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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, March 11, 2016 - Volume 44 Issue 11
Charming Brooklyn Bridge offers community to a lonely girl
Arts & Entertainment
ALL STORIES
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Charming Brooklyn Bridge offers community to a lonely girl

by Miryam Gordon - SGN A&E Writer

BROOKLYN BRIDGE
SEATTLE CHILDREN'S THEATRE
Through March 20


An enchanting play is onstage now at Seattle Children's Theatre, suitable for ages 6 or 7 and up. Brooklyn Bridge, by Melissa James Gibson, focuses on a bright and articulate 5th grader, Sasha (charmingly played by Analiese Emerson Guettinger), who has a very important research paper due and is struggling to get it onto paper.

The script is full of sparkling dialogue and is meant to address aspects of a lonely latchkey child and the isolation that situation can create. Sasha is portrayed as a very resourceful and obedient child, but in this instance, she must disobey her mother, in order to get the very important paper done by tomorrow. She doesn't have a pen at home, and is compelled to leave her apartment, contravening her mother's instructions, to visit neighbors she doesn't know to find one.

The first neighbor she meets in the apartment is the very astute Sam (an accessible Rudy Roushdi), a dental student and taxi driver, who pronounces her situation 'a predicament' and immediately identifies that her leaving her apartment is a bad thing, but if she finds a pen, then it's a bad thing that is successful. However, he doesn't have a pen for her.

She meets three other neighbors, a time-challenged upstairs kook, Trudi (Rebekah Patti), motherly and knowledgeable Talidia (a warm and compassionate Claire Fort), and elderly John (grandfatherly David Pichette).

Each of the neighbors adds a bit to Sasha's world and opens up opportunities for community and companionship in the future. John, in particular, is a Brooklyn Bridge buff, like Sasha (and she learns what 'buff' means) and quizzes her on what she has already researched for her paper. She is encouraged to go beyond the facts and figures to realize what the bridge means to her, and John helps her overcome her reluctance to put her thoughts down on paper.

The production uses actors and support from the UW School of Drama in a hey-do-it-more-often! collaboration. The drama school participants get professional exposure and SCT gets to lower its financial footprint without losing quality.

The storyline and its presentation can appeal to both children and adults. There are definitely some nits to pick. They generally don't generally get in the way of the production, but it is hard to know why they are there or who decided upon them (whether the script is written that way or the production added them).

There are some maybe-for-comic-effect neighbors (labeled 'shadowy figures') who vie to put the hallway potted plant just so. There are moments of flashback where period figures appear to gaze at the bridge during construction or on opening day. There is an upstairs neighbor who is never visited, but is apparently composing a song, but since that neighbor does not interact that seems a bit useless.

The conflicted Sasha also clearly lies to her mother on the phone. That plus the clear issue of her disobeying her mother makes for what could be an important conversation between parents and kids on the way home. That isn't a bad subject to talk about, because 'situational ethics' is something we all confront as we grow older. It becomes clear that Sasha might feel like she should not burden her already burdened mother with her school problems, and that Sasha isn't sure how to manage them herself.

Guettinger is an accomplished actor and fulfills the role perfectly. The other main cast members also do a great job, led by Rita Giomi, a talented and veteran director at SCT.

This is a multi-layered play that raises some potentially rich areas of conversation in your family. Reaching out to your neighbors is a potent possibility.

For more information, call 206-441-3322 or go to www.sct.org.

Discuss your opinions with sgncritic@gmail.com or go to www.facebook.com/SeattleTheaterWriters. More articles can be found at miryamstheatermusings.blogspot.com.

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The Lucky 13th Annual Moisture Festival OPENS MARCH 17th!

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Charming Brooklyn Bridge offers community to a lonely girl
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THE GLITTER OF THE LITERATI:

The Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival and the Saints & Sinners Festival

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