The Listener West Virginia Magic Circle Mime 4 - 8 April 2016
"The conductor has prepared a program of music from the various artistic disciplines but finds his efforts complicated by the unexpected participation of two audience members. Musical challenges between bugle and trumpet and tap dancing to ballet music are just part of the action as these two characters and the audience learn about the orchestra, it's music, and the art of listening." I'll be sharing the stage with Doug and Maggie on this tour!
Ziggy JesusChrist UkuleleStar Seattle Undisclosed Location 25 March 2016
Once a year on Good Friday I perform the entire score of Jesus Christ Superstar on Ukulele. This year it will be laced with Bowie tunes. Guest musicians include Kathie Whitehall, The Mongrel Jews, and Chandan Mercer! Guest vocalist: Andrew Murray as Mary! Apostle participation (that's you) and sing-alongs! Hymnal books supplied.
Young Playwrights Festival Seattle A Contemporary Theater 10 - 12 March 2016
Time again to showcase the amazing talents of the ACT Young Playwrights Program. I believe this to be the best theater arts in education in the state. Call me and I'll preach it to you in detail. I'm directing Jared Youman's hysterical horror genre satire The Black Guy Always Dies First. Andrew Lee Creech, Erin Bednarz, Val Brunetto, Nick Edwards, Alex Garnett, and Keith Dhalgren star. Four of my playwriting students have works in the festival as well. Congratulations Diego Ortiz and Claire Boynton from Ballard High School, Ruby Higashi from NOVA, and Leela Berman from the ACT After School Program.
POST FACTUM 29MAR16 11AM So many great plays from so many talented and motivated students, more to mention: Annex Theatre workshopped My Skin is Covered with a Thin Layer of Peanut Butter by Medusa Sunderland from NOVA School, and The Same Ending by Rachel Warsaw from Ballard High School. Also, two plays from students at the After School program were selected by TOPPS School: Lily Bertucci's More than a Knight and Maddie Jones' Cupcakes. Such an amazing year! Lily, interviewed by the West Seattle Blog, had this to say: "The YPP program was a great experience for me. I learned about what goes into writing a play, what a play is as a form of writing, and how to express my character's feelings and personality through dialogue. I would recommend the YPP program to anyone, even if you have never done playwriting before. The program helped me step out of my comfort zone."
An Oak Tree Seattle Center Theatre at the Armory 26 February - 5 March 2016
THEATER PRODUCER TURNS ACTOR INTO CHARACTER! A person steps onto a stage without ever having seen the play or read the script. MAN TURNS TREE INTO PERSON! A grief-stricken father is hypnotized by a nightclub performer and transforms the world around him. Tim Crouch's An Oak Tree is an absurdly comic play for 2 actors about the power of grief and the nature of imagination. The role of the hypnotist is played by David Gassner, producing director of Radial Theater Project. The role of the father is played by a different guest actor at each performance. I direct.
The Dead Man on the Drugstore Floor (And How He Got There) Seattle Rendezvous 4 - 7 February 2016
Seattle's Burlesque Scene began in the Pioneer Square Box House Theaters. "The Dead Man On The Drugstore Floor (and how he got there)" by Scot Augustson is a courtroom cabaret telling the story of John "the Boss" Considine and Bill Meredith, the ex-police chief -- the one that Considine shot dead. I'm dusting off Cecil B. DeUkulele of VAUD RATS fame for the occasion! He'll rove in the bar before the show and play songs, as well as perform some Vaudeville bits in the show.
MimeShop Central Washington University Seattle Mime Theatre 1 - 2 February 2016
POST FACTUM 15JAN15 12:00PMThe class is evolving to the next level. Instead of theater and film appreciation, it's become a workshop to develop short work of sorts. Well done CWU! Improv: First night was all about chocolate. Trump and his mistress ended up in a chocolate factory in a vat of candy-stuff, creating the origin of the KitKat bar. Second night was really fun. The highlight was a candy-dance party in the belly of a whale. There were rotten eggs that turned my Italian accent into Scottish. Lots of lewd material, only most of which was initiated by me. At one point before the dance party I flirted with a pretty girl guest performer from the audience movement chorus, but then moved on to the even prettier geeky guy next to her. He was game and licked my face. Awesome.
Missing research from a conservative think tank leaves a trail of death. A secret agent and a university professor caught in its wake. The overthrow of the American government at stake.
This is my new full-length solo play!
First public read on Jan. 30.
Snowglobed Seattle West of Lenin 4 - 19 December 2015
This is SnowGlobed's 5th year. Each year a group of writers & artists are invited to create a piece that is 'holiday inspired,' with the endeavor to get artists from different communities in order to bring together a unique range of work & patrons for the production. Over its lifetime, SnowGlobed has brought together over 75+ artists from across Seattle. This year there's quite a span centuries & styles: visiting a Christmas tree forest, a holiday infused divorce court, a depraved orphanage, a puppet show blood bath, and a very "very" White Kwanzaa. Five Brand New Holiday Inspired Plays by Benjamin Benne, Nicky Davis, Kelleen Conway Blanchard, K. Brian Neel, & Pilar O'Connell. Directed by Emily Penick, costume Design by Chelsea Cook, sound Design by Erin Bednarz.
I'm spending the Fall teaching and writing my next solo show, The God File. No performing or directing for a bit. To keep things rolling in these here interwebs here are some previously unposted pictures from 14/48 Old School last January. The piece I wrote the second night called Hi Honey, I'm home was a joy to see raised. You can read the play and other plays in the Plays section. Enjoy. On another note, this Fall has been a perfect storm of crumbled opportunities for me theatrically speaking. I'm not complaining, it's a great opportunity to write, see other's work, become a Theater Artist again instead of just a hired hand based on serendipity, not that there's anything wrong with that, and did I mention I'm a teacher? Interesting how this freelance existence bats you around like a kitten's play toy sometimes. Had three projects in the pipeline and each one went dry for unique reasons. One show: they simply decided not to cast me after all. Then after I bought tickets for a Disneyland family getaway in December, they came back with another offer which conflicted with the Disneyland family getaway. Bah. Next show I turned down because it seemed like too much time, too little money. Later I found out that there was a larger run as part of the deal, hence more money. That fact had never been made clear to me. The third? What was the third? Oh right, it was teaching. For four years I've been doing the Young Playwrights Program through ACT at Lakeside school. The best theater education program I've ever seen! This year ACT didn't have me back to Lakeside even though they asked for me. My connection to Lakeside has grown over the years; my work there has expanded and become more integrated with the theater curriculum. I've also mentored three students that would have be part of my class this year. The reason ACT told me I wasn't going back was scheduling -- another teaching artist could only make Lakeside times. ACT also said that it was not YPP policy to reserve schools for teachers, even though that seems to be the case with other teachers at other schools, and seems to be the case with me at another school which was reserved for me because it's salubrious to the program. We had a long discussion trying to understand each other's side of the story, and gosh knows the educator Lakeside got is amazing. Still, I remain a little sore on the subject. Things did turn out well for me though. ACT generously offered me the after school program, a dreamy small self-selected class. Also, NOVA is turning out to be fantastic. We were all surprised when over 25 students signed up. That's up from 6 last year! And then, at the last minute, they asked me to teach at Ballard, a class of, gulp, 38! Too many? Yes. However, they are fantastic. All well behaved, with a large percentage who actually want to be there doing playwriting. Who'd a thought? So, I'm a teacher now. For the next couple months anyway. Gives me time to finish up God File and go on a Disneyland family getaway. Did I mention that already? Well, it's true. The lesson here: I choose Disneyland over theater. Cool by me.
MimeShop Central Washington University Seattle Mime Theatre 5, 6 Oct. 2015
POST FACTUM 15JAN15 12:00PM Not shining my best this time around. The second night felt better. The students are always agog and amazed by the show none the less. It is amazing material with a long track record. The improvs consisted of a tomato a three-headed accented cactus and a dumb farmer or something.
Edgar Allan Seattle Beehive House Theater 25 September 2015
The Coldharts, creators of last year's The Legend of White Woman Creek bring their gothic musical-comedy Edgar Allan for a one-night only performance. Seattle will be the sixth stop on the 'Remarkable Tour' a 5-festival, 7-city, international tour with performances in Ithaca, Cincinnati, Minneapolis, Edmonton, Vancouver, Seattle, and Bellingham. Edgar Allan is a two-person musical created and performed by Katie Hartman (The Legend of White Woman Creek) and Nick Ryan (co-creator of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea at Minnesota Children's Theatre Company.) It follows eleven year old Edgar Allan in his first year at Manor House School, as he seeks to gain academic ascendancy over the student body. All goes to plan until another boy named Edgar Allan arrives in class... which complicates his schemes of dominance. Edgar Allan is a dark, comedic riff on the the obsessions, the mania, and the insanity that haunted the life and work of America's first professional writer.
POST FACTUM 10SEP15 1PM Theater audiences are often an insular crowd. The people who love theater, love theater. Normal-joe real people tend to not see theater. Or something like that. Bumbershoot can be a wild test for us because the audiences are the normal people, the non-theater goers. They're dabbling, or stretching their art-purview a bit. Or simply getting out of the rain, taking a load off the tired festival-going legs. (We wish for rain so that people will be driven indoors; which happened this year to another show. It was about half-full until a torrential thunderstorm drove them indoors. But that show passed the test. Standing ovation! Because that's the thing: these people don't have to stay. They can get up at any time and leave. That's the festival way. They have other concerts to see or the rain stops or whatever. So, did my shows past the test? All four performances had large crowds. The last Lovecraft show filled to the gills, adding two rows on the floor in front, and it wasn't even raining! And they stayed. Oh, there were a few stragglers heading out at half-hour, probably to hit another show. Mostly they stayed and loved it. For me, the director, it's a great chance to get a litmus of normal-public reaction. Sure enough, they laughed at different spots, but most importantly, stayed attentive. What a rush. I got to see some great music and other shows as well.
Danger Diva Shooting in Seattle Film August Filming
I have a juicy small role in this new science fiction musical written and directed by Robert McGinley. Looking forward to it!
Death of Brian v.1 & v.2 Seattle West of Lenin 26 - 28 June 2015
Written and performed by Ricky Coates and directed by me, DoB is radio drama meets physical theater. This weekend run precedes a Canadian Fringe tour. Friday night is Episode 1: A Zombie Odyssey. Saturday and Sunday are Episode 2: Ides of Undead March, a new stand-alone chapter! The zombie uprising meets Julius Caesar. Brian S. is now the Prophet of the Phoenix, spreading the Word of the Host. Unfortunately, he's inspiring more than a return to nature and harmony. "genius in a slick and muscled body." - Edmonton Journal. "Coates prowls the stage like a cross between a Balanchine dancer and a feral animal." - L'etoile Magazine. "Gut-munching master class in physical commitment." - Orlando Weekly.
The Coffee Table, Season 2 Internet Web Series May 3 2015
If you haven't seen Season 1, what are you waiting for? Once you do, then you can ask yourself how it is I'm in Season 2. Then you can watch Season 2 and find out what's going on.
14/48 Mixtape Seattle 12th Avenue Arts 30 May 2015
The powers that be (Seattle theater artists en mass) have scoured the archives of 14/48 The World's Quickest Theatre Festival and selected a handful of favorite short plays to run at the sparkling new 12th Avenue Arts Center. I'm excited and honored my piece Face Program was one of the selected. The night is helmed (directed) by the dreamy Aimee Bruneau. Other plays this night by Kate Jaeger, Jennifer Jasper, Keri Healey, Erin Stewart, Holly Arsenault, and Rachel Atkins.
The Orchestra Rocks Seattle Seattle Symphony 9 - 14 May 2015
Professor Odoacre T. Thunderpupple is back by popular demand! This highly interactive school concert gets 3rd through 5th grade music classes performing with the Seattle Symphony. Last year they hired me to write and perform a theatrical arc to tie it all together and the Professor was born. This year the concert is less arc, more interactive, still an absolute blast. One of the most ingenuitive school concerts I've ever seen!
POST FACTUM 21MAY15 5PM To be honest, I was quite nervous going into performance week. The writing process for me was reverse of normal, chunking out transitions moment to moment instead of flowing out the whole show. (Lesson learned: write the big picture dream and then edit.) In the end, after all was said and done, we all seemed happy with the script. Not ecstatic, but happy. That's the state we rested in. It's not like a theater production where you have a reading or workshop to get feedback. The opening of this show would be a massive jump off a cliff. To make matters worse, the conductor rehearsal was cancelled last minute, so the timing and some of the physical bits would have to be thrown away. The next day the orchestra rehearsal had remarkably smooth moments but also moments that went horrifically awry. And then we opened. It happened all so fast, honestly, I can't even remember how that show went -- the public show, the show played to real, paid customers. I know my warm up was awesome. That seemed to be what folks talked about. I think they laughed at the instrument gags. That's the extent of what i recall. The school concerts were the real test. Day one, first show was clunky, didn't have its groove, but by the second show, we found our stride. It worked! Really really well, actually! Perhaps even better than last year. The professor was looser, poppier, goofier. Without the science exploration plot of the previous year, he could move more freely and wax back and forth with the conductor and audience. The schtick was less hysterically funny, but the show needed to crank, to run forward, which it did. And the complex participatory bits worked. Bam. Done. Whew. I feel like fifty percent of the show is "written" in those first shows on the fly. It's affirming, really. They really do have the right person doing this stuff -- in all modesty -- me! Highlights: the increasingly fun and complex interaction with the second violin chair. She was fun to push the guitar on. Oh, the moment when I made the entire string section laugh, mentioning their well developed neck muscles. Hearing how Mike, the stagehand, was a superstar with the kids. "I was out on the street and all these kids are yelling 'Hey, it's Mike!'" The fourth show, not knowing where we were at, what the heck was going on -- multiple shows back to back is a surreal experience. The top two memoris of them all: listening to two thousand students sing and play O Fortuna and In C, and being on stage right in the middle of the orchestra playing Holst's Mars! Bloody amazing.
H. P. Lovecraft: Stand Up Comedian Seattle Annex Theatre 28 Apr - 13 May 2015
Instead of expressing his terrifying vision of malevolent, eldritch gods via horror stories in the early twentieth century, H.P. ("Howie" to his friends) Lovecraft expresses his terrifying vision in the present day via stand-up comedy. But an ancient evil stirs beneath the sea -- can Howie pull off one last sold-out gig before the human race is destroyed?
POST FACTUM 20MAY15 1PM Scotto's writing gets better every year. Even though the scope was smaller than his past few main stage shows, his writing is smoother and smart as hell. There wasn't a single misplaced or unnecessary moment; everything moved tightly, and hysterically, to fruition. But that's waxing. There are a couple concepts and conventions that are really unique to HPLC:SUC. First is the easy way it crosses the geek barrier. Hard core Lovecraftians of course have a field day with the accurate lore and complex in-jokes. What's truly amazing is there is nothing lost on the neophyte. Well, some depth lost, perhaps, but the humor and plot and world is as rich to the layperson. For real! The main element that achieves this connection is the character of Sonya. She is the everyperson, unaware and inconceiving of how anyone could dig this meaningless horror stuff -- the perfect vehicle for the uninitiated to connect with. By the time she's brainwashed by the necronomicon, so are the innocents in the audience. But the real amazing thing for me to watch night after night was the intricate reverse suspension of disbelief. It's set up in scene one that the comedy we are about to hear is not funny. Then the comedy set follows and is bloody hysterical. The set up is sweet, because it gives the audience permission not to laugh, but then we do. The clincher happens next: scene 3 begins with Sonya telling Howie that no one laughed at the routine. There's this weird ripple of perplexity that courses through the audience at this point -- "we just laughed and she's telling us we didn't." A reverse suspension of disbelief. The disbelief isn't that what wasn't funny we accepted as being funny, instead we are told not to laugh, then we do, then we're told we didn't laugh. Brilliant. I mean, the best part of the show is still the blood at the end. That's smart too. Video of the whole show is on YouTube.
Saturday Morning Cartoons Seattle Pocket Theatre 18 Apr - 25 May 2015
Short plays inspired by 'Toons, written by playwrights and their offspring. Rowan and I have a piece called Population 51. Other plays by the Pruzans, the Sterne/Dices, the Jorgensens, the Rawleys, and the Notis/Lindles. Hysterical Saturday morning fare! Sells out way in advance.
Young Playwrights Festival Seattle ACT Theatre 5 - 7 Mar 2015
Directing a somewhat profound piece about two gravediggers who uncover the time capsule of a couple from 1973 called Buried, by John Wojciehowski from Lakeside School. John was also my student this last year. I think ACT saw how up my alley this play is. Cast are Erick Ray Anderson and John Pyburn.
The Death of Brian: A Zombie Odyssey The Death of Brian: Ides of Undead March Seattle Radial Theater 19 - 28 Feb 2015
Part one has toured all over the continent to critical praise. The throngs of living and unliving-living require part two. See them both back to back. I've directed these solo pieces by and starring Ricky Coates. They are sort of like one man interacting with horror radio soundscape. "Ides" is the Empire Strikes Back to the Star Wars that was Odyssey! Yes, it's bloody epically AWESOME!
POST FACTUM 080315 11AM Friday night's theme was Rotten to the Core. I drew the 4-spot with three men, two women. I had two ideas I liked equally. I started writing The Autopsy, about the dissection of a serial killer, where the elements of his personality rise up out of the cadaver. Finished around 1:00, so I figured I'd start the other piece and if in an hour it wasn't flowing, I'd rest with the finished work. Next I looked up it was 5 am and The Alpha and the Omega was done. I joked that I was pulling a Brendan Healy since he often shows up with two plays. As he does, I let the director, Rhonda J. Soikowski, decide. She chose the latter. Kerry and the cast decided to stage the 50's serial sci-fi in a static, stoic, slo-mo style. I'd envisioned it more loose and casual, with free movement about the stage. The next night the theme was The Moment of Truth. I wrote one play, but keeping with quantity over quality, gave it three different endings. Hi Honey I'm Home was much more in the style of 14/48, simple concept, lots of room for the cast to play. Still in the 50s style, but this time in the Dick Van Dyke mode, the director, Kerry Christianson, was thrilled with the piece, and the cast went to town. Very satisfying. Both nights had phenomenal casts. I hope they had great days.
Kook Seattle Radial Theater 30 Jan - 7 Feb 2015
My 7th solo show is a stream of consciousness romp comprised of entwined looping scenes:
KOOK: The Possible Lives of Jarvis Meatshed. A new loopy comedy from the creator of Vaud Rats.
Jarvis is a kook. An average bald guy striving to live the good life. Problem is, he doesn't really know what that means. The more he reflects on his past and imagines the possibilities of the future, the more he finds his world looping in on itself in bumbling and tragic ways. His own imagination becomes his own worst enemy.
Made up of scenes that swirl around and wrap into each other, Kook is madcap comedy meets conceptual theatre -- Alice in Wonderland meets Franz Kafka. A stream of consciousness domination of a most diabolic psyche!
MID FACTUM 31JAN15 1PM Last night something happened that has never happened to me in 25 years doing theater: I cancelled a show. Opening night, to boot. To say it was due to illness doesn't give proper poetic justice. I basically had a mini stroke last night, at least that's what the doctor says. That sounds horrible and I confess is an exaggeration. I had a migraine. I need to exaggerate you see because most people have two reactions when you say migraine. If they have never had one, they look at you like you're making a big deal out of nothing -- clearly there's nothing wrong with you, you have a bad headache. What a wuss. The second reaction you get is, "Oh, I get those all the time. A bad headache." Uh, no. Now, there is a tiny percentage who have experienced the horror. There are many variations on the theme. For me, what happened last night was this: I lost the ability to speak or understand language for two hours. It was gibberish. But that's just the third stage. First stage is loosing parts of my vision, as if big circles of the world are absent. Next, a bright jagged lightening bolt strikes across my field of vision and hovers there, vibrating for about half an hour. Then I loose the ability to speak or read or comprehend. At this point if I verbalize it sounds like speaking in tongues. When I look at english words, like on signs -- "Play in Progress" -- I can't for the life of me make out the meaning. It's like looking at kanji. Then comes the headache, which is... painful. But the language thing is the surreal, frightening kicker. There's no work around with that. No performing a show with that. I've only had about five of these, once every year or two. Mathematically speaking that's about a one in 700 chance that it would strike the night of opening of my new solo show! (I have meds, I took them, they helped with the pain afterword.) Thanks to all the caring friends who rose to support me. Your concern and sympathy was inspiring and humbling. I truly belong to a marvelous community here in Seattle. Footnote: there's this little beauty at the end of the torture. For days after everything is vivid and bright, all my senses are so alive and super. Tastes and smells and colors like never before! There's residual pain too, but it's almost worth it for this ultra-alive. That's what it will be like for you when you see Kook next weekend!
MimeShop Central Washington University Seattle Mime Theatre 12, 13 Jan 2015
POST FACTUM 15JAN15 12:00PMTried my fingers at the typewriter gag, an homage to Jerry Lewis. Went pretty well, but it needs context. In the improvs I was a Kim Kardashian Moose and a Scottish Stripper in Compton.