23 June 2006

Urban Dispatch from Capitol Hill

lee ctr
Originally uploaded by Katherine H.
Earlier this week, I thought to myself,“If I went to Seattle this weekend, what would I do?” A quick internet search reveals a one-woman show opening at the Lee Center for the Arts on the Seattle University campus. Mmm. A few clicks later and I’m checking out the current exhibits at the Seattle Asian Art Museum. And guess what? Bellevue is holding their annual Strawberry Festival this weekend. That’s all it takes, and I’m off to my neighbor to the north.

So tonight I find myself in the Capitol Hill area in search of the arts center. The format and the content of the play intrigue me on a couple of levels. It’s a semi-autobiographical work by Lauren Weedman about her experiences working as a volunteer case manager with the woman at the L.A. Twin Towers Correctional Facility. I’ve written and performed monologues before, and I wanted to see how an entire show could be carried by just one person.

The theatre is a traditional black-box style, with seating for 150 people. As soon as I see it, it takes me back to another impromptu theatre experience four years ago. My friend, Szejn, and I had traversed our respective countries (me from Utah, and he from Calgary) to meet in Montreal. It was a sorely needed 4-day break for me, a time to decompress after several months of high demands and stress at work.

One night, we decided to attend a local production we had seen advertised in a local paper. I cannot remember the title or any of it predominant themes. What I do remember is a long, raised platform consuming the length of the performance area -- actors running full pace from one end down to the other, circling back to the starting point behind the curtains, and reappearing in a continuous loop of scurrying fanatics. I don’t think there was nary a word of English in the entire play, but a fare amount of French, some Russian, and another mysterious tongue. It’s an odd memory, but one I’m happy to share with my friend.

Lauren brought tremendous energy and skill for characterization to her performance tonight. For one hour and forty minutes she portrayed a slice of her life in all of its humorous, muddled, and honest combinations. Her work as a volunteer resonates with me because of similar experiences I’ve had working with incarcerated populations. You don’t forget the nuances of the first time you enter a maximum security facility. Her work as a writer resonates because it reflects life.

1 comment:

Bibi said...

Thank you! I live very close and never knew about the cathedral so I've put it on my gad-about list.