Our Country's Good
12th Ave Arts MAINSTAGE
Jan-23 to Feb-22, 2020
Thu-Fri-Sat and Mon at 7:30pm
Special Sunday matinee February-16
STRAWBERRY THEATRE WORKSHOP
SETS AN INFANT CIVILIZATION ON STAGE
IN "OUR COUNTRY'S GOOD"
Mainstage at 12th Ave Arts, Jan-23 through Feb-22
The United States incarcerates more people than any country in the world; the US constitutes 4% of the world population, but keeps 22% of the world's prisoners behind bars. Many prison inmates haven't been convicted of anything—they are jailed awaiting trial or a hearing on their immigration status.
In January, Strawberry Theatre Workshop is inviting audiences to a place where the population is 100% jailed and jailers. The year is 1787, and the place is the British colony of Sydney, Australia. In one of the cruelest episodes of criminal justice in history, the governing class has ruled that criminals—even petty thieves and non-violent offenders—must be killed or exiled from England. There is no rehabilitation for a class of humans genetically defective.
Playwright Timberlake Wertenbaker re-imagined this historical scene for the setting of Our Country's Good, appearing at 12th Ave Arts, starting January 23. Eleven actors play dual roles—each as one soldier and one convict—in her retelling of a British officer's experiment with art among the prisoners. He directs them in a play. At its heart, Our Country is a portrait of drama as a means of giving voice, purpose, and a sense of community to people—even with extraordinary forces pulling them apart.
Leah Adcock-Starr (The Christians, Romeo & Juliet) directs for Strawshop. The cast includes Galen Joseph Osier (Prelude to a Kiss, The Memorandum), who performed the same dual roles at Theater Schmeater in their 2001 production. Osier is joined by Yadira Duarte (Lydia), Miguel Castellano (Take Me Out), and Tim Gouran (Breaking the Code) in the ensemble with seven others.
Adcock-Starr points to language from the sadistic soldiers in the 1988 play, that mirrors President Donald Trump in 2019. Characters are labelled 'humans' vs 'animals,' but "The animals turn out to be the humanizing force in the colony."
Strawshop's Our Country's Good is designed by company favorites Adam Zopfi Hulse (The Pavilion, Prelude to a Kiss, Rhinoceros), Greg Carter (The Elephant Man, How I Learned to Drive, Take Me Out), Kyle Thompson (Take Me Out, The Pavilion), as well as newcomer Bryce Bartl Geller.
The play previews Thursday and Friday, January 23-24, and opens for the press on Saturday, January 25.
OUR COUNTRY'S GOOD
Title: Our Country's Good
Previews: Thu-Fri January 23-24, 2020
Opens: Saturday, January 25, 2020
Plays: Thu-Fri-Sat and Mon, 7:30 pm
Matinee: Sun February 16 only, 2:00 pm
Venue: Mainstage Theatre at 12th Ave Arts
Address: 1620 12th Ave, Capitol Hill, Seattle
Ticket Prices: $36 General, $24 Mondays
Phone Sales: 1-800-838-3006
Online Sales: strawshop.bpt.me
written by Timberlake Wertenbaker (1988)
directed by Leah Adcock-Starr
Sharon Barto Gouran
Galen Joseph Osier
Bryce Bartl Gellar
Adam Zopfi Hulse
stage managed by Brandon Eller & Rachel Culbertson
dialect coaching by Katya Landau
graphic design by Melanie Wang
12th Ave Arts
1620 12th Ave, Capitol Hill, Seattle 98122