By Susan McCabe
For Vashon Repertory Theatre
Vashon Repertory Theatre (VRT), in collaboration with Vashon Center for the Arts (VCA), will host its second new play reading in The VRT Incubator series at 7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 24, in the VCA lobby.
“Kichi in the Woods of Present Memory,” by Bryan Willis, tells the story of three Japanese sailors who survived 15 months at sea, only to be enslaved by Northwest Indigenous people at Neah Bay. The play is based on a true story and is scheduled for full production at Mukai Farm in September 2022 as part of their Japan Festival. The Jan. 24 reading will include a live Japanese Taiko drumming performance.
The VRT Incubator opened on Dec. 20 with Kat Eggleston’s new one-act play, “Dreolin (The Winter Wren),” based on Irish folklore. The fully masked and vaccinated audience thrilled to Kevin Joyce’s best Irish tenor voice singing ancient Gaelic tunes with masterful help from Gabe Reilly-Bates. A lively talkback with audience members, cast, director, and playwright followed the reading.
Each new play reading will include this kind of audience feedback to help develop these new works.
The plays scheduled to be read as part of VRTs Incubator are curated by island playwright Trista Baldwin, who also curated “Plays In A Snap” at Snapdragon Bakery and Café during VRTs successful Vashon Theatre Fest in July 2021. She is currently developing the VRT Incubator schedule through May 2022.
Admission to all play readings is pay-what-you-will.
The VRT Incubator series is only one part of Vashon Repertory Theatre’s 2021-22 Season.
On Feb. 25 to 27, VRT will stage “The Exonerated” on the VCA’s Kay White Hall stage. Co-sponsored by Vashon’s chapter of Showing Up For Racial Justice (SURJ), the play tells the stories of six people who spent years on death row for crimes they did not commit.
“The Standing Nation,” by islander Mik Kuhlman and Tess Clark, is a site-specific solo show that explores the language of trees, their necessity to the survival of our planet and what we might learn from them. This will be VRTs first outdoor performance of the year, on May 14, 15, 21, and 22.
The next Vashon Theatre Fest is already scheduled for July 21 to 31 on outdoor stages at Ober Park, Open Space for Arts & Community, and Snapdragon.
For Charlotte Tiencken, VRTs producing artistic director, the season is part of a continuum.
“With the success of the Vashon Theatre Fest this year, we are excited to build on that momentum with quality offerings for the upcoming season,” she said.
It’s a season that aims to illustrate VRT’s mission of producing theatre that is thought-provoking, intimate, story-driven — shedding light on issues that are meaningful to our time and place on Earth. Stay informed by checking the VRT website at vashonrepertorytheatre.org.