I didn’t come to theater to be nice. I came to theater to wear dark eyeliner. I came to theater to be emotional. To wear black clothes. I came to theater to be a hard-ass, tough kid with an overly sensitive heart and a penchant for crying in movie previews. I didnt want to be normal or standard. I wanted to be different and I didn’t care if people liked it. I came to theater to be seriously irreverent. I came to theater to have fun.
When I joined Washington Ensemble Theatre almost four years ago I found a group of like-minded artists. Elusive, cool kids who embraced the dark sides of themselves, who appreciated the seriousness of being both funny and hateful. Brats who wholeheartedly examined the honest parts of humanity we don’t like to talk about. Somehow they had found a way to be heart-centric and passionate while still celebrate being cold as fuck.
Season 12 at Washington Ensemble Theatre could not better encapsulate the enthusiasm, the humor, and the zeitgeist of our company. CRUEL HEARTS CLUB. A season of examining and accepting our community of deplorable selves. We begin with Kim Rosenstock’s 99 Ways To Fuck A Swan, a play about exploring sexual deviancy throughout history and art, followed by Stephen Adly Guirgis’ The Motherfucker With the Hat, a hard-hearted story about infidelity, love, and addiction. We close out the season with the world premiere of Susan Soon He Stanton’s The Things Are Against Us, a hilarious ghost story about uncovering secrets to discover the true nature of yourself. We will bring you into the far reaches of perversion, obscenity, and unrelenting viciousness all with a smile on your face and a song in your heart.
We ask you to join us this season for humor and depravity at its best. Join THE CRUEL HEARTS CLUB: cuz you wanna get real, cuz you wanna get laughing, cuz you don’t wanna be normal.
Samie Spring Detzer
Literary Manager and Co-Artistic Director (Queen of Cruel Hearts)
99 Ways to Fuck a Swan
By Kim Rosenstock
Directed by Ali el-Gasseir
A long, long time ago, Leda makes love to a swan. 3,000 years later, Michelangelo paints a picture. 350 years later, Rudolph buys it. 130 years later, Dave and Fiona stand in a museum, gazing at what remains. Set in a world of bizarre romantic obsessions and everyday ineptitude, 99 Ways to Fuck a Swan explores the dark corners of desire and the eternal mysteries of love.
The Motherfucker with the Hat
By Stephen Adly Guirgis
Directed by Valerie Curtis-Newton
Produced in partnership with The Hansberry Project & eSe Teatro
Jackie is struggling with addiction, friendship, love, and the challenges of adulthood in Guirgis’ totally fucked up comic tragedy. This high-octane, verbal cage-match shows us how hard recovery can be in the face of family, sexual dependency, and… a misplaced hat.
The Things Are Against Us
By Susan Soon He Stanton
Directed by Bobbin Ramsey
In this dark and twisted comedy, two lovelorn sisters, an ax wielding hunk, and the poet and lover Federico Garcia Lorca uncover their destiny when their past comes back to haunt them. They wrestle through time only to discover the real horror is in their bones.
The Return of… Urban Tanuki Samurai
Created and Performed by Jonah Von Spreecken & Ali Mohamed el-Gasseir
Cherry blossoms fall. Swords are drawn. The recycling gets collected! Urban Tanuki Samurai tells the story of two friends who live in a hilarious trash-filled game of make-believe. But when the game has to end, which one of them is going to take out the garbage? Urban Tanuki Samurai is a comedic romp for all ages. Longtime friends and collaborators Von Spreecken and el-Gasseir will remount, recycle, and reimagine this wildly inventive production from 2012.
Come celebrate the magick of winter in this one night only immersive theatrical concert! Featuring our favorite local musicians Whitney Lyman, and Kelton Sears of Kithkin, alongside a cabal of The Ensemble’s dearest sprites, sirens, and sylphs, join us as we bare witness to the crystalline mistletoe majesty of one mysterious night.
Walk Across American For Mother Earth
Written by Taylor Mac with music by Ellen Maddow
Directed by Ali Mohamed el-Gasseir
at University of Washington’s Glenn Hughes Penthouse
A ragtag group of anarchists, drag queens, and clowns walk from New York City to the Nevada Nuclear Test Site to protest nuclear proliferation in this a modern day commedia dell’arte play about political activism and activists. Walk Across America for Mother Earth was named one of the Ten Best Plays of 2011 by The New York Times (Charles Isherwood).
PARTY TIME! Save the date and celebrate your favorite little theatre company at the best party of the year!
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.