Before I had even made it to my seat for the start of Riddled, someone handed me a gun. It wasn’t loaded (’cause this is theater, and that would be dumb), but that didn’t keep me from ducking when they swung it in my direction. Six of us were ushered into a tiny, white-walled antechamber to the Richard Hugo House theater—the sort of claustrophobic room that’s the building block of asylums. No one said a word; we took our cues from the man with the M1 carbine, a Michael Shannon lookalike who played the part of “creepy silent detective.” He handed my friend the semiautomatic, barrel up, and we passed it along like a live grenade, barely pausing to examine it. It was heavier than the last gun I’d handled (Nerf) and light-years more intimidating.
But in the hands of actress Marya Sea Kaminski, a firearm looks natural, like an extension of her forearm. Her father gave her a carbine for her fifth birthday, so just imagine the kind of life stories that follow. In her new rock musical Riddled, which closes this Saturday, Kaminski walks the line between fact and fiction, weaving painful childhood memories with the tale of Bonnie and Clyde. Her stage persona—the lead singer for rock band Bonnie Clyde (played here by Seattle band Landlord’s Daughter)—is Debbie Harry with a gun fetish and a dark past, and Kaminski is absolutely electrifying in the role. She growls into the mic, swivels her hips, whispers stories about shooting dogs; you can’t take your eyes off her. No offense to the band—it’s just hard to compete with one of the most enthralling stage actresses in Seattle.
Kaminski sparked my interest as a chest-clawing Electra for Seattle Shakespeare Company, and recently showed off her comedy skills as the deaf pregnant woman in Seattle Rep’s Clybourne Park. But Riddled, which she wrote and previewed last year at Bumbershoot, is Kaminski at her finest—personal, yet polished. This is the first time the show has taken the stage fully formed (directed here by Seattle Rep’s Braden Abraham), and sadly, it closes this weekend. But there are two more chances to see Kaminski rock out as a modern-day Bonnie Parker. Handle the carbine with care.
June 22 & 23 at 8, Richard Hugo House, $20