Performance picks: ‘Hoodoo Love,’ ‘American Archipelago,’ ‘Greensward,’ UMO’s ‘Strictly Seattle’

Performance picks for July 28-Aug 3.

Want to see a show? Each week, Seattle Times critics offer a few opinions. We haven’t seen them all, but here are excerpts from reviews and best guesses.

 

“Hoodoo Love”

Katori Hall’s “Hoodoo Love” centers on Toulou, a blues singer with demons in her past — and her future — and Candylady, a former slave who serves as the neighborhood folk healer. Seattle Times critic Misha Berson writes: “As in many a mythic tale, however, elixirs for winning love and wishing harm don’t always work the charm. As Candylady advises, free will can really botch things up. … Though set in the 1930s, ‘Hoodoo Love’ (now in its vivid local premiere by Sound Theatre Company and the Lorraine Hansberry Project) is steeped in antebellum African-American lore and in modern feminist convictions. Redolent with steamy blues and erotic imagery, it is less about a young woman’s musical ambitions than her liberation from victimhood at the hands of men — be they rapacious or just unreliable. ‘Hoodoo Love’ preceded Hall’s best-known play, ‘The Mountaintop,’ a supple, meaningful dialogue between Martin Luther King Jr. and a feisty female spirit. Here, too, her writing is ripe with sensuality and gritty candor, though by the end the story gets mired in melodrama at the expense of mystery.” Through July 30, Sound Theatre Company, Center Theatre at Seattle Center Armory; $25 (206-856-5520 or soundtheatrecompany.org.)

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“American Archipelago”

This should be one for the books — a collaboration between some of Seattle’s best playwrights to write a map of contemporary American struggles where, as Pony World Theatre artistic director Brendan Healy said, “New York can be next door to Montana.” This crazy-quilt of a play, he said, is “not browbeating or dismal; there’s a lot of joy in it.” Nevertheless, “American…

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