Announcing 2018 New Year/New Play Selection!

2018 marks the fifth year of our New Year New Play Development Project. Each year we dedicate the first Sunday Salon to new work generated by local playwrights, and this year we are very happy to announce that we have selected, Choices People Make, by Jessica Andrewartha!

  • WHEN: February 11, 2018
  • WHERE: APL Downstairs Studio, Lake Forest Park, WA
  • SCHEDULE:
    4:00pm: Arrivals. Mingling and food/drinks.
    5:15-5:30pm: Reading begins, to be followed by discussion.
    10:00pm: End time is a best guess. Leave when you need to; we allow the discussion to run its course.

this is our 20th Salon in a quarterly series that began in March 2013. For Sunday Salons, APL casts actors not only from within the ensemble but also from the broader Puget Sound community to read new, classic and/or provocative plays we want to engage as thinking artists but aren’t likely to produce. Anyone interested in the play or its context can join us. Each Salon is a unique, dynamic assembly of artists, intellectuals, provocateurs, friends, and family. We read, drink, eat, and — with minimal moderation — let discussion go where it will.

The program is supported, in part, by a grant from 4Culture.

Choices 2018

THE PLAY: Dr. Rosamund Tamayo and her research partner Dr. Harold Cooper have created one of history’s greatest scientific breakthroughs. Her name is Athena. Now Dr. Roz and Athena are showing up at Roz’s mother’s door with a problem. It turns out that just because Athena and her body are bleeding edge technology doesn’t mean they’re not subject to the same questions women have been grappling with for centuries.

THE PLAYWRIGHT: Jessica Andrewartha is a Seattle based writer whose short plays have been produced in Seattle, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and London. Her full length plays Enter Starlighter, and W.H.I.P. have both received staged readings at Theatre Battery, her play Where Do We Start? was read at Seattle Playwrights Circle, and her play Ready to Start was read at Southern Methodist University. Jessica is an alumnus of SMU and a member of the Dramatists Guild.

For more details, and to keep up with related news (such as casting), follow the event on our Facebook Group

We hope to see you there!

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Watch footage from C+P’s premiere

Excited about Crime + Punishment’s Seattle opening January 5? Us, too!

Want a sneak peek? Check out this great footage from last month’s world premiere!

Tickets are selling strong. Buy your tickets today!

Please also consider donating to our end-of-year giving campaign. Because we’re the lucky beneficiaries of a giving match challenge, every dollar you give will be stretched: donations received between now and December 31 will be matched 1.5:1, and donations received January 1-15 will be matched 1:1. Donate today!

Special thanks to Margaretta Campagna for her stellar camera and editing work!

Ohio

Reflections on APL’s World Premiere Tour of Crime + Punishment
by Artistic Associate Tyler J. Polumsky

 

“I went back to Ohio… But my city was gone…”

 

Entrance to The Balch Street Theatre, home of New World Performance Laboratory (Akron OH) | Photo: Joseph Lavy

Entrance to The Balch Street Theatre, home of New World Performance Laboratory (Akron OH) | Photo: Joseph Lavy

Chrissie Hynde of the Pretenders sang that way back in October 1982, on a B side, in lament for her hometown – Akron – and the changes that had turned the serene beauty of her childhood home into something unrecognizable.

Three and a half decades on, I also went [back] to Ohio, but my city was not gone. I went [back] to Ohio, but my family was not gone. No, no. My city was found, my family was there with me, and it just kept growing. For me, nothing was unrecognizable. It was, in fact, as if it was just waiting to be discovered.

There in Akron, you see, just west of downtown, is a little place on Balch Street.* Maybe a little run down. Maybe a little dusty. More than perfect for a theatre company to have as its own home.

A home is a vital thing for making our art. Not to be scoffed at. And this home is far more than most companies I know have.

“Ay… oh… way to go…”

Tyler Polumsky as Raskolnikov in the world premiere of Crime + Punishment | Balch Street Theatre, Akron OH | Photo: Margaretta Campagna

Enter New World Performance Lab.

NWPL is the kind of company you would expect to find in Europe. They are a well-established company. They have been cultivating and culturing their own audience for 25 years. Most of the core ensemble members have been working together for decades. They have their own space. They make art. They do not seem to care much for many of the fancy follies that theatre companies in big metros break themselves on. They have their own terms and direction, and it is Art. They are an intellectual and spiritual pillar of a community. Ten minutes with any of them is enough to make that clear.

Imagine designers who can take a pile of urban waste and turn it into minimalist stagecraft confection. Imagine a board op who prefers to run the light board manually because “The operator needs to be following and working with the actors, live, as a partner, on any given night.” Imagine actors who will let themselves be eaten alive by mosquitos before they will stop their training. The kind of folks who would jump on an actual boat with a pocket full of change, third class, en route to Europe, with dreams of working with Jerzy Grotowski unannounced — not only doing it but going on to become among his closest collaborators.

Imagine leaders who throw the doors open for you so you can premiere your show, who share their wine and guest rooms at home when it’s time to rest, and who put coffee on the next morning so you can get back to it.

 “Ay, oh, way to go…”

So here, naturally, we from Akropolis Performance Lab, tired and road weary, jolly as ever, in this old community hall, in a beautiful and versatile space, surrounded by some excellent brothers and sisters in art, dug right in and premiered our adaptation of Dostoevsky’s Crime + Punishment to an audience hungry for theatre built on sweat, blood, and dynamic creativity rather than popped out of a can.

Tyler J. Polumksy as Raskolnikov | Crime + Punishment (92017-18) | Balch Street Theatre, Akron OH | Photo: Margaretta Campagna

Tyler J. Polumksy as Raskolnikov in the world premiere of Crime + Punishment | Balch Street Theatre, Akron OH | Photo: Margaretta Campagna

in the world premiere of Crime + Punishment

in the world premiere of Crime + Punishment

It went well. How could it have gone otherwise, really, in such an inspired place, among inspired people?

APL and NWPL felt to me like long-lost siblings. This surprised me even though I knew APL’s co-founders were founding members of NWPL before moving to Seattle. The reunion of such things is profound, marked by joy and a mutual curiosity peppered with excitement.

We know ourselves by knowing each other, it seems.

And when you have an audience that has been cultivated, educated, and prepped for all of your experiments — an open audience, hungry for the resonating thought and questions your work will provoke — well, that is when theatre is really ready to happen.

And it did.

“…All my favorite places…”

Shortly before we went, a friend joked to me that going to Ohio to tour a show would be like going to Tashkent, Uzbekistan, where I had spent 10 years with the Ilkholm Theatre. I understood the dig: it’s not New York. Very clever.

“…My city had been pulled down… reduced to parking spaces…”

The thing is, he was right. He just wasn’t right in the way he intended.

“…I was stunned and amazed…”

What I found [back] in Ohio — what I have found in my artistic home with APL and recognized as equally potent in NWPL — is a little thing called inspiration (a little, ilkhom, if you are up on your Uzbek). The main ingredient for true Art. Actual artists who are busy being humans … not people just busy trying to be “Artists.” A space that is begging for a life and roaring back in unexpected places. A theatre that functions as a human institution rather than merely a civic or historical one.

So, yeah — a little like going [back] to Tashkent.

And why shouldn’t a place like this be found in America’s heartland? All roads lead to Ohio. Check a map. Follow any national election. Read the history. Ohio is at the center — “The Heart of It All!” as the state slogan goes.

What a setting! Deep in the heart of the American Beast, at a historically dire and dark time, APL was making some bone-biting theatre. Right there in Ohio.

I went back to Ohio, and my city was right there.

I went back to Ohio, and my family was right there with me, and growing.

And I’ll go back to Ohio, my pretty countryside.

“Ay… Oh… Way to go… OHIO”

* Built in 1929 as Akron’s Jewish Center, this once thriving building was essentially deserted by 1985. Over the next 25 years it changed hands several times but amid the recession and other complications became more and more run down until, in 2011, Akron Beacon Journal columnist Bob Dyer published an article calling it a “wreck.” Shortly thereafter, the City of Akron forged an agreement with New World Performance Lab and the Center for Applied Theatre & Active Culture to take over the theatre portion of the building. Since then, NWPL/CATAC have been cleaning up and caring for the space, pursuing strategic repairs, and fostering a new, vibrant community of artists and audiences.

Support APL this Giving Tuesday!

LOGO_GivingTuesday

We at Akropolis Performance Lab have a lot to be thankful for, and YOU are a big part of that! You attend our productions and Salons, share and comment on our blog and social media posts, submit plays for our annual New Play Salon, and so much more. You truly inspire us to keep pushing toward new heights in our work.

On November 28, APL will be one of more than 30,000 organizations participating in #GivingTuesday, a global movement dedicated to celebrating and encouraging philanthropic giving during the holiday season.

This year’s Giving Tuesday also marks the launch of our crowdfunding campaign for Crime + Punishmentthe third and final phase of fundraising efforts for this project. Our goal is to raise $6,000 between now and January 15.

Crime + Punishment, APL’s original adaptation of Dostoevsky’s finest novel, has been nearly two years in development. We are so excited to finally share it with you and look forward to seeing you at one of our shows in Akron or Seattle!

Please help us achieve this final goal by making a donation to our Crime + Punishment campaign now.

And while you’re thinking about us, please also help spread the word about our #GivingTuesday campaign by liking us on Facebook and following us on Instagram.

More information about Crime + Punishment and purchasing tickets is here.