As the lights dimmed in preparation for the opening scene of “Night Watch”, the production with which Driftwood Players opens its 56th year, I am sitting stage left as advised by Mary Kay Voss, vice president of the venerate company.
The theatre is not quite filled as half of the attendees acknowledge that they are season ticket holders with the balance a mix of first-time Driftwood audience members and returning enthusiasts in response to Ms. Voss’ query as to the composition of the audience.
Quite possibly the first-time, and come-occasionally, attendees were attracted to “Night Watch” by the Madison Avenue quality red and black posters that sprung up all over Edmonds announcing that Lucille Fletcher’s taut 1972 play was among those being produced at the Wade James Theatre this season. I’m a pushover for rouge et noir – with emphasis on the noir, so I was intrigued by the possibilities myself and invited one of my best friends to join me for a night-at-the theatre.
“Murderous” and “cold-blooded” come to mind when reflecting on the performances of the Edmonds’ cast. But who is murderous and who is cold-blooded will fool you if you are not wont to read “the last lines” – whether it’s a novel, or a play.
The emotions of Elaine Wheeler, a lovely heiress, dart between neurosis, hysteria, confusion – and oh so much more as her long-suffering husband, and her trusted BFF reassure her, hold her hand, and place cold compresses to her forehead while dead people appear – and disappear – backlit in the window of the tenement across from the Wheeler’s upper crust Manhattan apartment.
Mrs. Wheeler’s distress verges on comically neurotic and the Wade James audience responds to Janice Fix’s portrayal of Elaine Wheeler with soft titters. But then . . . ever so imperceptibly . . . the tables turn. There’s a “bad guy,” but who is it? Could it be the BFF gal pal, played by Anne Arnold – or the ever-so-patient Mr. Wheeler, portrayed by Chad Oswald? The production’s director, Joanna Goff, a gifted veteran, plays it straight in the lobby as she greets well-wishers. She’s not telling!
As the actors took their final bows the audience roared their approval of Scott O’Neill (the flamboyant Curtis Appleby) for whom a standing ovation would not have been over the top.
Scenic design by Joanne Branch and costume design by Melina Boivin were impeccable. Take roses to toss onto the stage for as the lights dim on Goff’s directing achievement.
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This week I had an opportunity to chat with Carissa Meisner-Smit, president of The Driftwood Players, as she told of the company’s reflections on the achievement of their 56th Anniversary:
“It all began in 1957 over a cup of coffee in a local Edmonds living room, when a group of theater-lovers decided to create a theater company. Since that time, Edmonds Driftwood Players has grown to offer over a dozen ways to enjoy the magic of live theater year-round.
Although we are proud of the success of our programs, recent years have seen some challenges. Beginning in 2009, the downturn of the economy resulted in our patrons’ natural reaction to tighten their belts and cut discretionary spending. Also the digital age, with its instant access to cheap, instant entertainment is providing steep competition for audience time and attention.
In the beginning we operated as a family of volunteers in a loosely organized way. But the construction of the Wade James Theatre in 1967, and the current responsibility of not only maintaining the now-aging building but also the expensive technical theatrical equipment has necessitated formalizing our Administration and running our theater more as a business. That has been a hard transition for some of our more artistic folks!
Before there were so many financial obligations, our future was next season. But in recent years, as DWP has worked to engage donors and build community partnerships, we are looking ahead strategically 5-10 years down the road. We want to be here being a part of the Edmonds community for another 56 years!
As President of the Board I take our mission very much to heart: We foster excellence in live theater for the enrichment of our community and the benefit of future generations. “The future generations” is very much a focus- without the participation and enthusiasm of young people, theater as an art form is in danger of atrophying. Our long-standing scholarship program, our successful children’s summer programs, and our new “Take a Kid to the Theater” program are all specific ways we encourage the involvement of young people.
Also, many of our best volunteers have been with us since their teen years, helping in every aspect of the theater.”
Ticket information for “Night Watch” is available at the website/
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Snohomish County Senior Center (SCSC)
220 Railroad Ave.
Thursday, Sept. 25 ~ 5 p.m.
Astounding Magic Tricks!!
Come One Come All!
Magician and Two-Time Guinness World Record holder Louie Foxx is all set to entertain Edmonds with a show full of magic and comedy as seen on TV’s “America’s Got Talent!”
Dinner and a show? Perfect, because SCSC is also serving a spaghetti dinner with “Michelle’s Special Homemade Meatball Sauce”.
The Louis Foxx website is filled with possibility – see what I mean by going to https://louiefoxx.com
Reserve a seat by calling the SCSC administrative office at 425-774-5555. For more information on the setting and this evening’s event, refer to the information at the website.
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Ken Grant, Pianist
Saturday, Sept. 27 ~ 7-8:30 p.m.
Edmonds United Methodist Church (EUMC)
828 Caspers St.
All proceeds benefit the children’s natural playground at EUMC.
Light concessions available during intermission.
Tickets: $20 for adults/$10 for children 5 and up.
Child care option: Free child care for children under 5 (space limited-must be reserved in advance by calling 425-774-4458.)
Premium tickets: $100 includes prime seating, autographed CD, special mention, and artists’ reception following concert.
Tickets available through the church office, or by calling the Debbie Leraas Children’s Center office, both at 425-778-2119 www.edmondsumc.org
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Rick Steves’ Holy Land
Trinity Lutheran Church
6215 196th, Lynnwood
Sunday, Sept. 28 ~ 7 p.m.
Travel to the Holy Land as Rick Steve’s our local travel guru presents a talk on the politics and policies of today’s Palestine and Israel. In his talk Steves’ gives context to the persistent challenges facing the region.
For more information on this presentation contact Rick Steves Europe, 425-771-8303.
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Edmonds Center for
The Arts (ECA) News
410 4th Ave. N.
Red Carpet Gala
Saturday, Sept. 27 ~ 5 p.m.
Last Call for an Extravagant Evening!
It’s a Gala . . . It’s a Live Auction . . . It’s not to be missed.
Detailed coverage of the Red Carpet Gala can be found under “Make A Date” in last week’s Artfully Edmonds column.
Tickets may be purchased by contacting Amy Stone, Development Manager, at [email protected] or 425-275-9492.
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ECA Family Series
Edmonds Community College
Edmonds Center for the Arts (ECA) and the Black Box Theatre at Edmonds Community College will co-present a 3-day residency by internationally-renowned puppeteer Hobey Ford Thursday through Saturday, October 9-11.
Mr. Ford’s stay in Edmonds will include three performances of his new play “Migration” at the Black Box Theatre; two shadow puppetry workshops for students at Maplewood Parent Collective and Mountlake Terrace Elementary; and a free professional development opportunity for local teachers, a workshop called “Telling Folktales with Shadow Puppets.”
“Migration” is the story of Beatriz, a young girl from Mexico who must find her home in the world as she immigrates with her father to the U.S. She leaves behind her beloved abuelo [grandfather], who gives her a book about animals that must migrate to survive. This book not only gives Beatriz comfort in her struggles, but inspires her to help the monarch butterflies whose migration will take them on the same route as her own — and whose winter forest refuge is in danger from woodcutters in her hometown of Angangueo, Mexico. Migration is recommended for children ages 5-11 and their families.
Hobey Ford will perform “Migration” at two Education Matinees for school groups and homeschool families on Thursday, Oct. 9.
On Saturday, Oct. 11 at 2 pm, “Migration” will serve as the opening performance for ECA’s new Family Series. The mission of the ECA Family Series is to engage children from a young age in diverse and exciting arts experiences.
Tickets to the Family Series performance of “Migration” are $10, and are available at www.ec4arts.org, in person at the ECA Box Office (410 4th Ave. N.), or by phone at 425-275-9595. Family Series subscriptions are $32.
For more information about Hobey Ford’s residency, including Education Matinee performances, student or teacher workshops, please contact Gillian Jones, Education & Outreach Manager, at [email protected] or 425-275-9483.
The Hobey Ford residency is made possible in part by the Western States Arts Federation (WESTAF) and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). The ECA Family Series performance of Migration is generously sponsored by Marla Miller & Al Huff.
ECA publicly thanks the Hazel Miller Foundation for their continued support of ECA’s Education & Outreach programs.
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Edmonds Arts Festival Foundation News
Now through Oct. 29
Author/Artist Robyn Chance
The Edmonds Arts Festival Foundation and the City of Edmonds Arts Commission announce their pleasure in presenting the artwork of author/artist Robyn Chance whose work will be presented on several Edmonds’ platforms through October. Robyn Chance has lived in the Northwest for most of her life. She attended the University of Washington, the University of Puget Sound and Bastyr University. She has been a teacher for the Arts for Kids School in Olympia, Washington, an Art Tutor, and an educator in public schools for 16 years.
“The Art of the Story”
For her first October engagement Chance will speak in the EAF Foundation Gallery at the Frances Anderson Cultural Center (700 Main St.) on Sunday, Oct. 5 from 12:45 to 1:10 p.m. in conjunction with Write On The Sound (WOTS).
This event is open to the public.
Of her work, Chance comments: “My paintings are another way of telling stories. They also speak to what I find interesting, inspiring, graceful or curious about the world and the people in it. But more than just an image or a moment captured in time, they are an invitation.”
EAF Foundation Gallery regular hours are Mon – Fri 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.; and Sat – 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Attributing the WOTS Conference, the gallery announces that it will also open for the artist’s presentation on Sunday, October 5th.
For information call 425-771-0230.
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Edmonds Arts Festival Foundation Museum
Nov. 3 thru Dec.12
“Seeking Guy Anderson!” is the call being put out this week by exhibit curator Marni Muir as the Edmonds Arts Festival Foundation continues its quest to locate art of Northwest School notables Mark Tobey, Morris Graves, Guy Anderson, Helmi Juvonen and Kenneth Callahan.
Pieces by these artists are being requested for a juried exhibition to show at the Edmonds Arts Festival Museum in November.
The Edmonds Arts Festival Foundation, Edmonds Bookshop, and The Edmonds Arts Commission are sponsoring a special showing of work by artists from The Northwest School. Currently, work by the artists is on display at Seattle Art Museum and Woodside | Braseth Gallery.
The Edmonds show is of importance because four of the Northwest School artists – Tobey, Graves, Anderson and Jovonen – lived and worked in Edmonds and Woodway.
Marni Muir explains her “special call” for the works of Guy Anderson to Artfully Edmonds, “I feel so fortunate to have heard from so many people, but I have one specific artist whose work I need — Guy Anderson. There is one specific piece that I am interested in adding to the exhibit, which is themed on Guy Anderson’s grandmother who lived in Edmonds. If anyone knows who has this piece, or has this piece in their own collection, or even has any information regarding this piece, I would thank you from the depths if you would contact me.”
So, Edmonds’ art community – we have our assignment cut out for us! We are seeking the art of Guy Anderson for loan to the Edmonds Arts Festival Foundation – in particular the piece that was inspired by Anderson’s grandmother, an Edmonds resident of yesteryear.
For more information on submissions please contact Marni Muir who will be curating the exhibit at [email protected] or mobile contact: 425-697-0232.
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Edmonds Scarecrow Festival
and Halloween Features for Edmonds
Remember how fun it was last year as scarecrows popped up literally overnight all over Edmonds?
Edmonds Historical Museum has already received entrants to this year’s Festival. Bette G. Bell waxes on about this year’s contest in My Edmonds News earlier this month.
Registration will open on Oct, 1 so visit the museum’s website for details.
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Cascade Symphony Orchestra News
Edmonds Center for The Arts
410 4th Ave. N., Edmonds, WA.
Rising Star Competition
Nov. 1, 2014 application deadline
The Cascade Symphony Orchestra’s 2014-15 Rising Star Competition, which identifies uniquely talented young musicians, invites submission of applications for performances with the orchestra at its 2015 Children’s Concert.
The competition is open to gifted young musicians who are exceptionally accomplished on one of the following instruments: viola, string bass flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon French horn, trumpet, trombone, euphonium/tuba, percussion, and/or harp.
Applicants must be 15 years old or younger on the day of the concert, which is to be held at ECA at 3 pm, Saturday, Feb. 21, 2015.
Each competitor must complete an application form and submit with it a CD of the competitor performing the piece specified for his/her instrument. Please refer to the Repertoire section of the Rising Star Competition announcement or visit this web link to find the list of assigned pieces for each instrument.
— By Emily Hill
Emily Hill, a long-time resident of Edmonds, is the author of two novels and one short story collection. She is retired from a career in public information and news media relations. If you would like your event listed, or venue featured, in Artfully Edmonds, Emily invites you to contact her at [email protected]