On Stage

Campus Collective

Western Summer Theatre returns


What: Commedia in the Park

Where: Maritime Heritage Park, 500 W. Holly St.


WHEN: 7pm July 19; 5pm and 7pm July 20

Cost: Free

Info: http://www.cfpa.wwu.edu

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

When he’s not fishing for trout, gardening or canoeing to Mud Bay, Western Washington University theater professor Rich Brown spends the warmer months of the year helping ensure Western Summer Theatre (WST) entertains the masses.

Once again, “Commedia in the Park” will jump-start the season with free performances July 20-21 at Bellingham’s Maritime Heritage Park.

“Commedia Dell’Arte is a form of popular, ‘low comedy’ theatre that first began in Italy in the 1550s,” Brown explains. “It was born in the streets and markets as theater for the people. It consists of known stock characters such as the greedy old man, the tricky servants, the young lovers and the braggart Captain. Each character has a specific mask and stock physicality. The players create an outline for each scene, but each performance changes through improvisation based on the audience’s response. The goal is always laughter.”

In the weeks before the public performances, students work with Brown and other instructors to create the shows, which differ from year to year. In order to embody the larger-than-life characters, part of their rehearsal process involves plenty of cardio and strength work to help prepare them for the physical challenges.

Because many of the students are in more than one Western Summer Theatre production, that training also helps get them through to the next shows—which include Graffiti Dance Theater (July 27-29), Young Frankenstein (Aug. 22-26), The Glass Menagerie (Aug. 29-Sept. 2), and I Began Anyway (Sept. 5-9).

“I’m excited about all of our shows,” Brown says. “It’s a unique season with lots of variety. The theme is ‘New York to Bellingham,’ as guest director Lamby Hedge returns to direct The Glass Menagerie, and Jessica Burr and Matt Opatrny, founders of the NYC-based company Blessed Unrest, will be joining us for the first time to devise the original work I Began Anyway.”

By the final production, the students who’ve spent July through September learning how to tell stories through theater will have more resources to fall back on, which is a primary a goal of Western Summer Theatre.

“It’s different from our university season in that it’s a combination of professionals and our top students and alums who make up the company,” Brown says. “We import professional directors, playwrights and designers to share their talents with Bellingham and to work directly with our students, which raises their game.

“Also, the students are involved in many of the shows in different roles, so they might act in one, run the light board for another, and build the sets or costumes for a third—it’s wholistic theatre training .”

New Money Silver Reef
More On Stage...
Broad Comedy
Fun with feminism

It’s not often a Q&A page on a website is the place to go for a quick laugh, but when it comes to Broad Comedy, pretty much everything the female-focused ensemble does is designed to elicit a visceral reaction.

To wit, when asking if people should book Broad Comedy for their next big…

more »
Black's Back
The joke’s on us

When asked if he thinks Donald Trump is the worst or best thing to ever happen to comedians, standup star Lewis Black didn’t pause before saying he thinks the sitting president is “good for comedy in the way that strokes are good for a nap.”

Lewis notes he’s had the same answer since the…

more »
New Voices
How Sweet the Sound

Bellingham TheatreWorks is committed to producing the works of local playwrights and actors, and Eryn Elyse McVay’s How Sweet the Sound truly fits the bill. When the drama focusing on a charismatic leader and the three girls who depend on him for their well-being opens Jan. 4-5 at the…

more »
Bellinghamster One-Act Theater Festival (BOAT)

7:00pm|Bellingham Theatre Guild

Cascadia Weekly's Fiction 101 Contest


A Forest of Words Poetry Competition

10:00am|Whatcom County

Ferndale Book Group

2:30pm|Ferndale Library

Infra-Supra Opening Reception

5:00pm|Western Gallery

Group Run

6:00pm|Skagit Running Company

Ferndale Books on Tap

6:30pm|Downtime Taps

Creekside Open Mic

6:30pm|South Whatcom Library

A Sea Change

6:30pm|Community Food Co-op

Intro to Improv

7:00pm|Improv Playworks

Plant Society Talk and Meeting

7:00pm|Sustainable Living Center

Los Vivancos
Bellinghamster One-Act Theater Festival (BOAT)

7:00pm|Bellingham Theatre Guild

A Forest of Words Poetry Competition

10:00am|Whatcom County

Cascadia Weekly's Fiction 101 Contest


Call to Artists for Spring Juried Exhibit

10:00am|Jansen Art Center

Literacy Council Seeks Volunteers


English Country Dancing

1:30pm|Bellingham Senior Activity Center

Wine Tasting Social

5:30pm|Lighthouse Grill


6:00pm|Ciao Thyme

Basic Emergency Preparedness

6:00pm|Ferndale Library

Winter Soups for the Body and Soul

6:30pm|Community Food Co-op

Bangladesh Travelogue

7:00pm|Whatcom Museum's Old City Hall

Balkan Folk Dancers

7:00pm|Fairhaven Library

Good, Bad, Ugly

7:30pm|Upfront Theatre

Trove Web Cascadia Weekly Subscribe Ad 1
Bellinghamster One-Act Theater Festival (BOAT)

7:00pm|Bellingham Theatre Guild

Cascadia Weekly's Fiction 101 Contest


A Forest of Words Poetry Competition

10:00am|Whatcom County

Call to Artists for Spring Juried Exhibit

10:00am|Jansen Art Center

Literacy Council Seeks Volunteers


Wild Things

9:30am|Lake Padden Park

Deep Forest Experience

11:00am|Rockport State Park

Books and Bites

1:00pm|Blaine Library

Peace Vigil

4:00pm|Downtown Bellingham

Art Auction Gala

5:30pm|Lightcatcher Building

Photography Exhibit Opening

6:00pm|Fourth Corner Frames and Gallery

Family Story Night

6:00pm|Fairhaven Library

Quieting the Monkey Mind

7:00pm|Village Books


7:00pm|BAAY Theatre

Courthouse Vaudeville

7:30pm|Territorial Whatcom County Courthouse

Sanford-Hill Piano Series

7:30pm|Performing Arts Center Concert Hall


7:30pm|Mount Baker Theatre

Space Trek

7:30pm|Upfront Theatre

see our complete calendar »

Cascadia Weekly Subscribe Ad 1 Los Vivancos Village Books Trove Web Choir of Man