After three years of creating digital and film projects, Theatre Battery returns to live-theatre production with “Deep Purple Wiggle,” a one-act play written by Milo Cramer and directed by Logan Ellis.
The story follows a set of twins in their 30s who have previously self-identified as male. When one Sibling (Emon Elboudwarej) comes out to their Bro (Malex Reed) as non-binary, an exploration of sexuality, identity, and masculinity is undertaken, as both siblings grapple with what it means to be authentically themselves in their current bodies, time, culture, and relationships.
The entire show takes place in a pool of water cleverly constructed in the middle of the performance space. The play is performed in the round, giving audience members a truly immersive experience from the moment they enter the theatre.
The play is punctuated by ethereal live harp music (written by Malex Reed, performed by Ellie Yamanaka) that sets the mood for the opening scene and acts as a thread connecting the moments of humor, conflict, and confusion that encapsulate the journey our protagonists are on.
There is not a weak performance in the cast, though some first-night jitters were apparent, and some performers were warming up in the first scene.
Elboudwarej leads the charge in the role of Sibling, navigating the tricky terrain of contemporary masculinity while trying to find and stay true to their authentic self. Elboudwarej brought an openheartedness and vulnerability bordering on naiveté to the role without appearing petulant.
Reed played Bro, the twin of Sibling, perfectly encapsulating the “dude man” of modernity who finds himself spiraling in the face of his innate queerness. While somewhat forced at times, Reed’s performance took us through Bro’s inner conflict with sincerity and humor.
The supporting cast all gave strong performances, most notably Pyper and Douglas Ridings. Both performers brought an energy to their roles that not only spoke the truth of the moment but allowed them to transform from one role to the next so that you were never quite certain you were watching the same performer.
It’s impossible to watch “Deep Purple Wiggle” without a certain amount of self-reflection — what is my gender to me? Where did I pick up these ideas about who I am? Do I like these ideas? Would I change them if I could? How do these beliefs about myself affect my relationships? What have I not seen about the people in my life as a result of these beliefs? “Deep Purple Wiggle” invites us into these conversations so that we all may spend the short time we have on Earth experiencing the fullness of ourselves, whatever that may be.
Though the play is not a musical, the opening scene finds the entire cast in the pool of water up to their ankles, splashing, singing, and dancing in a synchronized circle. At first blush, the viewer may feel they have no idea what they are watching, but as the story unfolds and the opening scene is eventually reprised throughout the story, a cohesive theme begins to take shape — we are all unique, beautiful divine, complex, human, and locked in this “pool” together. The answers may not be clear or easy, but we’re all making our way, one watery step at a time.
- WHEN: “Deep Purple Wiggle” will run through Sept. 10, 2023:
- Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays at 8 p.m.
- Sundays at 2 p.m.
- WHERE: Theatre Battery at Kent Station, 444 Ramsay Way, Suite 107, Kent, WA 98032 [Next to Gentle Dental; map below]
- COST: All performances are FREE of charge! 60 Tickets for each performance can be reserved online through theatrebattery.strangertickets.com. The remaining 30 tickets will be released at the door to walk ups starting one hour before each performance.
Info & Links:
For more information or to follow the work of Theatre Battery, check out the following links:
- Contact: [email protected]
- Website: theatrebattery.org
- Tickets: Theatrebattery.strangertickets.com
- Facebook: Facebook.com/Theatrebattery
- Twitter: @theatrebattery