When I was a boardmember with The Tacoma Actors Guild, we were struggling to get more supporters. Our patrons were not renewing memberships. No renewals mean death to live theater. A survey showed that those who attended our Tacoma Actors Guild productions did not like the plays that were being produced by TAG. Many of the plays that were being produced were written by David Mamet and seemed to involve bickering. When it was announced that we were renewing our contract with the person that was driving our subscribers away I resigned. About two years later TAG folded.
Recently I began watching an interesting film on TUBI, “The Spanish Prisoner” staring Campbell Scott and Steve Martin. How could I go wrong? Cambell Scott played a priest in my absolute favorite movie “Saint Ralph”, and Steve Martin was in a number of my favorite comedies like “Bowfinger”, “Three Amigos”, and “Plains, Trains, and Automobiles”. Well, I did go wrong! I fell asleep watching “The Spanish Prisoner”. . . I had failed to connect the writer/director David Mamet with the TAG fiasco and viewing on TV. Here is the film teaser: https://www.imdb.com/video/vi1744044313/?ref_=tt_vi_i_1
“The Spanish Prisoner” had a great basis and storyline delivered with a kiss of death . . . or sleep as it turned out to be for me.
Our local theatres have been doing a great job producing plays and musicals that people enjoy. We’re not afraid of new voices, new story lines, and new music. Last spring the Tacoma Little Theatre put on a great production of the Stephen King’s thriller “The Shawshank .” Last year CenterStage out of Federal Way produced “The Oregon Trial,” a play about a computer game, which had a great following. CenterStage also deservers accolades for their “Pantos.” A panto is an English pantomime featuring jokes and songs that involve the audience all built around fairy tails and laugh-out-loud comments.
Harlequin Theatre in Olympia has been featuring local writers from Washington State over the last couple of years, while Dukesbay in Tacoma has been using local writers for some time with the latest being about a sailing ship, The Andelana, that sank in our Tacoma harbor a hundred plus years ago.
Lakewood Playhouse with a large donation has a new Managing Artistic Director, Joseph C. Walsh who says “I hope to nurture a space of belonging for every member of our community to gather, share stories, listen and learn. I believe in the power of theatre to bring people together to nurture understanding, shared experience, conversation and collaboration. Lakewood’s latest production features an interesting production, “The Seafarer”, of an Irish poker game going on just before Christmas.
With all of the work our community puts forth for live entertainment it’s great to enjoy the possibilities and share the pleasure of our neighbors with their skills, stories, and ability to delight. They bring interesting plays, with compelling stories that deliver pleasure and amusement and not sleep.