Sunday, August 1, 2010

Show #42 "Kindred Spirits" at ReAct Theatre

I can't believe that it's been a while since I have enjoyed a show with Seattle's ReAct Theatre. This is a wonderful theatre company whose expressed mission is to employ non-traditional and multi-ethnic casting in their shows. Their goal is to give artists opportunities to perform in projects that they might not normally have because of ethnicity, gender or experience. Perfect!

"Kindred Spirits" is especially important because it also gave a local, Asian-American female playwright, Maggie Lee, a venue for her work. What could be better than that?

Ethnic talent flourishes here in the Seattle/Tacoma region. But, since moving down to Pierce County three years ago, my attempts to become a part of the Tacoma theatre community have been a tough haul.

I am delighted that I am starting to see some "ethnic" presence here in Tacoma. After all, Tacoma is where I got to be a part of David Henry Hwang's version of "Flower Drum Song" a couple months ago.

I have also seen a few more ethnic actors break the color barrier and be cast non-traditionally in mainstream plays in Tacoma theatres. Bravo to those artists (who include my son Tim) and to those visionary directors who can see past the usual limiting stereotypes.

But, always leading the way is ReAct Theatre. This is the trailblazing company where I saw an all-Asian production of "Crimes of the Heart" well over a decade ago, complete with Southern accents and a rice cooker on their kitchen counter. It was where I saw the first (at least for me) multi-racial cast performing "The Mousetrap."

The list goes on and on, because long before I ever saw much evidence of ethnic actors on stage in other Seattle/Tacoma area theatres, ReAct was going out of their way to showcase the talents of actors of all ethnicities.

Their mission continues to this day. "Kindred Spirits" may not have an abundance of ethnic talent on stage, but there is plenty of it behind the scenes. And the most amazing thing about this production? Maggie Lee wrote an intriguing story about people. Not Asian people or Chinese, Korean, Japanese or any other nationality. Just people. The story is about all of us, regardless of our backgrounds. Therefore the actors could look like anyone, regardless of ethnicity.

Imagine that.

Photo courtesy of ReAct Theatre

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