Sexual deviancy, drug addiction, murder. These are some of the subjects up for grabs in Washington Ensemble Theatre's upcoming season, proudly titled "The Cruel Hearts Club"—an unholy trinity of plays which dig right into the darkest crevices of everyday humanity. "It's really important to find a way to embrace how we are all deeply flawed," says WET co-artistic director Samie Detzer. "You can be emotional, you can be cruel, you can be selfish...just no narcs allowed."
WET's twelfth season is its second at 12th Avenue Arts, having moved from their more ramshackle east Capitol Hill home next to the dearly departed King Fish Cafe. There's no hiding this season's commitment to the "Cruel Hearts" motif. Two of the three plays drop F-bombs in their titles, one in reference to intimacy with waterfowl. But the point of the work is not simply to shock audiences. They are "whip-smart...and really well written," says Detzer. But, yeah, they are still going to horrify.
99 Ways to Fuck a Swan
Sept 25–Oct 12
As the name implies, this play, written by Kim Rosenstock, centers around a troublesome sexual act—the Greek myth of Leda and the Swan, with its ripple effect through the ages, from Michelangelo to modern day Dave—and the particulars of sexual obsession. 99 Ways features a set covered in industrial sheets of paper, drawn and painted on throughout the play, then refreshed for every new performance.
The Motherfucker with the Hat
Jan 16–Feb 1
Former drug dealer Jackie comes home from prison to make right with his life and his girlfriend, Veronica. But whose hat is that in her apartment? Because it certainly isn't Jackie's. Stephen Adly Guirgis's 2011 play makes its Seattle premiere in early 2016 as a coproduction with the Hansberry Project and eSe Teatro. A story about jealousy, love, and good intentions gone sour, WET thinks Seattle has needed to see this play for a long time.
The Things Are Against Us
Apr 30–May 16
What do you get when you mix two lovesick sisters, an ax-wielding beefcake, dark family secrets, a spooky New England house, and an appearance by poet/playwright Federico Garcia Lorca? Susan Soon He Stanton's twisted comedy about the past and the bones left unburied.