At the intersection of mythology, art history, sexual deviance and comedic contemporary theatre lies one very particular show: Kim Rosenstock’s 99 Ways to Fuck A Swan. It premieres this Friday, September 25 at the Studio Theatre at Capitol Hill’s 12th Ave Arts and runs through October 12, the first play of Washington Ensemble Theatre’s 12th season, themed as “Cruel Hearts Club.”
Rosenstock’s script draws from the Greek myth of a sexual encounter (rape or seduction, depending on who you ask) between high-born Leda and Zeus in the form of a swan. Rosenstock engages with the myth, then carries on through the ages: Michelangelo and his fascination with the story, the man who buys Michelangelo’s painting, and the effects of the artwork on present-day couple Dave and Fiona. A raw examination of how one grapples with unwanted sexual urges—that yet cannot be entirely ignored—Rosenstock’s play is all id under the guise of a romantic comedy.
The Ensemble’s Co-Artistic Director Ali Mohamed el-Gasseir will be directing the Seattle premiere of 99 Ways. His innovation for this staging is an all-paper set that is marked, maimed and transformed each night as the show progresses, a reflection of the setting of the play, which is in his own words “a world of bizarre romantic obsessions and everyday ineptitude.” Washington Ensemble Theatre’s Art Director and Cornish alum Leah Salcido Pfenning will be featured as Leda, alongside other cast members Jojo Abago, Devin Bannon, Alex Garnett, Kamaria Hallums-Harris, Ryan Higgins, Kathy Hsieh, Jonelle Jordan and Martyn G. Krouse.
Upcoming in the 2015-16 Season
The Ensemble’s season continues in January with the Seattle premiere of Stanley Adly Guirgis’s “totally fucked-up comic tragedy” The Motherfucker with the Hat (January 15 – February 1, 2016).
The Things Are Against Us by Susan Soon He Stanton has its world premiere April 29 and plays through May 16.
The Ensemble’s season will wrap up with its Young Artist Series performance, The Return of… Urban Tanuki Samurai, created and performed by Ali Mohamed el-Gasseir and Jonah Von Spreecken. The two collaborators originally created the work Urban Tanuki Samurai in 2012, and the 2016 production promises an inventive reimagining of the family-friendly comedy.
Washington Ensemble Theatre presents 99 Ways to Fuck a Swan
When: September 25 – October 12, Thursdays through Mondays at 7:30 PM.
Where: 12th Avenue Arts, Studio Theater (1620 12th Avenue E.)
About Washington Ensemble Theatre:
Now in its twelfth season, Washington Ensemble Theatre is committed to maintaining an environment wherein its members, as well as artists from the community, are challenged to grow through its work as an ensemble. A resident company at 12th Avenue Arts in Capitol Hill, its mission is to bring immediate and accessible theatre to a diverse audience. Follow along with The Ensemble during Season 12 with #CruelHeartsClub. For more information about The Ensemble visit washingtonensemble.org