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Review: THE SIGN IN SIDNEY BRUSTEIN'S WINDOW at Intiman Theatre

Review: THE SIGN IN SIDNEY BRUSTEIN'S WINDOW at Intiman Theatre

The production runs now through February 25th

THE SIGN IN SIDNEY BRUSTEIN'S WINDOW is a complicated story about complex people dealing with complex issues that reveals some simple truths. Ideals and reality clash with reverberating effects. The play forces you to consider your beliefs, commitments, the value of honesty, and what we bring and take from relationships. You will be challenged, provoked, prodded, and rewarded.

THE SIGN IN SIDNEY BRUSTEIN'S WINDOW follows the story of a young Bohemian couple in the East Village and the various friends and family members that pass through their apartment. Sidney is an intellectual whose attempts to find his place in society are often at odds with his ideals. His wife, Iris, is a young, struggling artist who isn't sure of her own voice or how to use it. Sidney has recently bought a small newspaper and is conflicted about endorsing his controversial friend who is running for office against the machine. Ultimately, Sidney decides to support his friend and hangs a large banner from his window. Iris is in therapy and learning to say the things she only used to think, but the result is that the jabs and blows between husband and wife have become brutal and scarring. Iris's sister has become involved with one of Sidney's friends, Alton. Iris's other sister disapproves of the relationship because Alton is Black. Sidney strains the relationship with their gay neighbor playwright when he asks him to write a part of Iris in his next play. No one is on sure footing as they all seek to find the meaning in their lives.

The cast of THE SIGN IN SIDNEY BRUSTEIN'S WINDOW is simply stellar. Max Rosenak as Sidney is as layered as an onion. Modern sensibilities cringe at the things he says to his wife. Yet Rosenak will not let you write off this character as a bad guy. He shows you all the shades of gray of someone who is imperfect but changing. Chip Sherman as Alton Scales gives us one of the most powerful moments of the show as they recounts their family history and the legacy of taking white man's leftovers. Sherman is raw and honest, and they make the moment simultaneously historic and contemporary. Caitlin Duffy as Iris Parodus Brustein brings us a character that is sympathetic and frustrating. Iris is an enigma, even to herself, and Duffy unravels all of the bits of hope and hurt that make Iris so real. Holiday as Wally O'Hara is a big presence, both physically and with his intensity. He makes you feel like something important is going to happen whenever he is present. David Ragin, played by Lee LeBreton, is one part comedy and one part truth bomb. LeBreton's ability to deliver quips and barbs breathes some levity into the heaviness without deviating from the tone of the show. Francesca Root-Dodson's Gloria, is a tragic figure who never quite finds her way. Alexandra Tavares as Mavis was the unexpected revelation of the show. Her combination of satire and charm was brilliant. Tavares communicated as much information and story in her silences and evolving expressions as others did in page-long diatribes. Whatever she's selling, I'm buying.

The artistic team of the show put together an elaborate staging that supported a very complex show. The scenic design by An-lin Dauber was as layered as the show. The set was rich with detail and purpose. The costumes, also by Dauber, were intentional and blended the timeless yet contemporary feel of the show. Lighting Design by Geoff Korf beautifully reflected the show in its moments of subtlety and harshness. M.L. Dogg's sound design supported the bohemian feel, and again blended the historic and contemporary. Direction by Ryan Guzzo Purcell was an interesting mix of forced blocking and natural movement.Purcell gave the show a feeling of authenticity by having characters participate in real life amidst their conversations. At one point, Iris makes an entire salad. The realness of their actions underlined the realness of their dilemmas. Inevitably, the show felt long, because it was long. Hansberry was still editing the show from her hospital bed even as it premiered on Broadway. Perhaps if she'd lived a bit longer, we would have gotten a slightly streamlined version of this amazing play that would lead more theaters to take on this ambitious work.

THE SIGN IN SIDNEY BRUSTEIN'S WINDOW is not a single issue show. It tackles a diverse array of topics and problems just like life which doesn't volley up items one at a time. The characters are all nuanced, and no one is relegated to the role of set dressing. The push and pull of relationships tugs away throughout the show. Characters are confronted with choices and change and how they relate to each other in a changing world. Hansberry leads us to understand that finding the right answers is not possible if we aren't asking the right questions.

Photo Credit: Joe Moore



REFUGEES IN THE GARDEN CITY By Jim Moran To Have World Premiere In Seattle Photo
Pratidhwani - a Seattle-area based organization of South Asian performing artists, and ReAct Theatre will present the world premiere of Refugees in the Garden City, a play in English by Jim Moran, produced in collaboration with Taproot Theatre in the Isaac Studio at Taproot Theatre in the Greenwood neighborhood of Seattle. The production will run March 25th through April 16th.

Review: SUITE SURRENDER at As If Theatre Photo
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Seattle Theatre Group Presents Indigenous Enterprises INDIGENOUS LIBERATION Photo
Seattle Theatre Group (STG) will present Indigenous Enterprise, a Native American dance troupe consisting of dancers from the US and Canada, in “Indigenous Liberation” for one night only on Friday, April 21 at 7:30 PM at the Moore Theatre. This event is part of STG's 2022/23 Performing Arts Season.

The School of Drama Producing Artist Laboratory at the University of Washington Presents I Photo
The School of Drama Producing Artist Laboratory at the University of Washington will present IN THE BLOOD, a play written by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks, directed by graduate M.F.A. directing students Kate Drummond and Nick O'Leary, Wednesday, May 3rd, 2023 – Sunday, May 7th, 2023. 


From This Author - Kelly Rogers Flynt

Born and educated in the South, Kelly Rogers Flynt has happily transitioned to life in the Pacific Northwest where she enjoys more rain and fewer mosquitos. She works as a director, choreographer,&... (read more about this author)


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