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

!--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"

A Conversation with Grace Bonney, Design*Sponge Entrepreneur and Author

A Conversation with Grace Bonney, Design*Sponge Entrepreneur and Author

Via her popular blog and now, a new book, Grace Bonney steps further into the spotlight
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Design*Sponge creator and author Grace Bonney.

Grace Bonney could definitely see herself living in Seattle.

“My wife and I constantly joke—only half-heartedly—about moving to Seattle or Vashon Island,” says Bonney, who lives in New York. "Every time I visit, I casually browse the real estate listings, pick up amazing produce at the markets and imagine what it would be like to just walk home and cook dinner here, rather than going back to a hotel room.”

Bonney, who founded the popular design and lifestyle blog Design*Sponge, visited Seattle in mid-October as part of a multi-city tour promoting the release of her new book, In the Company of Women. The book, which features a collection of inspiring interviews and conversations with successful business women ad creative entrepreneurs, was discussed in each city with a panel of influential women local to the area.

“It was honestly a dream come true,” Bonney says of the book. “It felt like the college experience I always wish I’d had, one where I had endless conversations with strong, smart and inspiring women of all ages. I didn’t want the process to end and I’m so glad that I’ve got the book tour to keep that energy and momentum going. Interviewing all of these women felt like getting a lifetime’s worth of advice, support and feedback in just a few months.”

The movers and shakers of Seattle, she says, are what will bring her back.

“On my next trip I want to check out Delancey,” she says. “Having Molly Wizenberg on our panel in Seattle was a huge treat.”

The Seattle panel, held October 18, was a sold-out event, a testament to what Bonney worked so hard to achieve with In the Company of Women.

“It means so much to me to see a project that means so much to me and with which I identify so closely being received so well across the country,” Bonney says. “I couldn’t be happier and more excited that people are feeling inspired to start companies and follow their dreams. I’m proud of so many aspects of this book: its inclusivity, its range of businesses portrayed and its balance of practical and big-picture advice. I think whether you’re looking for a general pep-talk and inspiration or something more nitty-gritty and vulnerable, this book has a story to represent every woman’s path in business.”

You could say it’s kind of a big moment for Grace Bonney. Along her with new book, Bonney’s now twelve-year-old site Design*Sponge stands as a pioneer in the field of design and lifestyle blogs.

But the visionary entrepreneur didn’t reach success how she initially thought, having had to come to terms with a change of career that initially appeared set and secure.

“Realizing that magazines weren’t the safe ‘forever’ job I thought they would be was a huge moment for me,” Bonney says. “I’d spent my whole life wanting to work for someone else because I thought it was safer and more secure. Then when all the magazines I wrote for closed within two years, I had to shift gears and embrace the stress and insecurity of being your own boss. That moment really went on to define how I lead my company and how I set the tone for what we do.”

With the enduring success of Design*Sponge and In the Company of Women, Bonney looks forward to the future with the same gusto and motivation.

“I want to keep the momentum that this book has creating going in another form,” Bonney says. “I have some big ideas and hopefully can spend this winter planning and getting them off the ground for 2017. I think women need a place to feel safe and supported when they’re starting and running businesses and I want to keep finding a way to work on providing that resource in one form or another.”