Seattle Playwright's New World-Premiere Play Mixes Sex and Politics

In 'Tails of Wasps,' local playwright Stephanie Timm pens a fresh take on a familiar story
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!--paging_filter--pIn her previous work, Seattle playwright Stephanie Timm has written about a teenage girl who devolves into an ape (emOn the Nature of Dust/em), and a “grim (fairy)tale” about human trafficking (emSweet Nothing/em). In her new, world-premiere play, emTails of Wasps/em, she addresses the age-old story of a politician brought down by a sexual scandal. Directed by New Century Theatre Company’s (NCTC) Darragh Kennan, the play explores the human tendency to get stung.brstrongbrWas there an event that inspired you to write about this common scenario?/strong When the Eliot Spitzer scandal first broke in 2008, I read an article about it that made an interesting argument that men have a biologically based need for sexual variety, and that if this had happened in a different country—France, for example, where François Mitterrand’s mistress and widow stood together at his funeral—this wouldn’t be the career-ending event that it is in the United States. I was intellectually persuaded but emotionally outraged by the argument, and it’s my conflicted reaction that drove me to reflect further, through writing emTails of Wasps/em.brnbsp;brstrongHow is your story different from the one we are so used to hearing on the news?/strong What we see on the news is the public side—the denial, the apology, the reactions from the political parties, the loyal wife standing on stage, etc. emTails of Wasps/em tells that familiar story but from the private side of the scandal as it unfolds behind closed hotel room doors and is exposed over the course of the politician’s career. It’s told in four intimate vignettes between Frank (the politician/protagonist) and the four women who are key in the scandal. nbsp;brnbsp;brstrongIs the play more about sex or power?/strong emTails of Wasps /emexplores that very question—are they inseparable? Different characters in the play have different points of view. As the writer, I have to believe whichever character is speaking. Through the course of the play, Frank’s relationship with sex and intimacy changes as he becomes more powerful. What starts out as something pure—love or his will to serve the people—gets corrupted as the complex reality of circumstances sets in. brbrstrongWhy do you suppose so many politicians fall victim to such impulses? /strongWhen writing emTails/em, I discovered that Frank is very much a political and romantic idealist. His pursuit of those ideals becomes so relentless and narrow that it warps into a corrupting force. Instead of a tragic flaw, he has a tragic virtue: idealism. It’s the thing that makes him great but is also what leads to his downfall, and as with many of our actual political “tragic heroes,” there are unfortunately many female casualties along that slippery slope to the bottom. nbsp;brbrstrongDETAILS/strongbrSee emTails of Wasps/em at ACT. 4/3–4/27. Times and prices vary. 700 Union St.; 206.292.7676; a href="HTTP://WWW.ACTTHEATRE.ORG" target="_blank"acttheatre.org/a/p

The Must List: Angel Olsen, A Moveable Feast, The Pajama Game

The Must List: Angel Olsen, A Moveable Feast, The Pajama Game

What to do in Seattle in the weeks ahead
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Singer/songwriter Angel Olsen plays the Neptune this Saturday

Must Get Tickets
Angel Olsen
(2/18, 9 p.m.) Asheville, North Carolina-based Angel Olsen’s 2016 third album, My Woman, was recorded as an experiment, the singer/songwriter told Spin, a response to “the complicated mess of being a woman.” A composite of styles ranging from gritty, lo-fi, Kinks-esque pop to somber country noir to the Lana Del Rey-indebted “Intern,” the album was well received by critics, many calling it her best yet. But it’s her voice that occupies the biggest spotlight on it: aching, smoldering vocals somewhere between Sharon Von Etten and Deborah Harry, just as distinctive, just as captivating. Likely SOLD OUT. Neptune Theatre, stgpresents.org

Must Love Paris
A Moveable Feast
(Through April 2, 8 p.m.) Two theatrical venues both alike in vision, full of sound and fury, signifying a delectably entertaining evening of spectacle and dining. And each actor and waiter plays their part. Café Nordo joins forces for the first time with Book-it Repertory Theatre to transport audiences back to 1920s Paris, where Ernest Hemingway’s memoir A Moveable Feast comes to life. Audiences will have a dinner date with struggling young Hemingway as he rubs elbows in the salon of Gertrude Stein at 27 rue de Fleurus with the likes of Sylvia Beach, Aleister Crowley, F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, James Joyce and Ezra Pound. Watch the literary drama unfold while a four-course meal underscores the action onstage. Prices vary. Book-It Repertory Theatre, book-it.org 

Must Get Fit
JAG x Fitcode Denim Fit Lab
(2/18, 12 p.m.-5 p.m.) A good pair of jeans is hard to find! Enter styling and consulting experts, Styled Seattle, who are partnering with JAG Jeans and Fitcode at Westfield Southcenter’s My Style Suite (Level 1, next to Aveda) to help you find your best fitting pair yet. JAG Jeans offers sizes from petite 0–24W in a variety of cuts, while Fitcode technology helps women find their best fit with a short questionnaire, measurements need not apply. The event includes discounts on JAG Jeans, as well as a chance to schedule a session with a Styled Seattle professional. Best of all, it’s free! westfield.com/southcenter/events/all-events

Must Remember
Year of Remembrance: Glimpses of a Forever Foreigner
(2/17 through 2018) On February 19, 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066 authorizing the Secretary of War to prescribe certain areas as military zones. This cleared the way for the forced removal and internment of 120,000 Japanese and Japanese Americans. The Wing Luke Museum’s new exhibit, Year of Remembrance: Glimpses of a Forever Foreigner, examines the historic and contemporary issues of racism, discrimination and human rights through the artwork of Roger Shimomura and the poetry of Lawrence Matsuda. The show’s goal is to shed a light on injustice that’s inflicted upon American groups who are ethnically, religiously or racially diverse. The time and the players are different but the events of yesterday are eerily similar to today. Times and prices vary. Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience, wingluke.org/year-remembrance

Must Pillow Fight
The Pajama Game
(Through 3/5, times vary) A 7.5-cent pay raise is at the center of a conflict between management and the workers in the Sleep-Tite Pajama Factory in this triple Tony Award winner. A sensational Seattle cast stars in the musical that defined Bob Fosse’s signature style with seductive dance numbers like “Steam Heat” and “Hey There.” You’ll have stars in your eyes. Prices vary. 5th Avenue Theatre, 5thavenue.org