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JANUARY 26 – MARCH 5, 2022
Previews: January 26 & 27 at 7:30 PM
Opening Night: January 28 at 8:00 PM
Pay What You Can: February 2 at 7:30 PM
Wed/Thu: 7:30 PM
Fri/Sat: 8:00 PM
Sat Mat: 2:00 PM
P.S. Don’t forget: Subscribers get $7 off additional regularly priced single tickets to Jewell Mainstage productions!
All Penelope wants is an evening out on the town; even vicars’ wives deserve a little fun. But between a buzzed busybody in the closet, a volley of vicars galloping across the lawn, and a Soviet spy on the loose, her night of fun creates mayhem for all. Precocious and preposterous, this comedy is pure pandemonium!
First staged in the 1940s, this English comedy has had multiple stage revivals and tours. It remains an incredibly popular farce. Playwright Philip King was no stranger to the world of acting and theatre, having been an actor for most of his adult life. As a writer, he pulled from a rich tradition of farce to construct his characters and his comedy.
“He was well acquainted with the ‘tricks’ of comedy,” said director Karen Lund. “When reading the script of See How They Run, it feels like he pulled out every single comedic gag that he could think of and crammed them all into one English village vicarage. I expect that King knew from personal experience that sometimes, especially in the dark times, you just really need to LAUGH.”
Lund, who became Taproot Theatre Company’s Producing Artistic Director in January 2021, has directed many productions at Taproot since joining the staff in 1993, most recently Daddy Long Legs. The cast includes a mix of faces both new and familiar to the Taproot stage. Returning actors include Shanna Allman (Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley), Sophia Franzella (Persuasion, A Charlie Brown Christmas), Eric Hampton (Room Service, Baskerville), Rob Martin (The Explorer’s Club, You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown), Calder Jameson Shilling (The Bishop’s Wife, Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley, Silent Sky), and Miranda Antoinette (Bright Star). Making their Taproot debuts are Nathan Brockett, James Schilling, and Nathaniel Tenenbaum.
The production team includes Mark Lund, scenic and sound design; Nanette Acosta, costume design; Michael Wellborn, lighting design; Ian Bond, fight director; Linda Reynolds, props master; Rachel Victoria Miller, stage manager; Sonja Lowe, dramaturg; Leah Fishbaugh, dialect coach; and Matthew Katterhagen, directing intern.
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While See How They Run is actor Nathaniel Tenenbaum’s first production at Taproot, he is hardly new to this theatre, having been cast for the planned 2020 production of this show. We invited him to share a little about himself with our subscribers.
What has it been like waiting for two years to bring this production to our stage?
I’ve been waiting even longer to work with Karen Lund! So imagine the dismay when we got news of the shelving of this production. I’m such a fan of the genre and always ache to sink my teeth into mastering the timing and rhythm of an expertly crafted farce, especially with a cast who just gets the art form. So, it’s safe to say it’s been agony to wait, and I don’t wish it on my worst enemy.
At what point in your preparation were you for the production when you found out it had to be tabled?
I had just seen the film and had ordered the Samuel French paperback from the internet. I also had started to do some research regarding the growth of African Americans converting or being born into Catholicism around the early 40’s, just to give some dimensional layers to the inner workings of someone as such as myself presenting my version of The Bishop of Lax
How did you spend the time in between then and now, given the pandemic restrictions?
I had just moved to Seattle around the end of 2018 and beginning of 2019, and had hit the ground running with work, which didn’t leave much time to really see my Seattle or really even spend any time in my new place. (Theatre takes a lot of time). So once everything started to close up, I had all the time in the world actually “settle in.” This is definitely the most decorated any of my previous flats have been—I had the time now. Once it was approved to venture outside, I took to the trails and campsites, and when the weather turned less warm I brushed up on my culinary skills and screenwriting work.
You’re a recent transplant to Seattle; tell us what brought you here and a little about the journey to get here.
Yep, Northwest London to be exact (specifically the Hampstead Heath/Golders Green area). I’ve been in Seattle as a local actor since November 2018, but I began flying here as an out of town artist for shows in 2016.
I’ve been acting professionally for about 7 years now. In the beginning of that journey, I made a promise to myself that I’d treat this career like I would any other. I set out a timeline for the trajectory I was hoping for, with say, the end goal being originating a role on Broadway or simply being booked for a whole calendar year. I then set out to find places where that would be possible. The results were New York, Chicago, and Seattle. The latter was a bit of a surprise for me, but I was thrilled: Being English, the weather here already agrees with my sensibilities, and I wouldn’t need anxiety meds for dealing with living in NYC. My research showed that quite a few musicals and plays have had their origins right here in Seattle. By moving here, I’d also avoid the polar vortexes of the Windy City, so I packed my bags!
What do you hope to bring to the character of the Bishop of Lax in this show?
I have my sights on making him as genuine and sincere as possible. The fun really happens when you drop these very real characters in these very unreal situations. I’m definitely planning on giving him an essence of a gradual descent into madness.
Is there anything else you’d like us to know about you?
I’m on the hunt for my first Seattle car or truck! So if anyone has any leads on a cheap reliable set of wheels, come find me! Let us chat!
A little more about Nathaniel:
• Favorite rehearsal snack: Apple Pie Lara bars
• Best recipe you discovered during quarantine: America’s Test Kitchen: Duchess Potato Casserole
• Favorite album in your vinyl collection: Oingo Boingo – Nothing to Fear / Meatloaf – Bat Out of Hell II: Back into Hell
• Favorite musical: HAIR
• Bingeworthy: Currently splitting time between “Landscapers” on HBO and “Midnight Mass” on Netflix
Bringing the world of See How They Run to life with costumes is Nanette Acosta, a longtime designer for Taproot Theatre. Currently based in Austin, where she’s an Assistant Professor of Practice and the Costume Production Director at UT Austin, she shares her experience with costume design and what it’s like working on a production remotely.
You’ve worked on many productions at Taproot Theatre over the years. What are some of your highlights?
There are so many. I have had the opportunity to design so many different styles at Taproot. A few of my favorites are Room Service, An Ideal Husband, Bach at Leipzig, and The Beams are Creaking.
And not only is your work at Taproot extensive, but you have over 20 years of designing costumes! Will you share one of your favorite things about costume design?
I enjoy being able to help tell a story. I love the collaboration between myself, the director, and the other designers, and also with the performers. I love helping them discover their character and being able to support their work. It also doesn’t hurt loving history and research.
Is there a moment in the process when everything just clicks for you?
That can happen in so many ways. I love that moment in a fitting when an actor tries something on and you can see the wheels turn. I pride myself on really understanding the play and the journey the characters are going on. So, I love it when my choices really click with a performer. I also love when you bring ideas to the director and your fellow designers, and you see them putting them to use on stage. It really highlights that your ideas and opinions are truly valued. Karen always makes me feel that way.
In See How They Run, Penelope’s choice of wearing trousers sets her apart in some ways, while other characters’ costumes contribute to the mix-up of identities. Would you share with our subscribers a little about the way a script informs the design choices you make?
Well, this play had a lot laid out in it already. Sometimes you can get away with choosing not to follow stage directions if you have a different idea. But when characters refer to a costume directly, or when it is vital to the story, you just have to go with it. But you still want to put your own spin on it. In this play, even though there are several “men of the cloth,” I really wanted each of them to be an individual. It can be a challenge when they basically could all be dressed exactly the same. I tried to give each one a sense of identity and character. I used different shades of black and gray, and various types and textures of fabrics and accessories, to set each one apart. I also wanted Penelope to really feel like an outsider, that she doesn’t quite fit in. I used bolder colors and abstract prints on her, to help convey that she’s American and has travelled the world. The other women are dressed in ditsy floral prints and more subtle tweeds, conveying the feel of a small English village.
Can you share one surprise to look out for, or a fun fact about one of the costumes?
I hate to spoil anything. I don’t think there are any big surprises. But I tried to have fun with the costumes and use details to heighten the comedy of the piece. Since there is so much clothing swapping, I had fun with fit and deciding what a character kept on from their original costume, along with what undergarments we see. Fittings are always fun when you get to ask questions like, “What’s funnier: pants or no pants?”
You are based in Austin and have worked on this show from afar. What is it like designing costumes remotely, and what are some of the challenges you’ve faced along with some of the unexpected benefits of doing so?
This is my second show working remotely with Taproot. It really helps that Karen Lund and I have done so many shows together and I feel really supported by her. We have built a great relationship and have a lot of trust. For this show it is less about the distance; I found it more difficult because we set it aside for almost two years. It was hard to just pick up where we left off, and I felt like I was playing catch up. For remote designing, it just takes a lot of organization and planning, as well as shop support. Starting rehearsals during the holiday season put a few bumps in the road for us too. Normally I would arrive a few days before rehearsals begin, but on this one that would have meant coming the week of Christmas. Not only would it be difficult to visit other theatres’ costume stocks (we often borrow items from other theatres), but it would also mean the shop would have to work over the holiday, which is just rude! And when I return, we have Martin Luther King Jr. Day, so that means I am coming a little earlier than I would normally. But it is all doable. The pandemic means that we have learned how to have remote meetings and even fittings, so we are probably better equipped now than before.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with our subscribers?
Just that it’s always so fun to be able to come back to a theatre that I have been working with for around 20 years, and to have the opportunity to maintain these relationships and build new ones.
Playing on the Jewell Mainstage March 23 – April 30, 2022
Directed by Scott Nolte
Percy is fresh out of prison and searching for a new life when she arrives in Gilead and meets Hannah, who is ready to leave The Spitfire Grill behind. After Percy convinces Hannah to run a contest and raffle off the grill, entries start pouring in from around the country and rumors and secrets swirl through the once picture-perfect town. In this soul-stirring musical, forgiveness and a spirit of hope go a long way in pointing the way home.
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