Party like you’re living in an episode of Girls, but maintain a mysterious air, a la Don Draper. That mix of social agenda and nostalgic sensibility is the goal of the young adult in 2013. And that’s just what “Party in the Wings,” an event hosted by Seattle Repertory Theatre’s 20/30 Club, provided. These parties, designed for 20- and 30-somethings, allow young theatergoers the chance to mingle with each other over appetizers and drinks and discuss the show they all watched together from an exclusive section in the balcony. Seeing young people drawn to theater in an age when many would rather watch their entertainment on a screen should be considered an accomplishment for Seattle Rep.
I am not exempt from that lure of choosing a movie over a play. I realized just how much I’ve been missing when last Saturday night I had the opportunity to step into the world of young Seattle theatergoers. After the penultimate showing of Seattle Rep’s aerial ’60s comedy Boeing, Boeing, a group of about 50 or 60 partygoers was ushered down into the heart of the backstage area. As I dodged towering ladders and eerie remnants of developing sets, I felt the small thrill reminiscent of being a child playfully hiding in the racks of clothes at the department store. Upon completing the descent into the backstage interiors, our group was greeted by friendly theater staff dressed for a 1960’s Pan Am flight. At this point, the group split up, some of us choosing to explore the lavish set of Boeing, Boeing, others going straight for the hors d’oeuvre and cocktails. Those that chose to head into the party were met with a hip, underground atmosphere. Dim lighting reflected off a disco ball that hung from the rafters, casting shadows and sparkles against everything the light touched. Hospitable bartenders served up wine, beer, and Moscow Mules, and waiters presented trays of spring rolls and other appetizers. The evening’s soundtrack featured an eclectic mix of modern and retro hits, balancing the (now inescapable) Macklemore tunes with some ’80s favorites.
From the tours of the naked and exposed set, to the sight of cast members mingling with partygoers like they were familiar friends, there was a marked intimacy about “Party in the Wings” that should continue to draw young people to theater. That’s cause for celebration.