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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, August 9, 2019 - Volume 47 Issue 32
Salty - also sweet
Arts & Entertainment
ALL STORIES
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Salty - also sweet

by Miryam Gordon - SGN A&E Writer

SALTY
REACT THEATRE
(AT 12TH AVENUE ARTS)
Through August 18


Have you ever tried to imagine some - oh - forty, sixty years from now when global warning has really taken firm hold? What animal species will be extinct? How will we be living? I'll bet our diets will be very different because certain foods will be unable to be grown. Still, anyone living then will get up in the morning, go to some work or other, and come home to their family.

AJ Clauss did some imagining and wrote a play, Salty (produced by ReAct Theatre), that focuses on penguins and the humans who take care of them. The penguins are all in a zoo and they are pretty much the last ones left in the world, kept in a special enclosure at the right cold temperature. The cast doubles as the zookeepers who take care of them. Clauss calls it a 'grim but hopeful look at the future.'

Clauss' play is not at all hyperbolic or scoldy. It's a lyrical and understated, sometimes funny, sometimes poignant reverie on relationships. Some of the relationships are between penguins and some are between people and some are between people at the zoo and their penguin wards.

In a strange way, you could think of it as a slice-of-life play. And there's a bit of science thrown in there, as well.

The main penguin story is that two male penguins mate. Apparently, even the penguin population is a little taken aback just at first, but then they are happy for the new couple. That idea is not one Clauss imagined for the future all on their own, and in fact, you can find a YouTube video from 2018 about a cute couple of male penguins who incubate an egg together successfully and become 'fathers.'

Here, their zookeepers find a goose egg and give it to the couple to incubate. It seems both cruel and helpful at the same time!

The plucky and talented cast take turns portraying penguins and humans. They include Annelih GH Hamilton, Angela DiMarco, Varinique Davis, Kenon Veno and Lia Lee. David S. Hogan and Tony Magana Jr. portray the new male couple adorably. DiMarco and Davis have a rocky human relationship complicated by chronic illness. Hamilton does heartbreaking double duty as a penguin who has lost her pup and a human flirting with the new guy (Veno). Lee is the only fox and the only actor to play one role.

The play bounces around quite a bit and it's not easy to understand how the fox is connected, though some of the dialogue does clearly link. The chronic illness is not well-defined and the consequences of having it don't necessarily fit well (most chronically ill folk would not leave a supportive, loving partner).

But it is a challenging and thought-provoking play about something we have a hard time grasping: climate change. The play also allows us to picture living in the future just the way we live now, but different - adjusting to the difficulties that life might bring then. In lighter moments, it's very silly and sweet.

Take an evening to contemplate the future with a salty little play. It's worth it.

For more information, go to https://salty.brownpapertickets.com or 206-364-3283.

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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SMC & SWC Executive Director Steve Smith steps down from Seattle Choruses
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SGN EXCLUSIVE: Don't miss 'RuPaul's Drag Race' star Derrick Barry at this Sunday's Leo Party August 11
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Salty - also sweet
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Rainbow City Band presents 2019 Rainbow Ball Sept. 28
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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
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John Cameron Mitchell to appear at special screening of new 4k restoration of Hedwig and the Angry Inch at SIFF Cinema Uptown August 17
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Indie Ladyworld a haunting psychological natural disaster
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Energetically joyous Dora a golden family-friendly adventure
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Bloody Wicked Witches doesn't cast a memorable spell
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