Friday, March 29, 2013


     So you’re finding yourself in the Tri-Cities this weekend, (or like me, crossing mountains to get there) and may be wondering, what’s the AACTFest’s National One-Act Play Competition Region IX Festival in Richland WA got to offer you?  After all, life’s short and the DVR’s not gonna watch itself, right?
      Well, lemme give you five reasons.
(1)   You only want to see good plays?  Well, guess what?  Adjudicators from Oregon and Washington, in separate state competitions, chose four of these plays to send forward.  Speaking as someone who saw one of those festivals:  you missed some good stuff already.  Now you have the chance to see what evolution has wrought.
(2)  Economic incentive:  FIVE plays from THREE STATES over TWO DAYS for the low low price of $20.  At these prices, you can’t afford to miss ‘em.  The most plays we’ve had at a Region IX Festival EVER!  (Unless I’m wrong, which has happened before, but I’m out on this limb anyway, so I’m just gonna dangle with purpose.)
(3)  Bonus material:  on Saturday, before the Festival kicks off the final leg, there’s a Troupe performance from ACT/Richland at 11am.  Like, just so you could watch more stuff.
(4)  Adjudicators step it up for the Regional – only one show goes to national, and there’s some seriously scrutiny brought to bear.  And you get to watch that scrutiny.
(5)   Scenic amazement:  10x10 box; 10 minutes set-up; 60 minutes (or less) show; 10-minute take down – and the word is every single show does something INCREDIBLE with these limitations. 

And that’s if you just like shows and adjudicating.  Washington’s got a serious streak going on – can either Oregon or Idaho break through to Nationals?  Who picks up other awards at the dessert Saturday night?  And when are you gonna get the chance to see the National champion without a ticket to Carmel IN, hmm? 
     So click on the helpful links to the Richland Players all over this site for the show times (mainly Friday starting at 6pm and Saturday starting at 12:30pm), and make the effort this weekend.  Lotta sweet hard work ramped up for the big-time.
       And who wants to miss the big time when the artists from Beaverton, Lake City, Spokane, Tualatin, and Bremerton come to Richland to unfurl their magicks?
       Not me, that’s who.   

Friday, March 8, 2013


    So there was this state theater festival, really, no foolin’, Washington state, in Bremerton, a fabled land strewn with festive naval ship parts and (I kid you not) street-corner art of a fish fly-catching a fisherman.  And a puppet museum near my hotel.  It’s like the gods saw me coming, grabbed me by the ankles, dangled me upside down, and took all my discretionary cash.

    But mainly there was a theater festival that was so good, we mispronounce words to indicate how good it was – it was UH-mazing; it was fan-TAS-tic; it was HUH-larious; it was Rana-lana-drama-ding-dong-diddly-well done.  (Y’see Rana Tan ran the festival; that’s why that’s funny.  Oops – explaining my jokes, that’s not a good thing.  Forget I did that – move it along, nothing to see here folks . . .)

     So on WSCTA’s fb page and other places you can find the Plays Going to Regional (Bremerton Community Theater’s The Thread Men and Spokane Civic Theatre’s The Turn of the Screw) and the winners of the Adjudicator awards (do you expect facts in every parenthetical statement?  Disappointed much?) and the member-voted WSCTA Betty Wills Treasure Award (Bremerton Community Theater’s The Thread Men) and the Ralph Eaton New Horizon Award for First Time Entry to the Kaleidoscope Festival (which went to The Changing Scene Theatre Northwest, which previously went to the festival ten years ago . . . yes, there’s a future board meeting where I have some ‘xplainin’ to do . . .), so I won’t waste any time going into details about this, except to give you the FULL SKINNY (just noticed that’s an oxymoron) on the results of my favorite award:  the WSCTA Magic Moment Award.

      Pretend (it’s a theater association- you should be familiar with the concept of pretend) you didn’t go to the festival.  OK, maybe less crying.  Hey, don’t rend that shirt, you’re gonna need that – not the LAMP, it’s part of a set!  Not a theatrical set, I mean it matches the other lamps.  ALL RIGHT ALL RIGHT, stop pretending.  Yeesh, last time I use that “pretend” set-up.  So listen to me explain to you, who didn’t attend, what theater is. 

     We create memories.  We pour hours of time into creating for audiences moments that will become memories.  To the band of happy few who were at Bremerton last weekend, we share these memories, and as we reconnect over time, we vibrate with the special friction that is common experience.  For those who were not there, we have a record of amazing moments.

       The WSCTA members get to vote for the Magic Moment award, where each member chooses their favorite moment from the festival.  We handed an award to the one that got the most votes (that’s the one in bold below), but to give you the slightest inkling how SPEC-TAC-U-LAR (whoops, that’s how that’s actually pronounced) this festival was, here’s a list of EVERY MAGIC MOMENT in our vote box.

    Because I think our members captured the event better than I could (and you can find me trying in whimsical synopsizes on fB.)

    So without further ado, THE MAGIC MOMENTS of KALEIDOSCOPE ‘13, according to those who were there and voted, alphabetically-ish, with (shows in parantheses), unless the whole dang show’s a moment (happened twice!) and (no-duh) SPOILER ALERT:

Adolfo (The Drowsy Chaperone)

Death by Chopstick in Neck; “Misfortune” (Didn’t See That Coming)

Death of Miles (The Turn of the Screw)

Dropping the Cell Phone in the Flower Vase (God of Carnage)

Elevator Drop (The Thread Men)

Eric Spenser, actor (The Thread Men)

Exercise/Gym/Treadmill Segment (Seriously Menopausal)

God of Carnage

John Collins Breaking Down (The Thread Men)

Man in Chair’s Delight in Sharing Music (The Drowsy Chaperone)

Monkeys! (The Drowsy Chaperone)

Nurse Carrying the Baby Stage Left (The Long Christmas Dinner)

Opening the Elevator That Was Not Supposed to Work (The Thread Men)

Telegram Revealed When Sam Dies (The Long Christmas Dinner)

This Property is Condemned

Wrong Record Played/The Emperor’s Nightingale (The Drowsy Chaperone)

Shoulda been there.

    Unless you were.  Remember all that?  Yeah, me too.

Thursday, February 28, 2013


     So the main reason you can find Unky Sean at a table all during this Kaleidoscope Festival at the Bremerton Community Theater is so he can shake money out of your pocket and into the next festival. 

      Oh, yeah, I like getting to meet you all, and chatting and swapping info about the various theaters doings, but mainly, it’s money.  And not just the obvious showy raffle baskets filled with goodies and high-class knick-knackery.  (But we got those – so don’t forget to buy a ticket, cuz we totally got those.

     Y’see, we got a high-class scheme to get your money.  It’s all called “membership” and it comes in two forms - $20 individual member or $50 organizational.  To compete at Kaleidoscope, you need the organizational, but why do you need it as an individual?  So you can vote.

     Yeah, yeah, poll taxes are unconstitutional (wink!) but there’s voting and then there is voting.  And after you watch your heart-sweepingly favorite show, so clearly perfect the world should know of it’s powers, you’re gonna wanna vote it a big award.  And then you’ll hear those adjudicators, who will not sing the praises of that complete work of art, and what do you know – you’re in the lobby giving me $20 so you can say Blah Blah Theater Company is a Washington Treasure.

     That’s right – adjudicators may pick what moves on to regionals, but WSCTA members choose who is the Betty Wills Washington Treasure Award, given to the theater company at the festival that best personifies the qualities and organization of Washington State Community Theater.  And how did they prove that they deserve that award?  They put on a show that told us they deserved it and we voted for them.

     We meaning those who are members. 

     There’s also the Ralph Eaton New Horizon Award, for a first-time participant who exemplifies the entire point to being at a theater conference, sharing their work and doing it swell.  (The Jewel Box Theater of Poulsbo and The Changing Scene Theater Northwest were the two candidates for this at press time.)     

     And then there’s the Best Moment.  Now this one rocks, and you never know what it’s gonna be – one year it was a Snicker-chewing boy kissing a girl who was bawling her out (ACT Richland!).  At the last Kaleidoscope, it was the “I Love You” number from Spokane Civic Theater’s The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.  The first year I went to Kaleidoscope, it was two people in a shared spotlight on opposite sides of the same door (and I think that was a Bremerton area theater).  And that had a serious challenge from a working screen-door in Proof (Walla Walla Little Theater).  And when you’re there with your group, and you all find you like something, that may be just the right number of votes to make a Best Moment happen.

     Well, that and $20 each.  And we announce the winners at the Brunch, just like the adjudicators do, so they’re like, indisputably real awards.

     Sure, that’s completely corrupt.  I’m ashamed sometimes that to fund these Festivals, I have to reduce my ethics to the level where I have to convince nice people like you to do something you would enjoy doing, just to make other people feel good about themselves.  What kind of inhuman monster am I? 

     But while I sweat out my shame behind a table this weekend, y’all can have a good time, kick some money toward the WSCTA (which supports the adjudicators, the festival participants, and that keeps proving Washington State as one of the most active community theater communities in the world), and do what you are already doing:  supporting local theater that your neighbors put on to amaze you.

    See ya Bremerton – I’ll be the one in the clip-on tie.

Unky Sean

Friday, February 22, 2013

SCRIPT SWAP at KALEIDOSCOPE ’13 - an Unky Sean Ideer

There comes a time in the life of every great person where they just have to take stock of what they have, assess that stock, keep what they want, and get what they can for the rest.  And that time is now.

As dyed-in-the-previously-worn-by-other-actors wool as we theater folks can be, we ALL OF US amass buttloads of scripts, sometimes in multiple quantities.  And still, we want more. 
So why don’t you bring your extra copies of something and I bring my extra copies of something and, uh, swap ‘em? 

I know – it’s just crazy enough to work.  That’s I got baseball cards of athletes who weren’t fortunate enough to arrive at random with my bubble gum purchase, and gosh-darn-it, why can’t we do that with scripts?  Because this extra copy of The Sisters Rosenzweig I got is not gonna suddenly become a two-person production with puppets and shadow voices.  Right?  And I’m sure that three of those things you really really meant to send back to MTI are just burning a hole in your metaphorical pockets. 
So let’s get together, around the WSCTA table on Friday March 1st, from 2pm ‘til we get bored socializing and swapping, and see what kinda new libraries we can build. 

Some simple guidelines, since swapping is sorta below “rules”:
- Don’t bring more books than you can carry.  That’s how many you’re leaving with, remember?

- Single editions for single editions; anthologies for anthologies.  “An anthology equals five scripts” is the kind of math that starts haggling, and let’s not be those people, all right?
- No money – just swapping.  And no judgments either.  Sure, Tams-Witmark probably wanted that piano score to No No Nannette returned thrity years ago, but that fine has been paid, and as long as you’re not selling it . . . let’s just say what happens at Script Swap goes home with someone who can keep a secret.

- Nobody has to take your Friedrich Hebbel plays (although Maria Magdalena rocks! . . . jes’ sayin’ . . .), so if you go home with what you already had, that’s fine, dig?
- Bring stuff to share, not just get rid of.  If you were in a totally amazing play you have three copies of, share THAT, not the extra copy of Timon of Athens your aunt got you cuz “yer so dramatic.”  If we all bring enough cool stuff, we get cool stuff when we trade.

Now maybe you won’t be there on Friday afternoon.  Who knows, maybe it’s only me at the WSCTA table swapping stories to passing strangers about all the great scripts nobody brought.  Well, during the festival, while I’m at the WSCTA table, I’ll always have my box of scripts.  So check in and maybe some Friday night or Saturday-between-show-swapping will happen. 

Either way, Rana said we could, we’re doin’ it on Friday at 2 pm in the lobby of the Bremerton Community Theater around the WSCTA table.  It’ll be nice to see y’all, and your scripts, and hang for a bit.

Unky Sean Walbeck

Saturday, February 16, 2013


Hey cats and kittens, friends and neighbors, and all our localized kit-n-kaboodlin’ theater rat packs, it’s time to think real hard and get your keisters to the hip-happening folderol that is Kaleidoscope ’13 at the Bremerton Community Theater February 28 to March 2nd.  (And if you’re hungry and like award ceremonies, there’s a brunch on Sunday, March 3rd.)

Our hostess with the mostest (duties to perform to see this happen), Rana Tan is shepherding eight (count ‘em - EIGHT!) plays brought from EVERY CORNER OF THE STATE OF WASHINGTON.  Okay, maybe not Pend Oreille or Wahkiakum or Point Roberts – but it’s a pretty dang near comprehensive collection of Eastside and Westside offerings from some of your favorite community theaters.

What’s that – you don’t have a favorite?  Well, that’s why it’s a competition, so you can see all this hot stuff from everywhere and then choose your favorite and be ticked off at the adjudicators for not picking your favorite as the Best of Everything That’s Cool and Mighty.

What’s that – there’s knowledgeable adjudicators, who give short pithy evaluations on the fly and hand out awards and then send a couple of worthy productions onto the Regional IX Festival in Richland WA on March 29-30, so they might possibly move on to the *gasp* AACTFest ’13 National One-Act Theatre Festival in CARMEL, INDIANA?!  Yes, yes there are adjudicators, who speak in run-on sentences JUST LIKE THAT LAST ONE!

But surely, there’s more to this event than just fantastic theater and ALL-CAPS HYPERBOLE?  Well, yeah.  There’s voting, there’s raffle baskets (don’t scoff – many children today are the direct result of somebody winning a raffle basket filled with chocolate and wine #ka-wink#), and we’re trying to pull off the First EVER Kaleidoscope Script Swap.  (Details later – same Bat-Internet, same bat-URL . . .)
So get your twitchy fingers a-clicking those keys so you’re at the Bremerton CommunityTheater Kaleidoscope website (Google it, Bing it, it’s out there I’m telling ya) where you can find out the plays, the companies, the low-low prices for tickets, the proper hotels (first choice hotel FULL - second choice hotel FILLING – hupshaw, hupshaw, reserve them suites now!), and the order of the shows.  Shows on Thursday evening (the 28th), Friday evening (the 1st – no 29th this year!), Saturday afternoon and Saturday evening (coincidentally, both the 2nd).  And on Sunday WE BRUNCH!  And award.

And did you know if you’re a WSCTA member, you get to vote on WSCTA awards?  And there’s gonna be a table at the event covered in raffle baskets and ballots with a smiling happy me to explain what a cool thing the WSCTA is?  No foolin’!  I’m like totally there for you!

Well, and cuz I wanna see all these shows. 

My hope Ted (our Prez) slips in some links to give you direct access (note from Ted:  yes, I added the BCT link), but I just wanna say I ordered my tickets on the phone from 360-373-5152, because, dang-it (honest, Microsoft Word thinks dang-it is misspelled without the hyphen), community theater is about volunteers taking your ticket orders.  And, oh, the um, theater the community puts together to AMAZE THEIR NEIGHBORS!

Ready to be amazed?  Get clickin’. 

More details later, but not much later because this event is nippin’ at our heels.

“Unky” Sean Walbeck

 . . . geez, where’s that guy been hiding? . . .