The Seattle Theatre Writers have released their 2018 nominations for outstanding work in the greater Seattle area, and have honored Seattle Rep's Dry Powder with a nomination for "outstanding scenic design". Congratulations to all the nominees, especially the productions of The Crucible (both "excellence in the production of a play", and John Langs for "excellence in the direction of a play"), The Legend of Georgia McBride (Pete Rush for "excellence in costume design", Timothy Piggee for "excellence in performance of a play as a lead actor", as well as the whole cast for "excellence in the performance of an ensemble"), and actors Mari Nelson and Arika Matoba for their work in Into the Woods. Check out the full list here. The winners will be announced January 26, 2018.
"The set is crooked." writes Brendan Kiley of the Seattle Times, "The tables, chairs and austere metal-laced backdrop are all parallelograms, not a square corner anywhere — a fitting visual metaphor by designer Matthew Smucker for “Dry Powder,” Sarah Burgess’ 2016 play about sharky finance capitalists who make money off other people’s vulnerabilities.
All of the performances — plus the set, and Matt Starritt’s sound design, which includes an aural backdrop of Occupy Wall Street-style protest chants — are gorgeously sharp. Lass is particularly good as the ice-cold predator; so is Richard Nguyen Sloniker as the California luggage-company executive. Is he a surfer-hippie in a suit? Is he another wolf playing the financiers for chumps? Sloniker’s performance is wily enough to keep his character’s true motives obscured until the end.
Throughout, Smucker’s parallelograms are an apt, minimalist delight — “Dry Powder” is about people who work the angles."
"The capable cast of Seattle favorites chews up the sleek, clean scenic design, which frames the action as they battle it out." says Adrian Ryan in City Arts. "A nifty moving floor shifts the sets from scene to scene below a stock market-like digital ticker that establishes each scene’s time and place—the office, the hotel lobby, Hong Kong.
Instead of merely making a delightfully damning case against the agents of human greed to satisfy the souls of dyed-in-the-wool progressives like me (which it certainly does), Dry Powder also brings us face-to-face with some uncomfortable truths about humanity in the age of capitalism. After all, when all is said and done, cold and calculating Jenny comes off as the most honest and possibly the most sympathetic character of the bunch—and definitely the most amusing, if unintentionally. Her scorn and casual dismissal and of Seth’s “misguided” ideals begin to seem almost justified somehow. She makes it all seem so simple, as if math and unholy mountains of money could magically erase all responsibility for causing human suffering. Perhaps everyone can be bought for a price."
In the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Alice Kaderlan writes "Matthew Smucker’s boxlike set is the perfect visual equivalent of Dry Powder’s distorted values. The box frame and almost everything inside it (office desk, windows, hotel bar) are slanted, conveying a high-flying world gone awry, albeit one that has become all too familiar to us." Miriam Gordon adds "The set design by Matthew Smucker is gorgeous austerity" in her blog review.
Sarah Burgess's bitingly comedic look into the cut-throat world of venture capital, Dry Powder, is two weeks into rehearsal at Seattle Repertory Theatre and prepping to head on stage under the sure handed direction of Marya Sea Kaminski. Here are a few sneak peaks at the scenic design model. Tickets are on sale now at the Seattle Rep box office.