Mike's adventures in art: 'Between Two Knees'
If you're looking for tips on how to experience art in the Seattle area, you're in the right place. In this weekly post, KUOW arts reporter Mike Davis has suggestions for what to do around Seattle over the weekend so you can have your own adventures in arts and culture.
"Between Two Knees" playing at the Seattle Rep is my pick of the week. The story follows multiple generations of an Indigenous family from the Wounded Knee Massacre in 1890 to the Wounded Knee Occupation in 1973.
The play was created by The 1491s, the sketch comedy troupe behind the FX series, "Reservation Dogs." The production abruptly jumps from moments of shame (often aimed toward the audience) to hilarious absurdity. The fictional family experiences the real-life events that take place in America during the time period and the play uses humor to present extremely painful moments in history.
When I say this play has a little of everything, it's not an exaggeration. At one point, we go from a sobering view into the personal experience of a Native child in a Reservation School run by priests, to two kids battling with ninja-nuns in a comedically choreographed fight scene with slow-motion matrix-style karate. This production had moments that were laugh-out-loud funny and moments of extreme sadness, as characters on stage went silent and motionless, for what seemed to be an eternity, as the audience was forced to sit and reflect on the staged trauma that we know also happened in real life.
If you want to laugh, cry, dance, and partake in a communal sing-along, this production has you covered.
"Between Two Knees" plays March 3-26 at the Seattle Rep
Playwright Nikki Yeboah interviewed 29 people directly involved in the protests before writing the play. She took those interviews — along with research of news, media, and social media during the time — to create composite characters representing the different people (including activists, city government officials, and reporters) involved in the protests.
While I haven't seen the whole reading, I recently saw a few scenes in rehearsal and had a chance to speak with Yeboah and a few cast members. What I learned is that the goal is to be as authentic as possible in the presentation of this story. The production explores not only the views of the protestors, but also the perspective of city leaders, like the mayor and chief of police, who played pivotal roles during the protests.
The reading, which will help guide the build up to the full production, also serves a reminder of what happened in our city during those tumultuous weeks of 2020. While the national media buzz has faded, and our lives have moved on with the lingering impacts of the pandemic, it's important to remember that what may feel like the distant past, only happened a few years ago. Many of the people involved are still here. This production brings their stories back into the light.
Public staged readings of "11th & Pine" are showing March 17-19 at the Erickson Theatre
"IKAT: A World of Compelling Cloth" is showing at the Seattle Art Museum. The exhibit whisks you away from the world of fast-fashion into a global tour of fabric art and textiles. The featured pieces are hand-made works of art that include clothing, blankets, quilts, and more that display the history of human connection to the fabrics we interact with every day. The exhibit includes a floor-to-ceiling installation that highlights the beauty and degree of difficulty involved in creating this type of art. There is also a hands-on section that allows visitors to feel the difference between the fabrics used in the exhibits and in the everyday clothes we wear.
"IKAT" continues until May 29 at the Seattle Art Museum