I’ve been a casual theater fan for as long as I can remember, from my acting debut in A Midsummer Night’s Dream in third grade to memorizing all of the words to Les Miserables over the course of my youth, making it to state in the UIL one-act play competition as the sound guy for A Lion in Winter my senior year of high school, and taking advantage of ACT’s $10 youth tickets when I lived in Seattle the first time in 2003 and then ponying up for an ACT Pass after I moved back in 2009.
I’ve had a lot of favorites over the years—No Exit at the Undergrounds in college, All My Sons at the Rep and The Goat, or Who is Sylvia? at ACT back in ’03, pretty much every 14/48 that’s ever been performed, Superior Donuts at Seattle Public Theater more recently—but it was just last year that I started thinking of theater in my adult life as something other than a spectator sport.
It started, as it always does, with a powerful idea. Back when I worked for the Mayor’s Office I went to an awards ceremony for ACT’s Youth Playwright Program, which involves teaching artists working with middle and high school students who each write a play over the course of a semester. They performed scenes from a few of them at the event, and I was blown away by how good some of them were. I thought to myself “maybe I should write a play someday,” and then filed it away in my long mental to-do list as soon as the event was over. Fast forward to January of last year, and I noticed an entry for “Adult Playwright Program” on the ACT calendar, decided that I couldn’t justify not doing it, and signed up. I had a great time writing a rough draft of my first play, and I went on to take a second class last October to firm it up a little bit (it’s still a work in progress). A 10-minute short play I wrote was read live by professional actors at our class showcase in December, and seeing something I’d written performed for an audience was addictive.
It was around this time that a friend of mine who works at Seattle Public Theater invited me to the opening night of Slip/Shot there. I’ve been a fan of SPT for awhile because of their willingness to do edgier theater that has something to say, and after the play she reached out to me about joining their board. I’d been planning on transitioning off the board at my co-op this year anyway, so I was looking for another board to join, and it seemed to me like a great way to give something back to an artistic community whose work I’ve really enjoyed the entire time I’ve been living in Seattle.
Over the course of the next few months I went to board meetings, met the staff, and generally got to know the organization and let them get to know me, and in early January the Board of Directors voted to make me an official member! It’s been fun diving in and getting started already.
My first official act as a board member of the theater will be to co-host a Board and Friends reception before the opening-weekend performance of Humble Boy this Saturday night at 6:45, and as the friend of a board member I’d love for you to join me! I’ll be reprising my bartender role from my college days and serving free wine and appetizers, in case you need a reason to come other than watching great theater. Tickets for the play are $32, and you can buy yours here—it’s a heavily Hamlet-inspired comedy about “a socially awkward scientist who deftly links the cosmology of bees to black holes, but cannot fathom the mysteries of love and family,” and it all takes place in a Downton Abbey-style English garden estate.
RSVP on Facebook if you can make it, and hopefully I’ll see you there!