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Showing posts from March, 2010

Creating play without words: Robopop rehearsals

Heidi Ganser and Ben Zamora are Seattle-based theater artists. She designs costumes, he designs lighting, and they are engaged. But before Ganser can start planning their summer wedding, the pair are plunging into a completely different type of production, one where the current rehearsals are creating the story. “It started as conversation: if we could do anything in the world, what should we do? A robot musical!” said Ganser.

“We thought about turning Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots into a live show,” said Zamora.
“But after contacting the Flaming Lips, we found that somebody else already had the rights,” Ganser added. In fact, Aaron Sorkin (West Wing) has been reportedly writing a Broadway-bound musical based on the group's 2002 album.

Not wanting to let a good idea get away, Ganser and Zamora decided to create their own robot musical performance piece and they knew exactly where to stage it: Washington Ensemble Theatre. As longtime members of the ensemble, they c…

Eric Ankrim: bad prince, good gypsy, and dueling with himself

In Village Theatre's newest musical, the plot revolves around a very bad prince and a very sweet gypsy who just happen to look exactly alike. Rather than casting two actors as "twins" in the The Gypsy King, the real laughs revolve around one actor portraying both characters.Seattle actor Eric Ankrim has been handling this double trouble role since the musical was first workshopped in Issaquah. It was not a part that he expected to play.

"In 2006, I broke my contract at the Village Theatre," said Ankrim. "I was  in Girl of My Dreams when my buddy Ben Shelton called and said some ad executives had seen our YouTube videos and wanted to talk to us." In short, Hollywood rang, offering some lucrative commercial contracts, and Ankrim left the Northwest to pursue the opportunities offered in Los Angeles. Village Theatre, he emphasized, was very nice about the whole thing, but that, he figured, was the end of that relationship.

With Shelton, A…

Weagant stages roller derby comedy

Balagan Theatre. After performing as an acclaimed Trudy the bag lady in The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe, she's back as the director of the roller derby comedy/drama The Jammer opening March 11 at the Capitol Hill theater.

How did you come to direct
The Jammer at Balagan?
Balagan has become my second home since returning to Seattle a year and a half ago. I joined the company after performing in Arabian Nights and I created and co-host their monthly late night cabaret, Schmorgasborg.
Seattle actress Terri Weagant works on both sides of the footlights at

Last year I directed a short piece in Balagan's Death/Sex. It really whet my appetite for this aspect of production. As a company we planned this insane ten play season and I was invited to direct one. I wanted to find a fun, fast-paced, stylized piece that would allow a group of actors and myself to just come together in a room and play. While reading plays recently produced in the Edinburgh F…

Playing Dickens' appealing Pip

Lee Osorio made his Seattle debut this year playing Pip in Book-It’s current production of Great Expectations. Pip’s pursuit of becoming a gentleman and winning the heart of the aloof Estella forms the core of Charles Dicken’s perennially dramatized novel and his adventures range from gothic encounters with the shut-in Miss Haversham to the high life in London of a young man with “expectations.” Osorio discussed the enduring appeal of Pip in a recent interview. Great Expectations continues at Center House Theatre through March 13.

Pip has played by so many actors -- John Mills to Ethan Hawke -- did you watch any of these performances to prepare or do you steer clear of others' interpretations?
As an actor, I love seeing as many interpretations as possible. I am a strong believer that all great artists steal. The Ethan Hawke version was one of my favorite movies in high school, and in preparation for this I watched parts of the latest BBC miniseries. Ultimately, I hav…