Saturday, October 21, 2006

Great Theater Town Anchorage

My daughter recently told me she saw a lot better theater and film in Anchorage than she sees in Seattle. Instead of having 30 choices every night, we have 3-10 (not counting regular movie theaters) or so. Still more than one can do. But of that number, most are pretty good. And often the venues are relatively small, so you are right there face to face with the actors.

Thursday, we saw Tony nominated Lisa Kron in 2.5 Minute Ride at Out North. The room holds, maybe, 100 people. We tooks seats in the front row. A one-actor piece, three spots on the stage, three different intertwined stories going on. A mock slide show of her trip to Auschwitz with her dad and the Dutch woman who'd lived with them when she was a high school exchange student; an annual family trip to a big amusement park in Indiana; and her brother's wedding. Ultimately it was a tribute to her dad who was sent alone to the US from Germany as a 15 year to escape the Nazis. Since my mother came to the US alone in 1939 as a 17 year old, there was a lot for me to relate to. And I'd had many of the same reactions while wandering through Buchenwald, that she had at Auschwitz. She played her father to tell one story of a kid named Lohman, the only other kid in his school class not to join Hitler Youth. Her dad wondered, "If I weren't Jewish, would I have the courage to say no like Lohman?" A question for us all to ponder carefully today.

Friday we saw Little Shop of Horrors at Mad Myrna's. A tiny stage, in a back room of a gay bar that was crowded with a little over 100 seats, a bar, a four piece band, and a place to store the grown Audrey II until she was needed on stage.. But we have great local talent, and Christian Heppinstal pulled together a great production. All the actors became their roles, with highlights by the dentist and both Audrey IIs (the puppeteer who was inside the giant plant and danced with real soul, and voice of Audrey who sang with real soul.)

We really are lucky to have such good stuff here.

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