'Ben Butler' review

By Winter Dorval - Staff Reporter



Burien Actors Theatre will command your attention with its production of Ben Butler.

This clever play, written by Richard Strand, is about a revolutionary Civil War general marks an important event in history.

Major Gen. Benjamin Butler is played by Michael Mendonsa. He captures Butler's superiority and stubbornness with his movements around the stage. While he switches between lounging in his chair and working the stage, he shows he is confident in his job.

Lt. Kelly, played by Mark Fox, is an even-tempered, but conservative man. He is overly attentive to the General's needs, seeming to always be waiting outside the door.

The audience meets Lt. Kelly when he informs Major Gen. Ben Butler that there are three escaped slaves outside of his office.

Sheppard Mallory is an escaped slave. Played by Sharif Ali, he works to change Butler's mind about the position the country should take regarding slavery.

Butler and Mallory's unusual and witty dialogue works to keep audiences engaged and laughing.

The play is directed by Rachel Rene, and the stage is managed by Michelle Rodriguez.

The set designer is Albie Clementi, and Cyndi Baumgardner manages props.

Maggie Larrick designs costumes, while Mark Fox and John Lynch tackle the fight choreography.

Scott Hille handles the scar prosthetics, and Gavin McLean teaches the dialects.

The setting is established by Erick Dickman, the sound designer, with Civil War-era music drifting over a darkened stage.

In between scenes, the stage goes into a dark blue light, controlled by the light designer Zanna Paulson. You can see people bringing in mail, candles, and organizing books. This movement encourages the audience to get enveloped in the story.

Outside of the windows, the light changes to indicate the time of day, getting respectively lighter or darker with the passing of time.

Showtimes are Oct. 6, Oct. 7, Oct. 13, Oct. 14, Oct. 20, and Oct. 21 at 8 p.m.

Matinees will be on Oct. 8, Oct. 15, and Oct. 22 at 2 p.m.

General admission is $20. Seniors and active military pay $17, while students are charged $10.

Tickets can be purchased at burienactorstheatre.org by email or following the link on the page.

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An alert Highline staff member and local public safety officers helped stop a potential suicide on campus last week. While a staff member was working, he noticed a suspicious male wandering the East Lot around 6:25 a.m. May 25. The staff worker called Highline Public Safety who responded to find the individual running around with a rope in his hands, looking for a place to possibly hang himself. This prompted Public Safety to contact Des Moines Police and South King County Fire and Rescue. By the time first responders came to the scene, the distraught man climbed into a tree near Building 99, ready to use the rope on himself. First responders talked to the man, successfully convincing him to come down from the tree. After the turmoil settled the individual was transported to a nearby hospital for an evaluation. Sgt. George Curtis of Public Safety said this was the first time he has encountered someone attempting to endanger their own life on campus.

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Allies of the LGBTQIA community along with faculty and staff will be hosting a Safe Zones training program, next month. Safe Zones is a program identifying individuals in the school community who are safe and supportive allies of LGTBQIA students and faculty. The Safe Zones training is put on by Highline’s Multicultural Affairs organization. The program is about learning more about the queer community and to build skills to use on the Highline campus and out in other communities. The LGBTQIA Taskforce has been working on creating a basic curriculum for the Safe Zones training that not only provides information that may seem basic or simple. Anyone is welcome to the Safe Zones training. The training will be June 2, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Writing Center, Building 26 room 319i.

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