2000 Seattle Fringe Festival: Drama We recommend.

Single tickets: $12; 5-show pass: $40; All-Fest Pass: $150; discounts available for seniors/students
May vary by location

Central Box Office: (206) 322-2018; Broadway Performance Hall, 1625 Broadway

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March 9-19

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Single tickets: $12; 5-show pass: $40; All-Fest Pass: $150; discounts available for seniors/students

Wheelchair accessible
Check for sign interpreted and audio interpreted performances.

Central Box Office: (206) 322-2018; Broadway Performance Hall, 1625 Broadway

Drama fiends, take solace. If suffering's your thing, what's more tragic than a Greek classic. For talky dramas, check out the Pinter play. But for a dramatic laugh, "Pu-uhonua" takes the cake, best among the dramas we saw this year. So, as the Bard might advise, read on MacDuff.

"Another Antigone," Repertory Actors Theatre (Seattle)

A.R.Gurney's 90-minute drama re-examines the classic meaning of tragedy—Greek-style. A professor's zealous obsession with ancient Greek classics faces the firing line when an ambitious and willful young woman wants class credit for adapting Sophocles' classic tragedy, "Antigone," into a nuclear-arms conflict with an anti-Semitic subtext. An excellent cast wanders around the Greek-column set, with Colleen Burke giving an exceptional performance as a university dean, a Greek chorus in the halls of 1980s academia. In Sophocles' script, Creon, the uncompromising political authority, is defeated by the efforts of Antigone, a Greek model for modern-day rebels and protestors. Gurney's thought-provoking play makes a gallant effort to explain Creon's character through the role of the scholarly professor, but this modern Antigone, as written by Gurney, lacks the stamina of her powerful ancestor. —Starla Smith

Stage 6: 3/10, 10pm; 3/11, 5pm; 3/12, 10pm; 3/15, 8pm; 3/18, 10pm; 3/19, 3:30pm

"Colonel Jack," Watershed Productions

Hearts are often worn on sleeves at the Fest, but at least Phil Wozniak's drama, "Colonel Jack," marches into fresh territory. A hometown Vietnam vet is going to die. So he must arrange a caretaker for his 38-year-old son, mentally disabled and emotionally stuck at age 12. It's unfortunate for "Colonel Jack" that Wozniak has an axe to grind about social workers, writing the part with less sensitivity than the other two roles. Her professional prying is levered like a crowbar, and she quickly forces a touching drama into melodrama. Jack cries. Son toddles into maturity. Social worker questions her ways. Case closed. —Steven Grimm

Stage 7: 3/10, 6pm; 3/11, 6pm; 3/12, 7pm; 3/14, 8:45pm; 3/16, 6pm; 3/18, 12pm; 3/19, 3:15pm

"The Dumb Waiter," Witney Williams

Understanding why plays like Harold Pinter's "Dumb Waiter" shook up English stages in the late '50s isn't difficult. The premise—two hit men exchange small talk while waiting in a vacant flat, and tension escalates as a dumb waiter (a pulley-operated elevator used to move food and dishes) makes increasingly more complicated demands for food—isn't standard '50s fare. The stark set and lack of any significant action also set the work apart. But today's audiences, weaned on works by contemporary writers like Mamet and Tarentino, will find the dialogue lacking, and the premise well-traveled. —John Coyle

"Pu'uhonua," Open Circle Theatre (Seattle)

Maria Glanz loosely based her one-woman comic drama on autobiographical material. She's a delightful performer who bubbles with appeal as she talks of Jungle Gardenia perfume, juicy pineapples and the big bulge in her abusive husband's pants. For this World War II Idaho housewife, pu'uhonua—which is pronounced "poo-u-oh-new-ha" and means "place of refuge"—symbolizes the kitchen, where she retreats from her violent and volatile husband, Henry. As she mixes ingredients for blood pudding or pineapple upside-down cake, she fantasizes about a Hawaiian prisoner at the nearby Japanese internment camp that she meets on the sly. Marvelous dialogue and some clever, penetrating one-liners highlight Glanz's disturbingly insouciant script and performance, but occasionally the moments collide with dream-like bewilderment. —Starla Smith

Stage 6: 3/9, 7:30pm; 3/11, 3:30pm; 3/12, 12pm; 3/14, 9pm; 3/17, 10pm; 3/19, 12pm

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