fairytale Lives of Russian Girls) is a grim Dust Bowl era tale of a struggling high school women’s basketball team in the small town of Poor Prairie. The Tall Girls follows this group of young women as they strive for escape from their isolating and vast “grave town” through any means necessary. Intimate and gripping, The Tall Girls asks: what is the real cost of mortgaging your dreams for a meal ticket?
By Andrew Hinderaker
Directed by Michael Place
From the writer of the National New Play Network’s rolling world premiere Colossal comes the story of Matt Barnes, an investment banker who struggles to stomach his job. But when Matt is struck by a business idea that will net him millions while helping those in need, he believes he’s discovered his new career in ethical porn. So why does everyone think this venture is even more vile than the last? A blend of humor, Hendrix, and hardcore porn, Dirty explores whether there’s any place for philanthropy in this cut-throat, capitalist country.
Tickets are available through the ACT Box Office.
Created and Performed by Jonah Von Spreecken & Ali Mohamed el-Gasseir
The fourth installment of Von Spreecken and el-Gasseir all-ages weekend morning live-action cartoon series follows two German rabbits trapped on a “R.A.F.T.” attempting to cross the Atlantic to find their fortunes in America. This epic adventure pits bunny versus bunny on a harrowing journey. Will they survive sharks, squabbles, and the Bermuda Triangle or will an even greater mystery sink these two industrious bunnies? Stay tuned!
Join us for our 11th Annual Gala and Auction! This year we’ll return to the fabulous Rainier Chapter House to celebrate the first year in our new home at 12th Avenue Arts!
Get stupid smart at Six Pack! Art should be a party! At least that’s how we feel at Washington Ensemble Theatre. At our Six Pack Series, we invite playwrights, poets, and fiction writers to share their most outrageous work, all with a beer in hand. Why? Because getting drunk and laughing together is fun. Art doesn’t have to be sterile or hold an audience off at arm’s length. Loosen up a little, have a beer, and get stupid smart at one of the wildest literary readings in Seattle. More information about upcoming Six Packs can be found on our Facebook.
Choreographers and dancers don’t often have opportunities to utilize complex or fully-realized sets. With this in mind, Washington Ensemble Theatre is thrilled to present reSET: an opportunity for dancers to make pieces on its elaborate theatrical sets. On the set of The Tall Girls, choreographers Veronica Lee-Baik of The Three Yells and Jody Kuehner aka Cherdonna Shinatra will create new dance works on this dirt-filled, Dust Bowl era, multi-tiered playground. Curated by Mark Haim, Babette Pendleton, and Ensemble Co-Artistic Director Ali el-Gasseir, The Ensemble will continue this program in tandem with its future 12th Avenue Arts mainstage productions.