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Robert Koon mixes myth with the challenges of sustainable forestry

Robert Koon’s latest play takes the audience to the far North, where a writer meets a tree-sitter. The play references one of the great world myths, where the father of the gods, Odin, hung himself on the World Tree to gain knowledge.

Mirror Stage presents "Odin’s Horse" as their first fully staged production in more than a decade. In keeping with the theater’s mission to inspire dialogue about important issues, they will hold post-play discussions and Community Forums following the Sunday matinees from now through Nov. 11. Among the themes to be explored are storytelling, Nordic mythology and the challenges of sustainable forestry. Learn more at the company’s website.

We contacted playwright Koon to ask how fairy tales can spark conversations about modern day issues.

You were inspired by environmentalism and Norse mythology when writing "Odin’s Horse" — what is the dominant theme in the play for you?
That there is a cost to the way we live our lives, and that w…

Running down the river with Scholz

This fall, Village Theatre sent its audiences floating down the Mississippi the fall in its charming revival of "Big River," a musical retelling of Mark Twain’s "Huckleberry Finn." After a successful outing at the company’s Issaquah theater, the production moved north to Everett, where it continues through Nov. 18.

Anchoring the action with sass and style, Randy Scholz plays Huckleberry, a poor boy who objects to being “civilized” after his adventures with Tom Sawyer and escapes on a raft with a runaway slave named Jim.

From its publication in 1884, the book has managed to rile multitudes—as the hero is a cheeky boy as well as a highly reluctant abolitionist—and become an American classic, one of the greatest tales ever told about running away.  Scholz, who has trained in opera as well as musical theater, lives in Seattle but hails originally from Texas. We asked him how he was finding life in the Northwest as well as his own view of Huckleberry’s charm.

How did …

Dark fairies flit through Graney's latest

--> Looking for a few adjectives to describe the style of choreographer Pat Graney? Try fearless, adventurous, striking, or bold – and that won’t even cover half of the catalog of an extraordinary body of work. Graney has choreographed solo pieces, theatrical pieces, and, through Keeping The Faith, healing pieces for women serving time in prison. A powerful influence for more than twenty years in the Seattle dance scene, she’s inspired numerous artists to follow her very big strides in make a place for women in choreography. Her most recent venture finds her collaborating with artists from several spheres to tell the dark fairytale of the The Skriker, a shapechanging fairy roaming a fantastical London. The Balagan Theatre production runs from now through Nov. 11 at the Erickson Theatre, 1524 Harvard. Graney took some time out from her busy schedule to answer a few questions about the show via e-mail. First, what attracted you to The Skriker?
Janice Findley approached me to wor…

A real Felicia tackles the role of the fictional Felicia in Memphis

The musical Memphis rolled back to Seattle in September. Actress Felicia Boswell plays the African-American love interest, also called Felicia, of poor and white Huey, who fights to bring her character's songs to the "center of the dial" in 1950s radio.The struggles of dating across the color line, emphasized by the disapproval of both characters' families, serve to provide the dramatic tension in this largely uplifting musical about the power of music.
Boswell recently chatted via email about the role and what she's learned about the "Memphis sound" since she started with this musical on Broadway. Memphis continues at the 5th Avenue Theatre through Oct. 7.

What's the key for you in understanding Felicia Farrell and her complicated relationship with Huey Calhoun?
I have always dated outside of my race. My boyfriend is Caucasian. Although it's a different time now, some people are still very uncomfortable with this. It was only maximiz…

Maggie Lee wrangles pandas and jokes at PFP

Maggie Lee started out as a backstage tech and "panda wrangler" for the Pork Filled Players in 2004, but these days she's better known in Seattle as a playwright whose work ranges from horror adaptations to romantic comedies.
Lee returns to her sketch comedy roots this month as a writer and performer in Porktacular! at the Ballard Underground (2220 Market Ave. NW, Seattle), July 13 to 28, Friday and Saturdays at 8 pm. You always list yourself as a "panda wrangler" for PFP. What inspired that title?
The panda wrangling started when I wrote a sketch called "Panda: Hostage Negotiator" for one of our shows. There was some doubt as to how it would work, since we couldn't afford a whole panda costume or even a decent mask. So I said, "I wrote the darned thing, I'll take care of the panda." I went home and built a panda head out of an old baseball cap, a pair of tights, and some fur.

It turned out to be a big hit, and now "Pand…