Burien Culture Hub

Rapture, Blister, Burn: a Review

Fri, 23 Feb 2018

Poster for the show

We all know the saying, “The grass is greener on the other side”, but do we really understand what we mean when we say it?

Rapture, Blister, Burn (written by Gina Gionfriddo) seeks to explore that concept through its three central characters Cathrine (played by Kris Pepper Hambrick), Gwen (played by Alissa Cattabriga), and Gwen's husband Don (played by Wade Hicks).

Catherine, a successful author from New York is back in town to take care of her mother Alice (played by Trish Cosgrove), after she suffers a heart attack. Catherine’s long ago college roommate Gwen and her husband Don live nearby and the three decide to catch up.

We soon find out that Catherine isn’t dealing well with the state of her mother’s health. She’s reasoned her mother is going to die soon because both of Alice's sisters had a heart attack and died within the year.

To make things more complicated for her, Catherine begins to second guess the choices she’s made through out her life, choosing to work on a successful career rather than marrying and raising a family. She figures that once her mother is gone, she will be alone.

Enter the young and energetic Avery (played by Caitlin Colman), who regularly babysits for Gwen and Don. Avery and Catherine instantly become friends and Catherine sends a couple of the books she’s written home with Avery to take and read.

While Catherine is in town she decides to teach a private class about feminism throughout history. Gwen and Avery are her first and only students as they begin by discussing the topic of women breaking traditional gender roles, as Alice serves drinks and joins the conversation with her own insights.

However, the story really begins when we hear about a drunk call Catherine made to Gwen one night soon after she found out about her mother’s heart attack. What is the real reason Catherine is in town? Why is she beginning to question her life?

The sets are well designed and do a good job to bring the suburban lifestyle to the stage (set design by Albie Clementi). It’s clear where each scene is taking place, and the stage is illuminated well from end to end (lighting by Zanna King).

Every action and line of dialog can be heard with crystal clarity (sound by Eric Dickman). The characters look how their roles would suggest, suburban chic reigns supreme on stage (costumes by Barbara Cawley and Maggie Larrick, props by Cyndi Baumgardner).

The acting is top notch, with the characters coming to life on stage complete with their own history and backstory. You leave believing that these are real people.

Rapture, Blister, Burn will leave you thinking about that old saying, “grass is always greener”. But is it really greener, or does it just look that way from where we stand? Will we really be happier if we had done thing differently, or does that just trade one set of problems for another?

Rapture, Blister, Burn is running from February 16th til March 11th at the Burien Actors Theatre. The BAT is located at 14501 4th Avenue SW in Burien. Tickets are $10 for students and $20 for everyone else.

The Burien Actors Theatre has been performing shows in the Puget Sound area for over 35 years, and is a non-profit 501(c)(3) entity that relies heavily on ticket revenue, donations and volunteer help.

Review by by John Van de Ven

Photos of the show, by Michael Brunk:

From left to right, former college-mates Don (Wade Hicks), Gwen (Alissa Cattabriga) and Catherine (Kris Pepper Hambrick) are having an awkward reunion approximately 20 years after graduation in Burien Actors Theatre’s production of the comedy Rapture, Blister, Burn, written by Gina Gionfriddo.

From left to right, Don (Wade Hicks) and Catherine (Kris Pepper Hambrick) are talking about why they broke off their relationship in college in Burien Actors Theatre’s production of the comedy Rapture, Blister, Burn, written by Gina Gionfriddo.

From left to right, Don (Wade Hicks) and Gwen (Alissa Cattabriga) share a moment in Burien Actors Theatre’s production of the comedy Rapture, Blister, Burn, written by Gina Gionfriddo.

Comedy "Rapture, Blister, Burn" at Burien Actors Theatre

Thu, 08 Feb 2018

Show poster

Rapture, Blister, Burn at Burien Actors Theatre (“BAT”) is an intensely smart and immensely funny Pulitzer Prize finalist that explores whether the grass really is greener on the other side of the fence. Performances run Feb. 16 through March 11.

The Burien Actors Theatre production features specialty drinks themed to the show and plenty of free on-site parking, plus an opening night party.


Written by Gina Gionfriddo, this keen, clever, sharp-eared comedy mixes big discussions about serious topics with plenty of cocktails.

Gwen stayed home, supporting her husband and raising children. Catherine went the academic route, published several books on feminist issues, and is a prominent speaker and teacher.

When the two women, who went to college together, reunite more than a decade later, each envies what the other has. Looking back at turning points in their own lives, they can't help but wonder if they could have been better off. Through a feminist theory class accompanied by plenty of martinis, their viewpoints clash. They begin to wonder if, just like a Disney movie, there might not be some way they could trade places.

Toss in Catherine’s feisty mother, Gwen’s flawed husband, and a young former stripper. Then shake it all together with feminist theory, Dr. Phil and lots of martinis for a bumpy and hilarious ride.

This show contains some adult language that includes "F, B, and A" words, plus mature content and frank discussions of sex and sexuality. BAT's policy is to inform audiences of content but to let parents, guardians and teachers make decisions that they feel appropriate for the youth and teens in their care.

Performances are Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. at Burien Actors Theatre, 14501 4th Ave. S.W. in Burien.

Ticket prices range from $7 to $20. Student tickets are just $10. Enjoy opening weekend deals: Tickets on opening night, Feb. 16, include free admission to the opening night party. On Saturday, Feb. 17 all tickets are half price. On Sunday, Feb. 18, which is BAT’s Seven Buck Sunday, admission is just $7.

For tickets, special deals or other information, go to www.burienactorstheatre.org or call 206-242-5180.

Rapture, Blister, Burn is sponsored by 4Culture and Pickled & Preserved.


Stage directors Barbara Cawley and Beau M.K. Prichard direct the talented cast of Kris Pepper Hambrick (Catherine), Alissa Cattabriga (Gwen), Caitlin Colman (Avery), Trish Cosgrove (Alice) and Wade Hicks (Don). Natalie H. Berg is the show’s stage manager.

Designers for the show are: Albie Clementi, set; Zanna King, lighting; Cyndi Baumgardner, props; Janelle Kimbrough, costumes; and Eric Dickman, sound.


Exciting live theater has been a tradition in Burien since 1955. Incorporated in 1980, Burien Actors Theatre (BAT) has been a leading producer of quality live theater serving residents of the Seattle and south Puget Sound areas.

Burien Actors Theatre gives audiences an intriguing and invigorating theatre experience with unusual and fantastical productions they can’t see on film or see anywhere else. The company’s mission is to treat audiences to productions of the highest artistic integrity that excite, engage and involve both the local and expanding theatrical communities in the Puget Sound region.

BAT is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) entity and operates on revenue from ticket sales, donations, grants, sponsorships and volunteers.

Danny Mansmith at Burien Community Center

Sun, 07 Jan 2018

Eye Drawing by Danny Mansmith

Burien Arts invites you to meet Danny Mansmith at the opening reception for a new show of his work, Tuesday, January 9, 2018, from 6:00-7:30 PM at the Burien Community Center, 14700 6th Avenue SW, Burien, WA.

The exhibit runs January 9 through January 26, and is open to the public during Center hours, 8:30 AM-8:00 PM, Monday – Thursday and 8:30-5:00 Friday.

Here’s more about Danny Mansmith (thanks to the Burien Arts Newsletter):

Danny grew up in the Chicago suburbs and was particularly close to his grandmother, who sewed his clothes while he was growing up. “My grandma was a tough Polish lady with a big heart who was also an artist, but would never have said that. She nurtured me with love and exposed me to art, giving me the ability to see possibilities in things around us.” Danny said.

Danny always wanted to be an artist and went to art school for a year, but found it was not for him. He moved to Chicago in the early 90s and, inspired by his grandmother, taught himself to use a sewing machine. In addition to making handmade clothes, he taught himself to draw with the sewing machine and constructed dolls and sculptures out of found objects, covering them with stitched designs.

Danny has had a shop on Etsy since 2006 where you can see more of his creations as you can on his website as well.

“Working with my hands has saved my life,” he says. “Instead of being the fastest or the smartest I found my strength, sanctuary and cushion from the world in making art. I want to push myself to make art with the things around me, to be resourceful and to follow my heart’s inspiration,” he explained.

“Making something wearable, drawing with sharpies or the sewing machine, sculpting, to creating installations that incorporate all of these elements has become my spirituality – my survival,” he continued.

Danny now lives in Burien.

Audition Call: Mary Poppins at the Hi-Liners

Tue, 26 Dec 2017

Mary Poppins Logo

Disney and Cameron Mackintosh's
Mary Poppins JR.
DownStage Center Production

Your favorite practically perfect nanny takes center stage in this Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious adventure based on the award-winning Broadway musical and classic Walt Disney film.

  • Auditions: Thursday, January 18, 4-8:30pm
  • Callbacks: Saturday, January 20, 3-7pm
  • Shows: Friday-Sunday, April 27-29
  • Ages: 7 and Up

More information and registration at: hi-liners.org/DSCaudition.html

Artist Reception: Al-Abboud at Scarlet Ibis Gallery

Wed, 20 Dec 2017


On Saturday, January 6, 2017 from 6pm to 10pm, Scarlet Ibis Gallery presents the Artist Reception for a new exhibit of paintings by local artist Al-Abboud.

Al-Abboud’s work reflects his studies in architecture, which preceded his formal training in art. His work is large, bold, and dynamic, with patterns and symbols reflecting the buildings and art of countries where he has found his greatest inspiration.

From the artist’s statement: “After spending two years as an architecture student, I realized that I wanted to be an artist instead of an architect as my family wished, even though it meant burning bridges and relinquishing emotional and financial support. I accepted the sacrifice as the price all artists must endure, and I forged into a new way of living as an artist.”

Gallery Phone: (206) 453-8374

Facebook Event url: CLICK HERE

Review of "The Christmas Carol Rag" at BAT

Thu, 30 Nov 2017

Every year the holiday season brings out some of our favorite traditions in song and story, and this one is no different. This year however the Burien Actors Theatre’s, The Christmas Carol Rag (written by Norman Allen and musical arrangements by Howard Breitbart), presents a show that is as familiar as tradition, but with a slightly different spin on the Charles Dickens classic.

Although recasting Ebenezer Scrooge as Evelyn Scrooge (played by Cara Hazzard) is a change, nearly every element of the Dickens classic is left unaltered. Set in New York city in 1911, Evelyn is a shrewd and miserly business woman, with a chip on her shoulder and much to prove. Though she is miserable to be around and shows no interest in anything but the bottom dollar, Evelyn is surrounded by people that fear, respect and care about her.

Evelyn’s overworked and underpaid employee, Bob Cratchit (played by Jaron Boggs) and his wife Anne (played by Hannah Rockel) are expecting the birth of their child any day as the uneasiness of their poverty sets in and the fate of their child is in question, they wonder how they will get by.

As Christmas eve progresses into Christmas day, Evelyn is visited by the three familiar ghosts who take her on a tour of her life. Beginning with a warning from her long dead partner and mentor, Janet Marley (played by Rochelle Flynn) who makes it very clear that the path Evelyn is currently on is only going to lead to more pain, suffering and sadness and it is up to Evelyn to changer her ways.

This is a great show from beginning to end (directed by Calen Winn) with a talented cast and piano driven narrative (music direction and live piano playing by Elizabeth Bender) in the style of old school ragtime. Song and dance routines help move the story along (choreography by Gayle Staker), and the set brings early 1900's New York to life (set by Albie Clementi). Lighting helps set the tone and feel of each scene (lights by Rob Falk) and sound is superb (sound by Eric Dickman).

While this is a story I’ve revisited  at least once a year for as long as I can remember, I did find it refreshing to have a female version of Scrooge that is in most aspects, more believable than the original character. She is portrayed as someone who has something to prove to a chauvinistic 1900's America, where women aren't typically found in business.

All in all, I highly recommend keeping up our holiday traditions by doing something slightly non-traditional. Norman Allen’s vision of A Christmas Carol offers a slightly different perspective of the classic but cautionary tail of getting too wrapped up in ones own ambitions and the tear littered paths we leave behind when we care for nothing but profits.

The Christmas Carol Rag is playing at the Burien Actors Theatre, 14501 4th Ave. S.W. in Burien from November 24th til December 17th. Show times begin at 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets are $10 for students, $17 for seniors and $20 for everyone else. More information can be found at burienactorstheatre.org.

The Burien Actors Theatre is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit entity who has been keeping up the tradition of providing the live theater to the Burien area since 1955.

Photos by Michael Brunk.

"Meet and Greet" with the Burien Arts Commission

Sun, 19 Nov 2017

Burien City Logo

The Burien Arts Commission is embarking on a new project to gather the artists of Burien together for a series of “Meet and Greet” events.

The first of these events will be the evening of Friday, February 16th, location to be determined.

Visual artists, performing artists, media artists, film makers, writers… we want to:

  • Meet you and learn about what you are doing!
  • Give you the opportunity to meet other local artists
  • Help you learn about opportunities for funding, workshops, exhibits, performance, etc.

Help us by spreading the word to artists who live in Burien and/or are very invested in Burien!

Read more stories at Burien Culture Hub