What’s in a dive bar? The soul of the Seattle theatre scene? Maybe.
Sharon Ott, one time Artistic Director of the Seattle Repertory Theatre, tells stories of August Wilson writing-out-loud at Queen Anne’s Mecca Café and anyone else in the fringe theatre world can tell you at least one spectacular story of a show they saw at the Jewel Box, in Belltown. After any show at any of the Uptown theatres, Solo Bar is likely to be filled to bursting with the smell of makeup wipes and actor sweat; and, since this winter, the crew responsible for Taphouse has gathered at various dive’s around town to connect and build a vision unique to the environment and bigger than any one of us could conceive of.
Now, I do need to mention that when I say “dive bar” I do not mean to suggest that any of the above mentioned hideaways is anything less than well-cared for, safe, clean, blah blah blah (we’ve got to keep the yuppies comfortable, too).
What I mean is that there are certain places in our lives, certain holes in the city into which a soul can dive and find peace away from the chaos of everything else. This is the “Third Place” away from home, away from work. This can be a coffee shop, a book store, any where really whereat you feel whole. A place whereat you can let slip the whole weight of your day and gather with your ilk and regrow whatever it was that the winds outside stripped bare.
Each of the characters of Kiki Penoyer’s Taphouse is drawn to the titular dive bar for this very reason, to fight like hell against the outside world. This is a safe space where everyone listens to everyone else and where unkindness and selfishness must be banished. At least that’s the dream.
In order to wholly understand this feeling (and to knock back a few sharp pints), we toured and fell in love with three such holy places away from time.
These are the places where we tell our stories and the places about which we are telling the story of Taphouse.
I love it.