Meet a child. One who prefers art over standard curriculums and following directions. One who dreams of singing Stevie Wonder, and marrying Michael Jackson by age 18. One who longs to perform on big stages and bigger screens. One who wades into uncharted waters to find their voice and, along with it, a whole new set of standards and expectations.
2021-2022: When We Wake
Curating the Season
This is the first season ever programmed by a cohort of ArtsWest Associate Artists, in collaboration with ArtsWest leadership. For 2021-2022, these artists included Jessamyn Bateman-Iino, Ana María Campoy, Lamar Legend, Corinne Park-Buffelen, and Porscha Shaw. Through an eight month process of vigorous exploration, imagining, play-reading, and discussion, this collective has curated one of the freshest, most varied, innovative and exciting seasons ArtsWest has programmed to date.
Introducing the Season
After a year of pandemics and reckonings, we are beginning to emerge from a long dark night of the soul. What will await us when we wake? As we step tentatively back into our lives, we know that healing is necessary. A return to each other is necessary. But how will we do it? How will we know what to create together when we finally return to the gathering place?
As we sleep, we dream. In our individual dreams, boundaries disappear, and new, limitless worlds are explored. Obstacles become monsters to slay and we become the gods and heroes of our stories. In our collective dream, these stories become our myths and legends.
WHEN WE WAKE is a season rife with gods, monsters, myths and legends – both the ones that create us and the ones we will create together. As we emerge from the dream, which myths will we choose to bring with us? Which will we choose to leave behind? What new legends can we create together?
When day comes we step out of the shade,
aflame and unafraid,
the new dawn blooms as we free it.
For there is always light,
if only we’re brave enough to see it.
If only we’re brave enough to be it.
– Amanda Gorman
Mathew Wright, Artistic Director
Miku wants to be a god. Ephraim wants to be an Olympian. Grandma Seiko wants to remember. And minor god Shara just wants people to include him in the conversation, you know? As they journey from the schoolyard to the river to the underworld and back again, Miku and company will learn what it actually takes to become a god. As funny as it is moving, miku, and the gods. is an epic adventure that braids together friendship, death, memory, time, rhythm – and power beyond what one could ever desire. Winner, 2019 KCACTF Darrell Ayers Award Finalist, 2019 O’Neill National Playwrights Conference Honorable Mention, 2019 Kilroys List *content note: this play deals with grief and loss and contain several instances of explicit language.
Working mom Alma has singlehandedly raised her daughter, Angel, on tough love, home-cooked comida and lots of prayers. But on the eve of the all-important SAT, Alma discovers her daughter isn’t at home studying. A schooling and la chancla await Angel at home—but so does a creeping realization that more’s at stake than just a test score. A sacrifice from Alma’s past weighs heavy on their present; now, Alma fears that her worst nightmare may soon be their reality. Will the American Dream cost them a life together? Winner, 2019 National Latinx Playwriting Award Winner, 2019 Blue Ink Playwriting Award
Triplet sisters are left in the forest by their woodcutter father. From this fairytale beginning, three resolutions are made – one sister will walk one way, one the other, and the third will stay right where she is. Twenty years later, having circumnavigated the globe, and fought Vikings, and crossed oceans, and tamed wilds, and achieved greatness, the three meet again, as women. What they learn on their separate journeys will change everything, and at the same time nothing, in this moving and irresistibly charming modern-day fairytale. Winner, 2010 Rodney Seaborn Playwrights Award Finalist, 2020 Critics Award for Theatre in Scotland Finalist, 2015 CHASS Australia Prize for Distinctive Work
When his husband dies, Remy Washington, a Black man, finds himself both the owner of a drive-in movie theater and a caregiver to his late husband’s straight, white teenage son, Pup. United by their love of classic American monster movies, the two have developed a warm and caring familial chemistry – but their relationship fractures when Remy discovers Pup and his friends have been bullying a gay teen at his school. Monsters of the American Cinema is a haunting and humorous tale about fathers and sons, ghosts and monsters. Winner, 2019 San Diego International Fringe Festival Award – Artists’ Pick Winner, 2019 San Diego International Fringe Festival Award – Cultural Exchange
When you’re the youngest sibling in a family of secret warriors who for generations have protected Seattle from monsters and demons, living up to your Lola’s expectations is, in a word, daunting. Adarna’s mistakes were cute at first, but when they begin to cost her family more than she ever imagined, she must decide what she would sacrifice to save them. Loosely adapted from the 16th century Filipino epic poem Ibong Adarna, playwright-composer-lyricist Justin Huertas returns to his Lizard Boy roots with a sweet and intimate actor-musician musical adventure. Justin Huertas, Winner, 2015 Gregory Award – Best New Play (Lizard Boy) Nominee, 2019 Gregory Award – Best New Musical (The Last World Octopus Wrestling Champion.) VIDEO: Mathew Wright Explains WE’VE BATTLED MONSTERS BEFORE